300: 10 Lessons I Learned From Producing 300 Episodes
Today’s episode of the Grace & Grit Podcast marks the 300th episode of the show. 300 episodes!!! And what a journey it has been.
To celebrate this milestone (and because our theme of late has been “consistency”), I wanted to share with you 10 of the biggest lessons I have learned from producing 300 episodes of the show. These lessons are applicable to any area of your life that you are trying to show up more regularly in.
Thank you, dear listener, for helping me make it this far! Enjoy.
Are you ready?
Welcome to Grace & Grit.
The Grace & Grit podcast is your go-to resource for reclaiming, generating, protecting and expressing your power as a woman in midlife.
This show will completely change the way you think about health & well-being and help you make your second act the best one yet!
- 321: Building “Atomic Habits” w/ Claire Schulz Bergman
- 320: The Power of Letting Go
- 319: From Digital Distraction to Digital Wellness: Insights and Strategies for Better Tech Use w/ Dr Kristy Goodwin
- 318: The Hiding Habit: Understanding and Conquering the Urge to Avoid Action
- 317: The Midlife-Anxiety Connection
Transcripts are auto-generated.
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps, and lasting change.
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. Thank you for being here. Today’s a really big day in the world of Grace and Grit. Why? Because we’re celebrating our 300th episode of this show. And I want you to know, there’s no way I could have done this without you, the listener, really knowing there were listeners tuning in each week, inspired me to keep showing up.
Getting feedback about the ways in which this Podcast was making a difference in women’s lives made me want to keep showing up, especially on the really hard days. So today, I’m not just celebrating 300 episodes of a show. I’m celebrating leaning into hard things. I’m celebrating growth, mine and yours. I’m celebrating and consistently showing up for the things that we care about.
And I don’t know about you, but I think celebrations are a great time for gifts, don’t you, and I’m filling in the gift giving mood. So I decided to give away not one, but three, three month memberships to my private Rumble & Rise community. Because Rumble & Rise is an extension of the Grace & Grit Podcast. It was born out of this Podcast. It is a community of women who want to go deeper into the practices and the concepts that we talk about on this show. And more importantly, it’s a community of women who really want to put rubber to the road and apply what they learn.
And I always say this, and I deeply and truly mean it. If you like the Grace & Grit Podcast, Rumble & Rise will blow your mind. Because it takes the things we discuss here to an entirely another level. It’s a combination of education and coaching and community and so much more. And I want you to be a part of it.
So if you are someone who keeps coming back to this show every week, and it has been in the back of your mind to join at some point, but for whatever reason you’re sitting on the fence, maybe it’s because you can’t justify the $59 a month that it costs to be a member. But here’s your chance to experience it absolutely free for three full months.
So on November 1, I’m going to do a drawing. And three lucky winners are going to get three months of membership absolutely free. So how do you actually get entered into the drawing? All I’m going to ask is that you rate and review the Grace & Grit Podcast on whatever platform you listen to the show from, you will then copy the review that you wrote and paste it into a special form that we have created on our website, you can access the form by going to graceandgrit.com/review. Once again, that’s graceandgrit.com/review.
And the reason we created this form is because there are so many Podcast players out there. There’s no way for us to track who left what review. So we need you to fill out this form with whatever review you left on whatever platform you listen from, so we can track it.
And I just want to share a note with you here on reviews. Because I do realize that it takes time and energy to write a review. And it kind of seems like a petty thing like this can’t possibly make a big difference. But I’m telling you it does. Because the sea of podcasts is growing by the day, right? It’s just getting bigger and bigger. There are more podcasts coming on the market, probably every hour. And ratings and reviews really helped to get more ears on the show. So in a giant sea of podcasts, they signal to people that this show is worth listening to. And they let us know as the creator, it lets me know that people are actually listening and reaping value.
So I hope you’ll participate in this celebratory event for my sake and yours. Because this is our celebration, it’s not just my celebration, it’s ours. So once again rate and review the show on whatever platform you listen to the Podcast from copy your review, and then fill out the form on our website at graceandgrit.com/review, and every single form that we receive. As long as you have done both of those steps, we will enter you into the drawing for a free three month membership to Rumble & Rise.
Now since we’re celebrating 300 episodes, and I’ve been doing the past few episodes, kind of a pre-game series, for The Consistency Code Crash Course that I’m teaching starting October 24, I thought it would be really useful for me to share 10 lessons that I have learned from producing 300 episodes. And I’m going to kind of talk about these lessons in a way that is very applicable to your own life. And of course, I’ve learned way more than 10 lessons. But these are just 10 lessons that I decided to highlight for this show.
And by the way, if you haven’t yet registered for The Consistency Code Crash Course, it’s five days of training with me. And it’s 29 bucks, but I promise you the value is far beyond that. And we have a lot of amazing things in store for this course. So if you are looking for kind of a gateway to start working with me to start applying some of these concepts in a very sort of, I don’t know just a way that you can actually show up and keep applying them, I think it would be really helpful for you to do this course. So you can find out all the details. And you can register at graceandgrit.com/crashcourse.
So let’s get into it. Let’s get into these 10 lessons. Lesson one that I have learned from producing 300 episodes of a Podcast is that hiding serves no one. Again, hiding serves no one, I kind of feel like I want to make a T-shirt that says that I have shared with you in the past in previous episodes, that a book that has really driven me as an entrepreneur and as a creator, is Seth Godin his book Linchpin. And there’s a quote, I want to read you from this book that really speaks to this challenge of having things on your heart and feeling scared to put them out into the world.
All right, so this is the quote, Seth says this: The only purpose of starting is finishing. And while the projects that we do are never really finished, they must be shipped. Shipping means hitting the publish button on your blog, showing a presentation to a sales team, answering the phone, selling the muffins, sending out your references. Shipping is the collision between your work and the outside world.
And what he’s really speaking to there is, as a creator of anything, it doesn’t do the world any good if the world never sees it. We have to ship, we have to expose our creations, we have to put them out there, which like I said, can be terrifying to the point of never shipping at all.
So we have to think about what we’re doing really when we ship work, we are opening ourselves up to criticism and rejection. We’re also opening ourselves up to possibility and expansion and wonderful things. But the part we tend to hyper focus on is the scary bit, the criticism and the rejection. And man, there are a lot of moments, so many moments, countless moments in the last 300 episodes of this show, where I was getting really caught up in my head about that.
And I’ve shared this I want to share it again that of years ago, I watched a TED talk. I can’t remember who it is. But it was a gentleman talking about the human brain, how the human brain when it comes to the negative is like Velcro. We just cling to it. And we keep it for a really long time where the positive tends to slide off of us like Teflon and I wish it was the opposite. I wish the positive stuck like Velcro and the negative slid off like Teflon. But unfortunately, it’s not that way the negative seems to stick.
And so I’ve had to create bumpers in my life. especially around this Podcast, to keep me focused on what is most important. And what’s most important is that I’m helping people, I may not be helping everybody. But if I’ve helped at least one person by shipping my work out into the world, man, is it worth it.
And I have to keep pivoting my attention to the people that I’m helping, rather than keeping my focus on the attention of the people that I’m not helping. And I cannot help people, if I don’t put my work out into the world, and my friends, neither can you. You can’t help people, if you aren’t willing to open yourself up to criticism and judgment. So once again, hiding serves no one.
The second lesson that I want to share with you that I’ve learned from producing 300 episodes is that consistency, the ability to keep showing up week after week, does not require a plus work. So really early on in the Podcast, I was a perfectionist about everything, to the point that it took me hours to produce one show. And sure, I was learning new skills, I was learning how to use new technology, I was learning about marketing so many things. But where I was really spending a lot of needless time was just being really hard on myself. And I was aspiring to the delusion of perfection.
And I quickly realized, I think it was probably maybe three to six months in somewhere in there, I really had a, you know, kind of a sit down with myself. And got very clear that Courtney, if you stay this course, if you continue to take this much time to produce a Podcast, this Podcast is going to be incredibly short lived. So I had to be willing to look at what was costing me so much time. And what was costing me the most time was this perfectionistic mindset.
And I remember who it was that somebody once told me that perfectionism is your your unwillingness to fail in front of other people. And man, podcasting is failing in front of a whole lot of people. So I had to be willing to stop aspiring to a plus plus plus work. And what’s interesting is, the more raw the Podcast became, the less scripted it was, the more real, it was, listeners started to respond more, I started getting a lot more feedback about what I was talking about.
So all this to say, shipping, the Podcast each week became way more important to me than perfection. It also helped the Podcast to become better, oddly enough. So rather than aspiring to this a plus work, I had to be willing to kind of lean into b minus work. It isn’t perfect. There is not an episode of this show. That was perfect. I don’t even know what that means. So I had to become really interested in doing b minus work giving myself permission to do that. And it really helped on so many levels.
So the takeaway here, the thing that I want to encourage you is to consider where in your life might you need to be willing to do more B minus work, so you can show up more often. So you can show up more consistently. Maybe that’s, you know, something to do with your health. Maybe it’s the way you exercise. Maybe it’s the way you’re preparing food. Maybe it’s the way that you keep your house, maybe it’s a project you’re doing at work. But how much more often would you show up if you weren’t so caught up in executing it perfectly.
Lesson three from producing 300 episodes. There is so much freedom in allowing people not to like you so much freedom. And that was such a hard thing for me. Because I just like most humans, I want everyone to like me. And there was a time in my life, especially even early on in this show, where I was spending a lot of time trying to get everybody to like me If, and that was probably very closely tied to that perfectionistic mindset as well, I was trying to please everybody. And man is that an exhausting place to live.
I know with 100% certainty, that not everybody is going to love the Grace & Grit Podcast. And today, I can say, with confidence that that’s perfectly okay. I don’t have to make that mean, that this show is not worthy of being out into in the world. It just means that some people don’t like the Podcast.
Think of all the people in the world who don’t like mushrooms, or pickles, or cilantro. God, my husband hates cilantro. But you don’t see the market stop selling those things. Because there are people who do want that they do want those foods, I think was Brooke Castillo who I heard say that you, you know, you might be the juiciest peach in the world. And there will always be people who just don’t like peaches.
So I want you to consider how would your life be different. If you gave people permission to not like you. I bet we’d be different in some very significant ways. Because so often we’re holding ourselves back. We’re not shipping our work, we’re not being our authentic we are not being fully expressed. Because we are trying to mold ourselves into something that everybody will like, lesson for, from producing 300 episodes of this show, you can simultaneously have a tremendous amount of self doubt, and show up anyway.
So I used to listen to the Podcast after I produced it after we kind of launched it. I would listen to the Podcast. I don’t anymore. Why? Because I started to acknowledge that I was using it against myself, I was listening for flaws and mistakes. And it was really an opportunity for criticism and kind of shame shaming myself, versus an opportunity to learn and grow. And I know in my heart of hearts, how much consideration and research goes into each and every show. And when I record I am absolutely operating from a space of integrity.
And yet, when I listen to the show, my inner critic comes out full force. And she is more than happy to point out everything that’s wrong, everything that I could have done better. So I just stopped giving her the opportunity. I am able to be consistent, have been able to be consistent for the past almost eight years. Because although self doubt will probably always be a traveling companion of mine. I have found ways to stop giving her so much opportunity to share her thoughts.
So I want you to consider how are you allowing self doubt to consume your attention unnecessarily? What platforms and opportunities are you getting her to be to be really loud and boisterous? And how might you be able to change that? For me, I stopped listening to my show. Because it wasn’t useful to me. It wasn’t helping me. Maybe that’ll change somewhere down the line. But it’s actually a decision that I made that allows me to show up more easily more consistently.
Lesson five, from producing 300 episodes, systems matter. Routine matters. There is no way that 300 episodes would exist if I didn’t have systems in place to execute the steps easily and gracefully every week. And I’ll tell you one thing that I had to learn the hard way is I kind of like to do everything last minute.
Like a lot of people I procrastinate. But when you have a team that is supporting you, and you have a big project to put out every single week working last minute doesn’t really work. In fact, it creates a lot of unnecessary friction. So I had to take a deep breath, and allow the urge for instant gratification and procrastination, I had to put those things aside and really start to build in systems where I showed up to execute certain things on certain days of the week. And lo and behold, we’re able to produce a new episode every Saturday.
So in case anyone’s curious, maybe you’re, you know, a pod, like you have a dream to start a Podcast, or even just to give you an example of a system that I’m referring to. My system for producing a Podcast is six parts. So the very first thing I do on Mondays is I do a brain dump on the topic that I am thinking about podcasting on for the week. So I might research like old files that I have on these topics, I do research into what books I might want to use, conversations that I can remember having, I just dig into my brain for the thoughts that I have about this subject. And I just go completely uncensored, into that brain dump.
And then what I do on Tuesday is I give myself about an hour, 60 minutes, to do a deep dive into the topic, I start refining my notes, I start putting things in a sort of a shape, and a path that makes sense to having this conversation.
On Wednesdays I review, I go back to that framework and those detailed notes and I just double check is there anything I want to change, I look at it with fresh eyes, then I record then it gets shipped to my audio engineer who’s amazing. I’ve used the same audio engineer for all 300 episodes of the show, shout out to Justin. And I ship notes and any marketing material to my assistant who creates all the graphics and uploads it to iTunes and all the things that we need to do to let the world know that there’s a new Podcast for them to listen to.
So again, just to kind of quickly rehash that I do a brain dump, I do a deep dive into refining the notes, I review the notes, I record, we edit, and then we mark it. And so that system makes it really seamless. And everybody knows what to expect on any given day.
And so I tell you this, because I think systems in our daily life can go such a long way in making it making it easier to show up. I talk about this a lot in my communities, which is why we spend a lot of time talking about organization and focused practices, things that help us to stay organized and focused. For today, I would just invite you to consider how you might start building systems and routines in the areas of your life that you want to be more effective in.
All right, Lesson Six. comparison can be healthy, and incredibly destructive. So what what gives, like, what makes the difference between comparison being healthy, or destructive? Well, the answer is really simple. It’s why you’re comparing. Why are you doing it? Are you looking for ways to improve, to grow to be better? Because that’s healthy. But if you’re doing it to look for reasons why you aren’t good enough, why you shouldn’t even start why you should quit. That is destructive, quite literally because you will never ship your work.
I’ve done both, I still do both. I usually catch myself a lot quicker when I’m doing it for the latter reason, which is looking for all the reasons why I’m not good enough. I don’t have much tolerance for that anymore. But I still find myself doing it on occasion.
Early on, I will tell you, I did it a lot where I was looking at shows who had been in production just as long as I had been and we’re doing way better. They had so many more downloads. You saw the Podcast everywhere. They seem to be these so many more reviews. And it just deflated me because I I felt like I feel like my podcasts pretty good. What the heck, right? Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe people just don’t like the message. I mean, I just waved myself into a really terrible state.
But I got a lot smarter over eight years. And I learned that if I was going to look at other people’s podcasts, I was going to look with intention. What are they doing awesomely? Well, what lights me up about this show? What what things are they doing with their marketing or their messaging that I might want to try on?
The other thing that I found really helpful is when I get not such great feedback, or I get a, you know, shitty review, I, and I get really down on myself because remember, the brain is like Velcro to the negative, we tend to hyper focus on it. What helps me to get out of that space really quickly is going to really popular shows and looking at their reviews. Everyone has terrible reviews, they usually have a lot of them, not just one, not just two. And so going there and reading the one star reviews actually helps to normalize the rumble that I’m facing with the review that I just got.
So I want you to consider when you start to compare, which you’re probably doing in a lot of spaces and places in your life, are you doing it in a way that is healthy, that’s promoting growth? Or are you doing it in a way that actually destroys your growth that stunts your growth that makes you just not want to put yourself out there at all? Because you have control over which one you feed.
Alright, Lesson Seven. Creativity is a habit. I often get the question from people who are thinking about starting a Podcast, or people who are just kind of interested in how I run mine. How do you come up with all the ideas, Courtney? Like 300 episodes is a lot of different topics. How do you come up with those topics? And I want to tell you that what I learned is that literally creativity is a practice.
Once I started looking for ideas, and I look in all kinds of places, I obviously look into the conversations with my clients, I look into the questions that I get asked from the community, I look at life. I you know, I look everywhere, for things to spark inspiration around ideas. And once you start the practice of that, initially, it feels really hard, like my brain was working really hard to find ideas. But the more consistent I was, the easier it got, which is the magic of consistency, right?
So what I do is I keep a spark sheet, I keep a sheet with all of my ideas that have potential Podcast topics. And I will tell you that at this point. I am so used to doing it that I feel like I could probably start seven different podcasts and never run out of ideas. So I could have literally seven different podcasts about women’s health. And feel like I had enough topics to supply each Podcast with an episode every week. I mean, that sounds crazy. But that’s just the magic of continuing to show up. It gets easier. Please do not hear me saying I have any desire to do that. One Podcast is plenty of work. I am not starting another one anytime soon.
So the takeaway is that self compassion is a habit. Just like creativity is a habit. Curiosity is a habit. Optimism is a habit. Problem solving is a habit. So it’s worth considering what habits might you need to develop in order to make it easier to show up for yourself. And I’m not talking about habits like eating more vegetables and getting more sleep. I’m talking about practices that help you to develop different parts of your character. Creativity is absolutely a habit.
Lesson Eight, borrow other people’s beliefs when you can’t muster your own. I’ve asked for a lot of support in the past 300 episodes of the show, not just with tech, not just with marketing, but with belief that I was worthy of doing it, that the message mattered, that I could do it. And when I start questioning myself, I have learned that turning to people that I know and that I trust, who are holding beliefs for me is really helpful.
So some of these people, my husband, bless him, I mean, he deserves he deserves to be celebrated probably more than anyone for there being 300 episodes of this show. Because the number of early morning, late night talks, where I was just a blubbering mess questioning everything that I was doing. Right he helped Hold a vision for me, when I couldn’t hold it for myself. And he would not try to fix it, he would just remind me of who I was, he would remind me of why I started. He would remind me of what he knows to be true about me. And this Podcast, and it always helped to reroute me.
The same goes for my assistant, bless her, the number of times, I called her in a panic, you know, so frustrated, so exhausted, so burnt out. So questioning everything. She too held vision for me, my community, so many people have held a belief about my possibility, when I was struggling to do so myself. And in order to receive that, I had to be willing to be transparent about my struggles. I had to let people know that I was, I was having a hard time. And that’s never fun. I don’t like people knowing that I’m struggling or having a hard time. But what it’s taught me is that I never regretted. It always benefits me to be vulnerable.
So what spaces in places might you need to spend a little bit more time in to bolster your own belief in yourself? What beliefs might you need to borrow from other people that you love and trust on the hardest days, so you can keep showing up for yourself?
Lesson Nine, from producing 300 episodes, growth is hard. It’s really hard. But not growing is harder. There’s always going to be discomfort, you can have the discomfort of staying the same. Or you can have the discomfort of leaning into new things.
The truth is, I could still be talking about the idea of this Podcast eight years later, rather than having created it. I could have spent the last eight years spinning out in a space of should I or shouldn’t I? Will they like it? Won’t they like it? And am I worthy? Aren’t I worthy, right? Like, I can be asking all these questions to the point of never shipping a darn thing. I could have spent the last eight years buying into the BS that my self doubt was trying to serve Me. And man, she perseveres, I mean, she still shows up every day in some way just to let me know she’s still around.
And you know, all of that if I had spent my last eight years doing that, spinning out asking a lot of questions, talking but not doing buying into my self doubt, that would have been really hard. That would not have been fun. And what would I have on the other side, nothing, nothing. Except Oh, probably a lot more self doubt and a lot of regret.
But instead, I spent the past eight years leaning into hard on purpose, feeling self doubt and recording anyway. exposing my beliefs. Knowing that people there were going to be people out there that didn’t like it. Doing my best to help. Not always getting it right. And that was hard to it was really hard. And on the other side of that hard, there’s an insane amount, there has been an insane amount of self discovery, and so much growth. So the takeaway here, choose your heart. Choose the heart of staying the same, or choose the heart of leaning in.
Last lesson I want to share with you today from 300 episodes of the show is beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have seen and experienced that consistency allows for expansion. Celebrating 300 episodes today isn’t about celebrating the number of episodes produced.
What I’m really celebrating today is taking risk when I had lots of reasons not to. I’m celebrating learning to have my own back and develop self trust that I did have something to offer. And even though not everyone was going to like it, maybe a few people would. I’m celebrating asking for help. So much help. I am celebrating building community.
Like I said, Rumble & Rise, which is now basically my business has was born from the willingness to keep showing up for this Podcast. I’m celebrating who I’ve become, by consistently doing this work. My ideas have changed, my personal life has changed, my business has completely changed. My vision for what’s possible has changed, my heart has changed, everything has changed, because I kept showing up.
And I’m celebrating the fact that I really believe that in my old age, when I can no longer do things like this, I will look back. And this will be something that I was really proud of, I’m going to be really proud that I stuck to it that I kept showing up, that I was of service on in some way. And that feels really good.
So that thing that is on your heart that has been on your heart. Think about it for a second. You know what it is, you don’t have to think hard to know what that is. If you went all in on pursuing it. What would be the far reaching ways in which you would enhance your life because it’s not just about creating that thing, or doing that thing or taking that risk. It’s about all that starts to expand because of that one decision.
I believe in you. And I want you to borrow my belief in you if you need it to get started. And if you need help beyond that Rumble & Rise is where we normalize the rumble of doing hard things. So we can rise to the occasion that is our life.
So I just want to close by reminding you that I’m giving away three, three month memberships to Rumble & Rise for free. And all you have to do is two things. Leave a review for the show. Preferably a five star positive review. Leave a review for the show. And then copy your review and paste it into the form that we have created, especially for this celebration. And you can find that form by going to graceandgrit.com/review. Again, graceandgrit.com/review. And I will do the drawing on November 1. And let you all know who the three winners are.
Thank you again. Thank you again for putting the show in your ears, even if it’s just been once. Thank you for those of you who do keep coming back, who have written reviews, who have let me borrow your belief, who have shared with me your stories. I thank you thank you thank you truly from the bottom of my heart.
Until next week, my friends take excellent care of yourself and I’ll see you again soon. Take care.
Thank you for listening to the Grace & Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit. Anything is possible.
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