There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to podcasting. Without getting too metaphorical, we swim in a sea of uncertainty as we navigate these podcasting waters. What podcasting metrics can we believe in? The answer is clouded by uncertainty. What promotional efforts will work for your podcast? The answer is clouded by uncertainty. Who’s advice can you rely on? Once again, uncertainty clouds the answer.
Personally, I battle the uncertainty that surrounds every decision by having a bias towards action. I've learned that default behavior over the decades I've been running businesses. And it’s served me well, even in podcasting
Having a bias toward action doesn't mean I make hasty decisions or act rashly. Sure, sometimes I do. But not always. It also doesn't mean that I always make a choice between the options presented to me. I’m a firm believer that there are always more choices to be made if you look at things from a different perspective.
To me, having a bias toward action means I trust myself as a podcaster, as a business person, as a human being, to make the best decisions I can at the moment. Call it hubris or accuse me of having an overinflated ego if you like. (You won’t be the first.) But I know how important it is to trust in yourself.
There's a phrase I think sums this up nicely: Trust in the you of now.
Let me break those italicized words down for you and show you how they build on one another as you navigate uncertainty in your daily life as a podcaster.
Learning To Trust
Trust is a small word that’s has lots of connotations, especially since it’s tied up with belief, another word that can mean a lot depending on your perspective and prejudices. But let’s strip all that away and get to what’s important: having a firm belief that something (or someone, in this case) has the ability to do a thing.
In another life, I worked for an agency that restructured around the concept of trust. For example, our annual reviews were 100% about trust. We got rid of the laborious box-ticking, ineffective efficiency tracking, and other common forms of the review process and pushed it all back on trust. The changes it made on the personnel and work environment were striking. When everyone knows that everyone else on the team is being measured my trust even more than their ability perform a task, you’re left with only people in the agency who are trusted. Which removes a lot of uncertainty.
But for the purpose of this exercise, who can you trust? Well.. you.
Learning To Trust You
As a podcaster, you already put a lot of trust in other people. You trust people who have been podcasting for a long time. Maybe you trust someone like this who shares their thoughts on podcasting at 7:00 am every Monday through Thursday. Just by way of example, you understand.
You trust the people that write the newsletters about podcasting you subscribe to. You trust their advice, opinions, and critique. You have a certain amount of trust in the people you’ve chosen to follow on social media. You trust your podcast hosting provider to give you the education you need when changes impact your podcast.
Why then do so many podcasters have a hard time trusting themselves? Uncertainty. The imposter syndrome. Years of being micromanaged and untrusted. Getting past all of that isn’t easy, but you have to do it. And the good news? You can do it. Heck, you do it every day, even though you might forget that from time to time.
You make it work. You trust your audience with the information you provide them on your podcast episodes. All you need to do now is start trusting in yourself. I assure you that you are somebody worthy of trust in this podcasting world, even if you don’t feel that way much of the time. You are.
Learning To Trust The You Of Now
You, right now, are a different person than you were yesterday. You, right now, are a different person than you will be tomorrow. If that’s too subtle for you, stretch it out on either side. You’re not the same person you were five years ago, because you’ve had five years of experiences that influenced who you are today. And you’re going to have five more years of experiences, all of them influencing who’ll you be then.
Some of the voices you trust in podcasting tend to pay a lot of homage to the history of podcasting, standing on the shoulders of giants who’ve come before, and using well established best practices that often were created because of past screwups by the prior generation. I would add to that, saying it’s also important to learn lessons from your own history in podcasting, as they’ve shaped the person you are today.
But you can’t talk to the podcaster you were five days ago, let alone five years ago. The best you can do is draw on the experiences of you minus five days (or years). But you’re relying on your imperfect memory of events. And the world is different - either subtly or drastically - now than it was then.
It’s even worse with you plus five days (or years) in the future. That person is completely inaccessible to you. The best you can do here is try to influence who that person might become with your actions today.
That’s what I mean by trust in the you of now. Learning how to do that allows you to trust that you, the person you are right, are the best person to make decisions about your podcast.
Not Every Decision Requires A Case Study
When you learn to trust in the you of now, you’re less likely to suffer from analysis paralysis. Yes, uncertainties are still there. But that’s always going to be the case. Couple that with the realization that past experiences of others might not be germane to you or the current climate, and you start trusting yourself to make the right decision, without a pile of PDFs that your boss asked you to research.
Not Every Decision Needs Be Made Right Now
No, this isn’t permission to procrastinate. A bias toward action is almost always referred. But what if the you of right now is not as well equipped to make that decision as the person you will become tomorrow might be?
I’m not suggesting you kick the can down the road. That’s hope, not trust. But you can trust that the you of right now will get the education necessary to make the decision later. No, you don’t have to make every decision right now. But you also can't assume knowledge will magically flow down from on high. You have to go seek it.
So if you really do trust that you today is incapable of making the decision, trust that you’ll also take the necessary steps so that your future self can make the decision. (Of course, when that happens, you’ll be the you of now.)
Not Every Decision Will Be The Correct One
Trusting yourself today doesn't mean you're not going to fail. If I decide to do the trust fall exercise with my two-year-old granddaughter backing me up, it’s going to end up with both of on the floor, at least one of us howling in displeasure.
Was I wrong to put my trust in her? No! I was wrong to ignore the laws of physics, and I was an idiot to put her in a position to do something she was physically unable to do. The failure was due to a bad decision, and you’re going to make a bad decision, even if you have all the trust in the world.
It takes effort to put trust in yourself to make decisions. But once you've learned to trust the podcast or who you are today, a lot of the uncertainty that made it hard to trust yourself in the first place falls away, letting you get back to making amazing content for your podcast.
Also, don’t crush toddlers.
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Most importantly, please tell a podcaster you know about Podcast Pontifications. The only way Podcast Pontifications grows is when a working podcaster like you tells another working podcaster about the show. So... please tell them about Podcast Pontifications.
That's it for Thursday. No new episodes are produced or published on Fridays, so I shall be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Allie Press proofed the copy, corrected the transcript, and edited the video. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.