One day, I might have a setup like this 🙂

Today’s reflection is about the magic of podcasting and meeting people. As I write this right now, I’m actually sitting on a bus heading to downtown Toronto to interview someone for the Project 5K Podcast / Interview Series. I’m perching my laptop on my legs, jamming out to some Chance the Rapper, and trying to keep everything stable as the bus lurches its way downtown.

I actually have a lot of different motives for running this little thing. Neither reason has anything to do with money. Much to the disbelief of someone I interviewed, I don’t get paid to do any of this (call it a passion project).

You can actually boil down my reasons into three key points.

  1. I’ve always wanted to interview people.
  2. All these high school students kept asking me for advice, and I got slightly annoyed because it started taking up a lot of my time. There were also a lot of students that I thought could benefit from some insight and advice, even if they didn’t know it themselves.
  3. Finally, I figured that I just wanted to meet a lot of people! This one is a little selfish, but hey, I think it balance out with item number 2 🙂

So let’s dig into it a little more, what was bouncing around in my head when I decided to start a podcast?

I’ve Always Wanted To Interview People

Unless they have lived under a rock all their lives, everyone has had a few crazy experiences here or there. Everyone has a story to tell.

These stories are a little like candy for me. When I was young(er), I would always love hearing my parents and grandparents tell their stories of travel, adventure, and random mundane mishaps. I could never get enough of it (and I still can’t.)

There’s this one story that my dad always tells, about how he and my mom once went travelling in Japan. Being on a bit of a shoestring budget, they couldn’t afford nice hotels and ended up staying in small hostels.

There was one hostel in Hiroshima that he remembers vividly.

The bus they were taking had been really late, and they ended up arriving at the hostel late at night. It was pitch black, the hostel was on top of a steep hill, and because the bus wouldn’t drive up the hill, they had to hike up with all their luggage.

Oh, and as it turns out, to get to the top of the hill, they had to go through a cemetery!

So after hauling their luggage in the dark through a cemetery, they finally reached the hostel, only to be greeted by a group of surly, old, Japanese men. Normally, this isn’t that big of a problem. I mean, elsewhere you just go to your room, shower, and never see them again.

Unfortunately, in Japan, they have something called public baths, you know the type where you strip down in public to shower? Creepy old men, run down hostel, public baths, it was a formula for a scarring experience. Scarring experiences make the best stories :p

While I don’t think everyone has some crazy story about Japanese public baths, I know that everyone has something to share and a story to tell. Podcasting and interviewing people is my way of getting sheer joy and entertainment, and satisfying that desire to just sit down for story time.

Stories = Candy

Annoying Requests For Life Advice.

As it turns out, I’m not the only student in need of life advice. There were a lot of people who kept coming up to me asking questions like “What courses should I pick?”, “What should I do in this situation”, and my all-time favorite “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life”.

I mean, like I’m flattered that you asked, but really, I don’t think that I’m in a better position to answer those questions than you.

But you know who is chock full of experiences, stories, and life advice? There are actually two groups of people: the “old” and the “successful” (quotations because both those terms are really subjective)

So old people, why are they so good at dishing out life advice? Because in the span of their lives, they all have made a ton of mistakes, had crazy experiences, and met lots of different types of people. I would argue that even the most boring and mundane senior has something to teach us.

As for “succesful” people, the simple reason is just that in order to reach their levels of success, all of them have had to go through their own struggles. Through the podcast I have met a teen entrepreneur, debater and public speaker, who had a lisp that he struggled to overcome. I have met a man on his way to building a multi-million dollar marketing firm, who was bullied in high school. At one point, he had only a few dollars left in his bank account.

Success, no matter how you define it, never comes easy to anyone. And all the lessons that these people learn on their way to success mean that they are prime candidates for sucking out amazing and applicable life advice.

Aha, and not to forget, but I’m just some 17 year-old teen trying to figure stuff out, so whatever life advice I can absorb from interviewing people is definitely a huge plus.

Turns Out A Podcast Is A Great Excuse To Meet People

So on the topic of lie advice, one of the big things that anyone will tell you these days is that you have to meet people and “network”. That’s great and all, except it leaves us tih on big question.

HOW THE HECK ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO THAT???

Don’t get me started on networking events… they’re like swimming in a shark infested pool of people. Some shark will come up with a smile plastered on their face, scan you over with their eyes to give you a score out of 10, and if you pass the test, you might be graced with a forgettable conversation, a business card that you throw away, and a hopeless wish that you could get the 10 minutes you wasted talking to this guy. Chances are, if you ever see them again, you won’t remember their name, and they won’t remember yours.

I would also make the argument that the people you do want to know, the successful go-getters, don’t spend as much time at networking events than we think they would. They’re probably busy actually doing things with their life.

So networking events are a tiny swimming pool full of sharks looking for a meal, and the only food they’ll find are measly small-fry that want to stay away from them. All the smart food decided to stay away from the damn pool.

How I see networking events

So! Podcasting and meeting people. I figured that hey, a lot of people like to talk about themselves, a lot of people like it when there’s someone who actually cares and listens, and there’s no way you are ever going to forget someone if you spent an hour talking with them. Plus, it’s on the record. Plus, by interviewing for the podcast, the interviewer is actually helping a lot of people.

So when people hear that I am doing a podcast, it usually becomes a matter of

Me: “Hey I’m doing a podcast to help give advice to teens, I think your story is really cool (because it is), are you interested?”

Them: “Yoooo, sounds so cool! I’m down. When and where do you want to meet?”

These aren’t your standard, run of the mill strangers either. Most of the people I ask for an interview are entrepreneurs who are up to their ears in work. If you give people a chance to share their stories and experiences, you would be surprised by how many people will jump for it.

You don’t have to start a podcast to apply those same principles. Whether you’re emailing, messaging on LinkedIn, or even just having a friendly chat, the best way to connect people is to ask them to share their experiences and stories.

Everyone loves story time 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this post! I also hope that you’re going to run out into this world inspired, motivated and ready to start your own podcast!

If you enjoy my writing, had a good laugh, or if you are just feeling really generous today, do you mind pressing that little green heart to show some support? It means a lot to me! You can find more of my ramblings and interviews at blog.project5k.ca.