“Friction allows for a lot of growth if you’re open to it.“~Pam Covarrubias, Cafe con Pam
Are you using your podcast for personal growth? Are you using it to help your listeners grow?
This episode is part of our self-care for podcasters series, which is a companion to our “not your typical self-care” series over on The Creative Impostor. I recently had podcaster, conscious productivity coach, EFT practitioner, and founder of the PowerSisters Method, Pam Covarrubias on episode 125.
And when I asker her how PowerSisters get matched, she brought up the idea of friction as a component to success and growth.
At first internally I was like — EEK! No no no — when we build community we want to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals who align with our values and I started to get that old school day anxiety of being partnered up for a project with someone I didn’t like or didn’t know…
It really got me thinking about how friction applies to podcasting. And so Pam inspired this WHOLE episode of Podcast Envy.
On one hand, I think podcasting is an EXCELLENT tool for personal growth for the show host, the listeners, and even guests.
On the other hand, we have a huge “silo” problem in podcasting.
Podcast hosts bring guests on the show who think like them to talk about topics they agree on from similar points of view and then share that conversation with an audience of people who also nod their heads in agreement and take notes.
But where then, is the growth in that?
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“Boundaries are important and choosing when it’s time to walk away because it’s not a winning, it’s not a competition. It’s about growth.~Pam Covarrubias
How to apply FRICTION as a podcaster:
- Who are the guests you are inviting on your show? Do they have different backgrounds from you? Do you agree with every piece of content they put out, with everything they say? Or do they challenge you or your beliefs in some way? AND can you have a useful, productive, respectful conversation?
- If you have or are thinking about a having a co-host for your show, do y’all basically agree on everything? Do you like the same things? What is the reason to have two different voices on a show if those voices are so totally similar? And this brings up another opportunity with friction — not JUST personal growth — but actually creating MORE INTERESTING, MORE DYNAMIC content – I mean think about it, we don’t love to watch TV shows or movies or read books in which everyone is happy, and agrees, and things are easy, and there’s no conflict, right? So WHY are our podcasts that way? I have one client, a nonprofit, whose show I produce. It was originally co-hosted and though the co-hosts work together in the same department at the same company, they are from different generations, different ethnic backgrounds, different genders, different sexual orientations, different places in their career, and even had different personal goals for the podcast. With all of this there was definitely moments of friction behind the scenes and in our recording sessions. And because we could respectfully disagree, discuss, and align to our shared values and vision for the show, the content would ALWAYS come out better for it.
- This brings me back to guests AND co-hosts, which is not the WHO but they what and how… WHAT are you talking about in your episode conversations and how are you approaching the content? In order to introduce functional friction, you don’t necessarily need to bring on guests who you fundamentally disagree with, or even co-hosts who are the polar opposite – even the people whom we love the most, have opinions, stories, values, and experiences that may be different from ours and how can you tease those out in conversation in a way that that is enlightening, instructive, engaging for you and your listeners? Allowing guests to simply speak from their most common and comfortable talking points is not usually the best way to get a memorable interview, or even to create the best experience for your guest! Asking a guest something they’ve never been asked before or respectfully challenging them on a point requires more preparation and skill on your part as a host — but it can result in a more nuanced conversation — and we’re not here to be mediocre podcasts hosts, are we?
- Who is on your team? You may have a team of folks helping you produce your show — including producers, editors, audio engineers, production assistants, bookers, writers, sound designers, social media pros, marketing… or you may be a team of one managing to DIY the role shebang! But even still your team may include colleagues, advisors, trusted audience members and superfine, mentors, consultants, coaches, or even a peer network. Are you surrounded by people who all hang on your every word, nod their heads, and applaud your every choice? Or do you have people who are willing to call your attention to things you may have overlooked, offer alternative approaches, give you open honest feedback when you request it?
- Oooh… did you hear that “feedback” word — UGH! This point is the WORST (in fact, can we just strike the word feedback from our dictionary)? Are YOU open to and available for feedback even critique? I know there is a voice in my head right now saying “Noooo… we just want to make what we want to make and be proud of what we accomplished and never show it to anyone less they critique it!” You know that voice – don’t you? This ties into trying new things, inviting different guests, having more challenging conversations, switching up the format, opening new topics on your show, even changing your theme music, or visual brand, or the way you share your content on social. Any change to the status quo introduces friction, and makes us vulnerable to feedback (whether that be explicit or implicit – like a dip in followers) — but ultimately, usually, even if we end up needing to pivot again, the risk ends up being worth it.
So to tie this all back together… where and how can you insert friction into your show, into your process, into your conversations, that makes space for growth, for compelling content, for nuance, for critical thinking, and even… for clearer more confident self-expression?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Email me, andrea @thecreativeimpostor.com, DM me or comment on this episode’s thread on Instagram @thecreativeimpostor, leave it in a review at ratethispodcast.com/envy — or join me in the Podcast Envy Pro Pod
Peace, love, and podcasting!
P.S. Check out my full conversation with Pam on The Creative Impostor!
Connect with Pam
Mentioned In This Episode
Podcast Envy episode 66 w/ Pam Covarrubias
The Creative Impostor episode 125 with Pam
Saving Elephants podcast with Josh Lewis episode 74
Saving Elephants podcast with Josh Lewis episode 75
Connect with me
LinkedIn: @andreaklunder (I only accept connections from people I actually know, so include a message to say you’re a Podcast Envy listener.)
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