Blog Interview with Podcast Host of Beyond 6 Seconds - Carolyn Kiel
This week marks another special blog, this time crossing the Pacific Ocean and connecting with Carolyn Kiel from New Jersey in the United States of America! Carolyn is the producer, host and founder of the popular Beyond 6 Seconds podcast which aims to bring extraordinary stories from everyday people to Podcast listeners around the world!
Among being a successful podcast host, Carolyn is passionate about development, learning and training, and when she is not producing and interviewing guest every week in her spare time, she is helping train employees at a large Telecom company in New Jersey. In addition to that Carolyn has also been a singer and has performed in some well-known venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Giants Stadium in New York, the Prudential Center as well as being on Comedy Central Presents. Carolyn is also an active contributor in the A-Capella community and serves as a judge for the Annual International Championship of High School A-Capella (ICHSA) competitions. If that hasn't impressed you she also carries with her a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Vassar College and a Masters Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University!
So I think it is safe to say I was extremely honoured to have Carolyn share her story, wisdom and contribute to the Momettas community by allowing me to extract some of her success and challenges that will enable you to succeed, and as as a direct result of interviewing Carolyn for this week's blog, I discovered four key takeaways below.
"New opportunity often exists within previous experiences"
When it comes to creating new opportunities for yourself, often the first signs of where you should go or what you should do is hidden in previous experiences. However, this is often easier said than done.
For Carolyn starting a "new creative project" such as a Podcast in her "spare time" was a result of her experiences with being involved in the singing community. As Carolyn put it "I already had some experience with audio recording and editing as a singer, so I thought podcasting could be a natural fit and a good opportunity for me to practice my interviewing and public speaking skills".
This is example of Carolyn creating a Podcast is a great reminder that creating a new opportunity for yourself doesn't always need to be birthed out of the "next big thing" such as creating the next iPhone or Tesla car, yet this is often what I hear and see way too often. The so-called "next big thing" is a great vision to have, but it can also be a real let down if you are not mentally prepared to chase that vision down, just read the autobiographies of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs to understand the commitment involved.
So to wrap up this key takeaway, remember you can find opportunities through your current experiences, when you do this it will enable you to gain better traction quickly, and therefore help you succeed with more confidence,and as much as love failure because it teaches you so much, sometimes it can also deter you from ever starting if you fail super hard on something you have no idea on!
"Don't limit your progress to one resource or avenue"
Starting a Podcast from scratch can be challenging, and for Carolyn this was no exception, she states that "...the biggest challenge was knowing where to start — there’s so much to learn that it can feel overwhelming; how does podcast hosting work, what equipment and software do I need, what kind of podcast content do I want to feature, what do I name the podcast, etc..."
This feeling is, of course, natural and to be expected, but as I heard Gary Vaynerchuk express several times "ideas are sh*t, execution is key", and for Carolyn her idea of starting a Podcast could've died right there and then in that one statement to herself, yet it didn't, and her podcast got off the ground, so why is that?
Well, what I learnt from Carolyn is when you limit your thinking to the problem, often it reveals the problem again but in a different perspective, but if you open yourself to the problem, then it often reveals a solution.
For Carolyn, she simply asked what was out there that could help her get started, rather than a closed question such as "should I really start this podcast if I don't know how to start?". Instead, Carolyn read, listened, asked, and watched her way to starting a podcast, and this enabled her to take one thing at a time, allowing her to not feel overwhelmed.
"Be flexible with your goals"
As I have previously stated I believe that goals are essential tools to help one succeed. Why? well because they act as guidelines and create a sense of targeted focus which is hard to do without some form of a goal. On the flip-side, if goals are too rigid with no flexibility then this can often create more barriers than guidance, and in fact, as I have personally experienced myself can do the opposite of focusing!
When I asked about what goals meant to Carolyn in reference to Podcasting she noted the following, "My goal is to help my guests tell their stories of how they have overcome challenges or obstacles and grown in their lives and careers", in my next question about her own goals about Podcasting she follows up with, "It’s important to have goals that aren’t too rigid. With the podcast, my goals have changed over time...I’m not focused on a specific number of listens for my show, but my goal is more generally to grow my listeners over time".
You see the importance of a goal is not always necessary to hit it but to instead be in pursuit of it. When you have an adaptive and open mindset to goals, you are then likely to adjust and tweak goals to your advantage when things aren't going to plan, rather than stick to it! For example in team sports, if you are losing badly or having a bad run against your opponent, and you don't have a mindset to adjust your game plan, during or at half time, then you will likely continue down the path losing badly!
With that being said, I loved Carolyn's point of view when she revealed some of her life lessons to date about goals, by saying, "Things don’t always work out the way you’ve planned them -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It’s ok to take a step back, or change your mind about what you want".
Finally to finish on this key takeaway, I loved how Carolyn explained why having the ability to adapt and adjust helped her success, she explains that "I like to have a general direction of where I want to go, this helps prime my mind to notice different opportunities that might help me get there, even if they don't look exactly like what I had in mind (sometimes they're even better than I imagined!)".
"Progress versus Perfection"
Again those that follow me closely know that I love the word "progress" more than I do "perfection".
Too often we focus on chasing perfection, that it creates and develops a closed mindset. When we aim to be perfect whether it is at work, sports, as a partner or in life in general, it limits your potential to learn and grow.
When I asked Carolyn about this specific topic concerning her Podcast, she replied with, "I don’t stress out if my episodes don’t have perfect sound quality or if I think of a question I should have asked but didn’t. It’s a learning process".
I could not agree more with this statement, in particular the last portion of Carolyn's reply which is "It's a learning process", and to be fair you learn more by not being perfect!
When you're in this mindset of "progress" there is a real sense of self-awareness developing, and with this comes an openness to grow, to ask for more help, to learn and to be humble in pursuit of progress.
As Carolyn has learnt "...people want to help, and you can make it easier for them to help you by having a clear idea of what you want...no one finds success alone. Even the people who look like they’ve achieved amazing success all by themselves have had help along the way".
What this particular key takeaway confirms for me, is that when you focus on the progress you often create this gravitational pull from others wanting to help you succeed, and Carolyn is right when she says, "no one finds success alone", especially those that chase perfection!
Towards the end I asked Carolyn what three pieces of advice would she give to those wanting to follow a similar path to hers, she responded with the following;
"Aim for excellence instead of perfection. Creating something new should be an iterative process -- it's better to put your content out there, get feedback and make improvements for the next piece of content you publish. Do the best you can, but don't wait for perfection -- otherwise, you may never publish anything at all!"
"Always keep learning, even when you’re no longer in school. Understand what kind of learning opportunities your employer has available for you (classes, mentoring, tuition assistance for grad school, on-the-job training), talk to people who are working in jobs that interest you to learn about their experiences, take online training in topics that interest you (there’s so much that is low-cost or even free!). Be curious and take advantage of all the opportunities around you to learn new things"
"Share your talents, passions and expertise through public speaking, writing, podcasting, videos, or whatever - as part of your career or your hobbies. People are attracted to positive energy, and you will naturally draw people towards you when you’re expressing what lights you up"
So to summarise some of the key takeaways, remember that starting something new can exist through previous experiences, don't limit your success by focusing on one avenue of resource, remember to be open to learning, be flexible with your goals as opposed to being rigid, and finally, progress is a much better mindset than perfection!
To learn more about Carolyn please check out her wonderful podcast at www.beyond6seconds.com or search for Beyond 6 Seconds on your favourite podcast player. On a side note, Carolyn is one of my top podcasts shows that I listen to regularly, and if you are in the business of self-development and listening to interesting success stories then you must listen to her show!
Till next time,