choosing joy / podcast / Season 4

Jump Start Your Joy’s Top 10 Podcast Episodes of Season 4

This week’s show is Part 2 of the Season 4 finale: Jump Start Your Joy’s Top 10 Podcast Episodes of Season 4. Join me as I count down the top ten most downloaded episodes of Season 4!

10. Setting Boundaries and Defining Your Niche (Episode 179)

In episode 179, I did a mashup between my thoughts on why you need to “niche down” when you’re an entrepreneur, and how that layers in with Brene Brown’s quote that “Clear is Kind, Unclear is Unkind.” It’s no secret that I truly love the work of Brene Brown, and I found myself having an aha moment around why owning your niche is really a matter of kindness.

Why I loved creating this episode:
Truly, this one was an aha moment for me because there’s a huge temptation when you are starting out as a business owner and needing to make ends meet to be open ended with what kind of work you do. Part of this is out of necessity; when you’re just starting you may not have a good idea of the exact kind of work you want to do. But as you become more sure of what you offer as a business, you have to refine the communications to your customers and also make sure that you target the people who need your services. If you take the help of web design companies such as for example, they too might offer the same advice about building your website and go about doing it the same way. I’ve also seen that people do this out of fear: you fear that if you “niche” down you’ll alienate some of your potential client base.

As an entrepreneur, setting boundaries and definitions around the work you do, and around your schedule and time are two of the kindest things you can do for yourself and your growing business.
Kind? Yes, KIND.
You’re kind to yourself because you get to limit the things you do, and you get to play into your strengths. You’re being kind because you’re saying yes to the gifts you have, and you’re being kind to your potential clients because they know EXACTLY what you do and why they’d work with you.

9. Renee Linnell on “The Burn Zone” and Being in a Cult (Episode 177)

Renee Linnell is the author of The Burn Zone, and a serial entrepreneur. At age 33 she woke up one morning and realized that she had very unintentionally joined a Buddhist cult. What had started as a quest for spiritual learning, and finding a place that felt like home to her turned out to be an intense group well versed in brainwashing, and converting others to bring in money to help support the larger cause.

What made this interview so interesting to me:
Renee was a delight to speak with, and in so many ways I can deeply relate to the wanderlust she has felt, along with her quest to find a place that feels like her heart’s home.Renee had experienced a profound amount of loss in her childhood. And, one afternoon she attended a meditation seminar, was riveted by the guru there, and she walked out a changed person – feeling very much like she’d made a connection with that guru on a soul level.

The thing that struck me was that this longing Renee felt is something many of us experience. It’s our earnest desire to make connections, to find community and like minded people, and when we feel that we have found that, it’s a moving experience. I recall (and I share this in the episode) attending an event with Dr. Wayne Dyer many years ago, and feeling a distinct connection to his message. In this interview, I found myself reflecting on the interesting similarities that Renee and I have in our longing for spiritual connection, and how there is a fine line of difference between the path of healthy personal growth, and one that may be led by a leader that has less than pure intentions.

8. Sharon Prentice on Becoming Starlight and a Shared Death Experience (Episode 175)

In episode 175, author Sharon Prentice joined me, and she shared with us a tender and inspiring shared death experience she encountered at the death of her husband, Steve.

What stood out for me about this conversation:
It’s a rarity in our lives to meet or speak with someone who feels they have been in the physical presence of God. It’s also unusual to hear the stories of people who have had an experience of what it is like to die. Sharon’s experience of both was riveting, and I was really moved by her description of how she felt herself in the presence of God, held and treasured by the divine:

“I felt more whole, more forgiven than I’d ever felt before. I now felt nothing except an all-encompassing love and compassion. My heart held no fear, no anger, no grief, no struggle. I was complete just as I was – I lacked nothing. Deep down, I suppose I had always known this; I had just forgotten it for awhile.”

Sharon Prentice

7. Commitment, Fear, and My Nellie Oleson Moment with host Paula Jenkins (Episode 190)

I don’t always talk about what scares me, or share a lot of behind the scenes about a specific interview. After teaching my podcasting class for a few years, I’ve come to realize that something shifted for me when I interviewed Alison Arngrim. In episode 190, I talked about the amazing power of saying yes to a creative pursuit (like, say, a podcast), making a commitment, and how facing your inner mean girl can lead to some powerful revelations.

Why I loved sharing this episode:
Four short months after I started my show, I pitched Alison Arngrim (known for playing Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie) to be on my podcast and she accepted. This was the first big name guest I had on, and I was both delighted and terrified. Because as you probably know, Nellie Oleson is THE original mean girl. And I LOVE Little House on the Prairie.

The mixture of a first well known guest (that I didn’t know already), that happened to play a character the world loves to hate turned out to be the perfect recipe for triggering all sorts of inner mean girl stuff for me. I found myself at 3am on the morning that the episode was supposed to go live in one of those ugly cry type moments … questioning why I’d started a show and if I’d ever get this episode edited “right,” and well, yes, fear showed up big time.

I like to call this my Nellie Oleson moment because there I was, face to face with my own inner mean girl. What I know is that we all hit these kinds of moments when we are in the middle of a creative pursuit. As someone who now works with others to start or maintain their podcasts, I want all of them to work past that moment where it feels too hard or scary – because the magic really is on the other side.?

6. Andrea Owen on How to Be Taken Seriously Even When You’re Not a Serious Person (Episode 165)

In episode 165, Andrea Owen returned for a second visit to the show. This conversation was, hands down, the hardest I’ve laughed in quite some time. Andrea is a coach, author of two books (52 Ways to Live a Kick Ass Life and How to Stop Feeling Like Shit), and she’s the host of the amazing “Your Kick Ass Life” podcast. She and I talk about how to be taken seriously, even when you’re not a serious person.

What I loved about this episode:
Throughout my life, I’ve found that many people have a hard time understanding that a person can be a wiseass goofball that values humor, AND also be smart, observant, and professional. In this conversation, Andrea and I talked about the weird and untrue conditioning that tells us that people can’t be both silly and smart. For years my inner critic would get pissed any time someone called me silly, because in my head, it meant I couldn’t also be smart. I loved that Andrea and I debunk this nonsense, and we laughed our butts off, and we also both yelled “God save the labia” in this episode, so you KNOW it had to make the list of top episodes for the season.

5. How to Start a Business When You Have a 9 to 5 Job with host Paula Jenkins (Episode 171)

In episode 171, I came clean on how I grew my business while working a 9 to 5 job. Yes, it started as a side gig, which I grew into a full time gig, and then finally left the corporate world. And finally, I spilled the beans on how I did it.

What I loved about this episode:
Creating a business and juggling a life and working a 9 to 5 is hard. It’s no joke. Once I’d gotten mindful and clear about what I wanted to do (which was be a coach/consultant, create a company, and build a client base), I started building slowly.
I said yes to things that felt right. I became super mindful of what I was doing, and as Greg McKeown talks about in his book, I started focusing not on getting MORE done, but on getting the RIGHT THINGS done. I made sure that I was spending time on things that mattered, and right sizing my efforts to fit that. I loved talking about how right sizing your efforts can maximize your effectiveness as a growing entrepreneur.

4. Jess Ekstrom on Headbands of Hope (Episode 169)

Jess Ekstrom is the energetic CEO and founder of Headbands of Hope, and the developer of the Mic Drop Workshop. I had the pleasure of meeting Jess in Atlanta in 2018, and knew from the moment she shared the mission of her company (and it only further made me love her when she quoted Will Ferrell) that I wanted to talk to her more, and to have her on the show.

What I loved about this episode:
For a long time, I knew I wanted to start a podcast. Four years ago I said yes and got going. The thing is, I didn’t know how to do the tech piece. But my desire to reach my dream didn’t stop me and I figured it out. And now it’s the biggest part of my business and the #1 way people find me.

Here’s the thing – sometimes you just have to say yes, and then have faith you’ll figure the thing out. And that’s one of the things that Jess and I talk about – how you just have to start taking baby steps towards your goal, and let the momentum of having said yes carry you.

3. How to Embrace Joy, Even When it Feels Hard with host Paula Jenkins (Episode 184)

Episode 184 is another of my mashup episodes that involves the wizardry of Brene Brown. In her Netflix special she shares that in her study of shame and vulnerability, she has discovered that people state that joy is the most vulnerable of all of the emotions. I took inspiration from this, and coupled this with a visit to the summer camp I worked at for many years.

“You can’t have joy without allowing yourself to be seen. Joy is the most vulnerable and terrifying of all human emotions. Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy. True belonging requires you to be who you are.”

Brene Brown

What I loved about this episode:
I hadn’t really thought about why joy was vulnerable until I heard Brene Brown talk about it. I knew it was a big emotion, and people are often afraid of big emotions. But, this idea also led me to look again at how and why joy is important to me.

Something shifts when we allow joy to be important to us, and when we put it at the center of our lives. In this episode, I shared that I had told my husband that I was done “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” I don’t know when or where it started, but what I did know is that I had started feeling like I couldn’t get “too happy,” or “too comfortable.” It probably came along after I’d left my 9 to 5 job and realized that … hey … this is going well. I like having time with my son. I like having flexible working hours. This really is good.

Enter…. Foreboding joy. That thing that robs you of your current happiness because you’re immediately worried that a bad thing could come along and steal all of the goodness from you at any moment.

Well, I decided I was over it. That I’d shift my thinking and look for the good. That I’d allow joy to be important to me. I can’t say that it’s been all cotton candy and unicorns since that moment. There’s been some serious BS that went down (almost like the resistance had a little wink for me… enter identity theft). There’s also been some introspection and some great, joyful moments.

2. Stasia Savasuk on Dressing for Confidence and Joy (Episode 181)

Stasia’s journey to becoming a stylist is an unusual one, and it is full of inspiration. From the time her differently abled daughter, Raisa, was very young, she wanted to wear “boy clothes.” Stasia had dressed her in bootcut jeans and cute dresses, and it wasn’t something that Raisa liked. One day, when they were shopping in their local thrift store, Raisa picked out a button down shirt, and a tie (with the help of a sales person), and asked that her mom buy it for her.

What I loved most about talking to Stasia:
The idea of “inside out congruency” rocked me to the core. Here’s how Stasia explains it, based on Raisa’s picking out a button down shirt and tie that day:

“When we got home, she put on the shirt and tie, looked in the mirror, and took her own breath away. She ran across the dining room and said, ‘Mama, Mama, look how fast I can run!’ Then, she jumped high into the air and said, ‘Mama, Mama, look how much higher I can jump when I’m wearing a shirt and tie.’ And then it hit me. She could run faster and jump higher when she was wearing clothes on the outside that were authentically who she was on the inside!!”

Stasia Savasuk

What Stasia learned and noticed that day was something she now calls “Inside-Out Congruency.” It’s what happens when your insides (your feelings, desires, and true personality) match the clothing you wear on the outside. In other words, it’s letting go of trying to change your body to fit what the industry says is fashionable, and getting in touch with your own soulfire to navigate your way to wearing what’s right for you.

1. Jonni Pollard on How To Awaken to the Truth of Who You Are (Episode 168)

Jonni Pollard is a meditation and wisdom teacher, with his teachings stemming from the Vedic tradition. He’s the co-founder of the 1 Giant Mind Learn Meditation course and the 1 Giant Mind Teacher Training Academy. As a true multipassionate, he’s also been an actor, and an avid skateboarder and runner. Jonni now works with corporations, individuals and at events teaching others how to “get into the highest state of love to connect to our humanity.”

What I found myself thinking about after the conversation with Jonni:
One of the things I’ve been working on this year is being centered and poised. I’ve spent a good deal of time working on how I can bring myself back to center in situations that feel unsettling to me. Jonni’s presence, and his explanations of the Four Golden Insights put many things into perspective, and gave me pause to reflect on how I treat myself, how I treat others, and what my natural state is as a human on this planet.

Here are those pillars:
1. Life is Sacred
2. Love is our Nature – we serve, nature, and find connection
3. Wisdom is our Power – Jonni talks about finding the intelligence of love, and reconciling the appearance of resistance and opposites.
-We also talked about “embodied leadership power, which equals the ability to influence the environment around us.”
-Wisdom can enliven and awaken the truth of who we are
4. Fulfillment is our Purpose – we find our purpose by fully understanding who we are