02 Jan Happy Birthday to the Spark to your Success podcast
Today’s article is a special one because 2 January 2020 marks the first birthday of the Spark to your Success podcast. I have the pleasure of sitting here with the podcast queen and my editor Charlotte Foster to reflect over the past twelve months.
I bit the bullet one year ago and recorded the first Spark to your Success podcast and I’ve not missed a week since! That is a big achievement because a high percentage of podcasters are bursting with enthusiasm at the beginning only for their efforts to dwindle after four or five weeks. Charlotte calls it a ‘podfade’!
A year of reflection
What did you start last year that you are still doing today? A new hobby? Playing an instrument? Taking an exercise class? Or learning a new skill, subject or language? Whatever it is, give yourself a pat on the back if you have continued a positive habit for twelve months, it’s no mean feat, well done. On the flipside though, what did you start last year that hasn’t lasted? What do you think is the reason it failed? A new year is a great time to reflect on the past and think about your achievements. However small they may seem at the time everything happens for a reason, so well done you!
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Side step those limiting beliefs
I wanted to start a podcast for sometime but I always put it off because I thought it would be too much like hard work based on how I’d seen other people do it. But once I begin my podcast, I realised that you find your own way to do things and, actually, it just worked!
As I sat in the customer waiting area the other day while my car was in for its MOT it hit me that recording 52 podcast episodes is amazing. Especially when my work demands so much travel. I spend many nights in hotels and travelling on planes so forward planning is needed sometimes to record several podcasts in one go. I also get the concept of ‘podfade’ because it can be difficult to come up with something new every week. You’ll realise this if you write for the school newsletter, if you have to cook for your family or if you are a team captain and have to come up with incentives for your teammates.
Doubts and reasons not to start or continue with good ideas and processes are your own limiting beliefs that are often not true. The problem is the story you tell yourself and why you can’t do something or have something. In actual fact, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. And if I can build a successful podcast series anyone can!
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller
A decision that changed my world
Charlotte and I met one cold December morning in 2018 in a cosy coffee shop. It was just before Christmas and our table was a glitterfest! One reason for meeting Charlotte was to hand over handmade Christmas cards from our local Youth Club. Charlotte was collecting the cards as part of the Give an Extra Card for Christmas Campaign to support BBC Radio Stoke and Voluntary Arts England. Around 1200 hand-crafted cards were donated to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire residents who suffer loneliness at Christmas because of their age or circumstances. The campaign raised awareness around supporting the disadvantaged and also promoted the mindfulness and compassionate act of the person creating the card. Charlotte read all the messages in the cards for safeguarding and was touched by the beauty of the words written. They put smiles on many faces that year.
I digress slightly, but the campaign was for a good cause and worth mentioning. The main reason Charlotte and I met was to discuss starting my new podcast and what I would need to make it happen. You can listen to the full podcast interview here, but you can read a 2019 reflection summary below.
Reflecting on the success of the Spark to your Success
What was your favourite podcast topic?
It has to be resilience and mindset. I talk a lot about the 60,000 thoughts you have every day. Covering this topic helps you to recognise that what goes on between your two ears is the only thing you have true control over. Negative thoughts and feelings of fear, anxiety, stress and being overwhelmed all come back to these 60,000 thoughts!
If this piques your interest, read more…
- How resilient thinking can prevent teen depression from setting in [part 1]
- Getting to grips with internal representation and resilient thinking [part 2]
- Reprogramming your internal representation and build your resilient thinking [part 3]
- How to master self-worth and combat your teen pressures
- Change the story you tell yourself
What reaction do you get when you tell people you have a podcast?
OMG it’s brilliant. It’s like I have this newfound celebrity status as the realisation of knowing a podcaster in the flesh hits people! I share the podcast with everyone because they are a way to give a random act of kindness. I love the messages received from people saying how inspirational the content is and how it has made them wake up to tackle a challenge, make a change or get out of a rut. The interview podcasts gain the most responses and I’ve even had people express that a certain episode changed their life! It’s quite humbling.
After you’ve read this article, come back to listen to the interview podcasts and use real stories to improve your situation.
The interviews give an insight into how these people found their voice and identity again.
What is your biggest learning experience from podcasting?
Definitely the process of being consistent and seeing things through, but also that sometimes you need to reach out for help in order to achieve it. Getting support is not a weakness it’s a strength. I am fiercely independent and it’s often been my downfall, but you can’t do everything on your own.
I learnt how to effectively create and structure a podcast, and invest in suitable equipment so I don’t sound like I’m in a bathroom or hiding under a duvet!
I also learnt to be flexible in the topics covered and not be afraid to approach deeper subjects such as bullying and suicidal thoughts. People, old and young, need to hear this stuff and know that they can connect to someone who will understand what they are going through and help them to rebuild.
Did you know that around 91% of people listen to podcasts alone? It helps to remove the discomfort felt when hearing or viewing sensitive material in the presence of family or friends. It’s a safe environment to think.
Did you have a pivotal point?
After 15 or 20 episodes I realised that I could incorporate my passion in life into the podcasts with more emphasis. My purpose is to empower the lives of 10 million young people to become tomorrow’s confident, successful leaders, who do it by feeling happy in their own skin. I changed the way I approached the content and the audience I was speaking to, to address young people and the young at heart.
What does 2020 hold for you and the Spark to your Success podcast?
I’m really excited. It’s a different excitement to starting something new because now I know people are listening and it’s real. I want to revisit some of the most important subjects in a different way based on my audience and feedback.
I am also looking for people, particularly young people, to interview to bring their point of view alive and give a voice to their stories across the world. I want to empower people and develop more positivity out there. We’re living in really interesting times and it’s easy to get caught up in stresses, and doom and gloom. People need to know that there is a way out and that they aren’t alone.
Choose the life you want to lead
The Spark to your Success series is about finding, igniting and reigniting your spark, energy and enthusiasm for life. I’d love to hear from all our listeners to find out what you want us to talk about in future podcasts. What subjects do you enjoy and what would you like to understand more about? What will make a difference for you? I’ll research the subjects requested and invite interviews to share real life experiences. The podcast can only go one way and that’s up, up, up!
The Spark to your Success podcast is listened to (in order) in the
UK, the US, Australia, France, Canada, India, Denmark and New Zealand – a big hello to our international listeners. How amazing!
Finally, a huge thank you to Charlotte Foster for her support, enthusiasm and dedication over the past twelve months.