I really believe in the idea that when you are looking for an answer to a question – and put it out to God, the Universe, or the bathroom walls, the answer you need will come. Whether you pray quietly on your knees, set a silent intention during a meditation, write it in your diary, or speak your query aloud is not so important. What is most important is asking the right question and then listening.
Similarly, I don’t think it matters so much where the answer comes from. I mean, it would be nice to hear an authoritative voice of God or a guardian angel telling me what I need to know. Illuminating the next step, the right choice, the road to take. But really it is my job to be open to all the ways answers can come.
During the few weeks I’ve been doing this podcast, I’ve invested a fair amount of time and creativity. Even though I haven’t committed to any specific schedule, I have an expectation of myself to do at least 2 or 3 episodes per week. Though I am a fast writer and am catching on to the whole recording and producing rhythm of podcasting, I’m still learning how to finetune everything and figure out all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
And I’m really enjoying the process – all of it. From choosing the name and software to picking out music, and recording the different components and episodes, I‘ve been learning from it all. I feel like I’m doing something important which is not only helping me but also has the potential to help others. It’s also sparked a lot of creative ideas for other projects and is helping me prepare for a second podcast I have planned down the road.
What you are listening to now marks my 12th episode, a number I was not sure I’d hit when I started a few weeks ago. I’ve made great strides technically, gotten my podcast distributed on most of the well-known and larger channels, and even have a structure to earn ad revenue. I really couldn’t imagine any of that when I began. However, the “results” in terms of the number of listeners and downloads are slower to manifest than I hoped or expected. I mean, after 25 days, shouldn’t I have gone viral by now?
I’m kind of kidding, but as a success-driven over-achiever, I’m also serious. With each check of my currently unimpressive online statistics – and the evidence that in some ways I’m doing all this just to hear myself talk – a question began to form in my mind. “Why am I doing this if I am only a handful of people are listening per day?” Hmm…
And it’s strange. Nothing else has changed otherwise, I am still feeling inspired to write and record my thoughts and have so much more to learn which I love. But once I started thinking about the “results” – meaning the measurement of how many other people were responding to what I’d been creating, I began to question my efforts. I mean is it worth it to pour my heart, soul, and experience out on the page and virtual airways if no one reads or hears it?
And then today, as I was listening to what has become one of my favorite podcasts, The Tim Ferris Show, I got my answer. During my morning run, I listened to an interview with Blake Mycoskie – the founder of Toms, a company that gives away a pair of shoes for every pair they sell. Blake spoke about journaling, describing it as one of the most powerful habits of his life because it allows him to process whatever he is going through; set goals and chart his progress; and give him a record to look back on later to see how far he’d come.
Then tonight, while trying to drown out the nightly news my husband insists on listening to over dinner, Aisha Tyler, an actress and comedian talked with Tim about the idea of not being caught up in succeeding or failing, but of doing things for the sake of doing them. That the effort of doing WAS the reward.
So thanks to Tim, Aisha, and Blake, I got my answer. Whether I have myself as the only listener or thousands of subscribers and followers does not matter. I am creating an audio journal (and written one for those reading this on my blog) which is helping me process, set goals, note my progress, and see how far I’ve come. I’m also enjoying the effort - and the benefits it brings me and me alone –which is in and of itself the reward. Whatever else comes from Opening the Gate and the individual episodes – whether to me or millions of others – is a bonus. And maybe, just maybe, the story I’m sharing today provides the answer you’ve been waiting for.