I’m blessed to reveal that the success of my book, Retirement Stepping Stones, has garnered attention in many facets of our industry. I remember on the release date in September of 2021, we did a very big PR campaign to spread the message near and far. And, being a no-named author from a no-named town in a no-named state, it didn’t take off right at first. But, of particular interest to me was Podcasts. I have been an avid Podcast consumer for years. In fact, I subscribe to over a dozen podcasts that come out weekly. And utilizing my superhuman tricks, I play most of them at 1½ times speed so I can consume them by the time the end of the week rolls around and a fresh set of podcasts begins to download into my app.

Often, I listen to a podcast where the person interviews an author of a book.  And, depending on how well they do, I often will buy the book. So, it wasn’t rocket science for me to think that if I could figure out how to be a guest on people’s podcasts, I may be able to sell more books. I also knew that the podcast industry is very densely populated, and I knew a lot of these podcasters are begging for guests all the time. Add to this, it’s basically free marketing; it doesn’t cost me a dime to be a guest on a podcast, and well, that is fine by me!

My first interview was recorded 2 weeks in advance of my books release date. I was sent instructions from the interviewer on the platform he liked to use (Zoom) and some rules of the game. Things like, if you need to start a question over, feel free and we can edit that out. Or, make sure your microphone is 5 inches or less from your mouth. And, make sure your phone is silenced. Each interviewer seems to have their own rules and feel, but for the most part, they just want to engage in an interesting conversation. Some send over questions in advance, some just wing it.  In all, I’ve been a guest on a couple dozen podcasts and counting. Some I’ve recorded months ago, and still are waiting to be released. I think the furthest one out is scheduled to be released in February of 2023 and I recorded it back in June!

I’ve been a guest on podcasts with an audience size of a few hundred to over 50,000. In the moments leading up to the recording, my mind goes into a thousand places.  And if I’m honest, most of those places are from a negative headspace.  Regardless of how many I’ve done, it doesn’t seem to get any easier. I still get super nervous. I still feel super unqualified. I suffer from the worst form of imposter syndrome, wishing I had the character traits of some of the awesome podcast guests that have come before me. I wonder why in the world I’m doing this, what kind of questions are going to trip me up, and if I’ll be able to cleverly, astutely and succinctly answer their questions well. Then there’s the ‘umm’ thing. I can’t stand it when people fill dead space with the word ‘umm’. And yet, I’m guilty. Other questions and thoughts swirl around in my mind…Why am I doing this? I’m not qualified to hang with this interviewer. How big is the audience of this one? What questions is he/she going to ask that will throw me off? Then, the ultimate question pervades my mind…What did I get myself into?!?!

I was a few recordings into this newfound experience of sharing my story on a podcast when the proverbial question hit me, once again, at the eleventh hour. “What did I get myself into?”  My gut sank and it was all I could do to keep from emailing the podcast host that I had come down with the flu or some other rancid excuse. But this time, an answer seemed to be implanted in my soul. Not audibly, but I felt it become a part of my subconscious thinking immediately as I articulated it out loud, alone, in my office. The question: What did I get myself into? And the mental transitional answer became: Look what am I coming In With!

In With. You see, my story, my unique journey has been fraught with twists and tears. Losing mom was devastating for me, my sister, and my dad. But the learnings have been vast. And the people helped as a result of her story number in the thousands. Each time I enter a recording session to be a podcast guest, I remind myself of the hard lessons I’ve learned. It’s not about what I’ve gotten myself into. It’s about the battle gear I’ve garnered…it’s what I’m coming In With.

You see, each of us, created on purpose for a purpose. Each individual and unique story twists and turns throughout the timeline of history, all leading up to this very moment. We’re each battle scarred and tested. There have been victories, there have been defeats. There has been wins, there have been learnings. We’ve each perched on mountaintops and trudged through the valleys.

Life is hard.

Life is full of joy.

Life hands us tragedy.

Life gives us triumph.

Life trips us up as we traverse stumbling blocks.

Life provides stepping stones.

Each trial, a badge of honor. Each victory, a precious memory. Each defeat, a lesson learned. All these stories worn proudly on the hem of our heart. All twists and turns and tears prove to be a necessary part of the journey we call life.

And as we encounter our next Y in the road, we’re offered a choice. We can shrink in the face of the unknown adversity. And in so doing, we can ask ourselves…What have I gotten myself into!?!?

Or, we can reflect back on the journey from which we’ve come. And despite its mess, its scars, its pain, its trials, its defeats, its thorns, its fateful turns…we can step confidently forward and raise our fists high and our hearts proud…

May we set our sights on the horizon ahead and step forward with confidence at the next turn.

May we take joy in the journey.

May we reflect with boldness and confidence…It’s not about what we’re getting ourselves into…just look at what we’re coming In With!