Word Love: 13 thought-provoking podcasts

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I love listening to podcasts and average about 1-2 episodes a day. Thanks to podcasts, I actually look forward to washing dishes, cleaning up after my toddler, and doing other mundane household chores. 

Every fortnight, I share my favourite podcast of the moment in my newsletter, Word Love. Here’s a wrap-up of some of my most-loved episodes of the past 12 months. I’ve listened to many of these twice, if not three times. Enjoy!

Spiritual Podcasts

The River, The Mountain, and You [The Robcast]

“Disruptions are all part of it. Those moments when it feels like the rug got pulled out from under you, those moments of vertigo, those moments of loneliness, when you look around and you realise the things you’re thinking about, the ideas you’re entertaining, that book you just read, you realise if you voice any of that to the people around you they’ll think you’re crazy. And you do say something, and they’re all like ‘what happened to you, you used to be so normal and nailed down’. Those moments that you’re lonely because you’re the only one in your town talking about these things, you’re the only one in your family who just can’t do the propaganda anymore, you’re the only one in your workplace who finds it all a little boring but you’ve been lit up by this new thing you’ve just stumbled upon and you just want more. It’s like you’re thirsty and in the desert. These disruptions are all part of it.” 

This episode will ground you and give you wings at the same time. Rob Bell’s words are balm to the soul. This episode is not new (throwing it back to 2015, here), but it's a good place to start if you're new to Rob Bell's work. His interviews with Elizabeth Gilbert are also exceptional. 

Alison Rice in conversation with Jeannie Bourke [Offline]

“It is an amazing time to be a woman… but why do we, as women, sometimes feel guilty for wanting more?” 

I stumbled across this podcast on Instagram and was immediately hooked by the premise: "a series of honest conversations with the women behind some of Australia's most-popular Instagram accounts". The first episode dropped this week, a conversation with Jeannie Bourke (crystal healer and owner of Venustus salon). Full disclosure: sometimes talk of crystal healing brings out my inner cynic, but I thoroughly enjoyed this candid conversation - perhaps even more so because I had never heard of Alison Rice or Jeannie Bourke, so I could listen without preconceptions. What I heard: two women talking about what it's like to be a woman in this strange, beautiful time we live in. They cover topics such as burnout, discovering your 'true self', going off-the-grid, and banishing guilt for wanting more. Conversations like this are always refreshing and fascinating.

‘Some Days I Feel Lost’ [The Robcast]

“You’re having all sorts of experiences that your mind can’t fully process or comprehend, or is even able to get its cognitive capacities wrapped around. That’s what it means to be human. You’re brushing up against the infinite in every direction… you’re not going to be able to rationally explain all of that.”

I could listen to Rob Bell all day. Every second sentence he utters is sheer brilliance. “You’re brushing up against the infinite in every direction…” Can we all take a moment to appreciate this? As per the title, this episode of the Robcast is all about feeling lost. Don’t expect a seven-part-guide to overcome feelings of lostness. DO expect a beautiful, thoughtful riff on what it means to be human. I LOVE ROB BELL.

Business Podcasts

‘Seth Godin: Life, the internet, and Everything’ [On Being]

“How few people can I influence to still be able to do this tomorrow?”

This podcast was released in 2014 but it only recently came across my radar. It's an interview with Seth Godin by Krista Tippett. Krista is an exceptional interviewer and she gleaned some incredible pearls of wisdom from Seth Godin, like the quote above.

Most people ask the question, how many MORE people can I influence? How many MORE clients can I get? Seth Godin argues that it's better to influence a small group of highly engaged people than to cast your net too wide. I wholeheartedly agree (but I mean, who wouldn't agree with Seth Godin, right? The dude's a marketing genius!)

‘The Million Dollar Morning Routine kikki.K’s Founder Swears By’ [The Jack Delosa Podcast]

“When I say dream life, my life is far from perfect. Dream life is, if you set yourself your dreams, it’s challenging, so it’s not like I’m just living my perfect life and I’m happy every day. I’m a big believer in the ‘50/50’, you have to have the positives and negatives in life.”

As a mother of a toddler, I’m a bit of a morning-routine-skeptic! But this podcast very nearly converted me. In all honesty, I ignored the morning routine part of the title – I just wanted to hear from kikki.K’s founder Kristina Karlsson because I love all things stationery. Well, this was the first time I heard Kristina Karlsson’s story and I was blown away. She has the most beautiful vision of inspiring people to lead their best lives. There’s this gorgeous, gentle energy about her that makes you really believe it’s possible to fulfil your wildest dreams. But my favourite takeaway from this interview wasn’t about dreaming big, it was actually the real talk about how building your dream life doesn’t mean building an easy life. When you follow your dreams and your heart, there will be some bumpy parts along the way. What Kristina Karlsson seems to have mastered (or accepted) is how to stay grounded and grateful during life’s challenging times. I absolutely loved this interview and I think you will, too.

‘Building Mums with Hustle’ [Mums with Hustle]

“It felt more exciting than it did terrifying. And that’s intuition. When the nerves feel more like ohmigosh, this is so exciting, I’m really going to do this, as opposed to fear-based nerves.”

I love this definition of intuition from episode 153 of the Mum's With Hustle podcast by Tracy Harris. Tracy's husband Karl left his corporate job to join her start-up about a year ago - they share how that was possible in this episode.

Motherhood Podcasts

‘Modern Day Mothering with Beth Berry’ [Honest Mamas Podcast]

“There’s sort of an all or nothing we’ve got going on right now as a culture. There’s not a lot of part-time work with benefits; I think that right there speaks to many people’s struggles. I’m sensing oppression, really… The choices we’re being given feel all or nothing… it doesn’t really feel free. Modern day motherhood, it’s bringing a whole new set of oppressions to mothers. Largely because of the pace at which we’re moving - it’s not really conducive, natural or healthy for early childhood.”

After reading Beth Berry's viral article on the absence of the village, I spent hours browsing her website, reading all her articles, and soaking up her wisdom. In this podcast interview with Honest Mamas, she talks about the oppressions that modern mothers face, in particular around career options, and what we can do to take back control.

The intimacy of motherhood, ancestral healing, + living authentically with Peta Kelly [Almost 30]

“My brilliance comes from my rest.”

When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was a CHAMPION rester. I’d go to bed early, sleep in, take naps, read an entire book in a day, and spend loads of time in nature. Maybe it’s something about youth - you’re not in so much of a rush. Your life is stretched out before you, everything is full of possibilities, and you can be gloriously, wonderfully selfish. 

Naturally, the more responsibilities you take on, the harder it gets to find space for such expansive rest. That white space to do nothing is no longer ‘just there’ - you have to claim it, schedule it in, and then fiercely protect it. And when life gets busy, this ‘luxury’ is often the first thing to go.

When I heard Peta Kelly say on the Almost 30 podcast that “my brilliance comes from my rest”, it hit me straight in the guts. Oof. Yes. Of course it does. We all want to be better at what we do - parenting, work, friendships, family. So we cram more into our days. More learning, striving, doing, and less white space to just be.

But it’s not serving us. It’s not serving our families, our businesses, or even our to-do lists. We have to rest. That’s where we get our energy, our essence, everything that allows us to thrive, not just survive.

Peta also spoke about motherhood, taking time off, living in alignment with your personal values, and creating boundaries around social media. Oh, and Ricky Gervais! I would describe Peta as fierce, strong, brave, and unashamedly herself. It’s refreshing to hear a woman speak without apologising for any of her opinions or decisions.

Educational Podcasts

‘Carlos Doesn’t Remember’ [Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell]

“[Here’s] the difference between being privileged and being poor in America: it’s how many chances you get. If you’re wealthy, all kinds of things can happen and you’ll be okay. You can drop out of school for a year, you can get addicted to pain killers, you can have a bad car accident. No one ever says, of the upper-middle class high school kid whose parents got a terrible divorce: ‘I wonder if she’ll ever go to college’. She’s going to college; disruption is not fatal to life chances. A friend of mine was once stopped by cops speeding on the East River Drive in Manhattan, drunk with a syringe on the dashboard. And what happened? Nothing happened. He went on to have the kind of brilliant career he deserved to have. That’s the point of privilege, it buys you second chances.” 

'Carlos Doesn't Remember' is one of the most powerful podcast episodes I've ever heard. Ever. It's episode 4 of The Revisionist History podcast by Malcolm Gladwell and I urge you to listen to it as soon as you can. Alternatively, you can read the transcript here

‘Kristen Bell on Anxiety, Part 1 and 2’ [The Robcast]

“You have this centre that you live from, and when anxiety kicks in, it’s like you’re living outside of yourself. It also came to me recently that my mind gets so busy trying to protect my heart, and I feel like our heart is where I actually live from. It feels like that is the deepest centre of who we are.” 

I'm struggling to find the words to tell you how much I loved these podcast episodes. If you've been following me for awhile, you'll know I adore Rob Bell's work. Well, sorry Rob, now I think I adore your wife Kristen's work even more! Over two podcast episodes, Kristen Bell shares some incredible insights about anxiety and how she copes when it surfaces in her life. I lapped up everything she had to say about this topic and have already found myself implementing many of her suggestions. I also just love listening to these two talk – the warmth, humour, and love are #relationshipgoals. Highly recommend listening to both Part 1 and Part 2 if you want to lean in to your anxiety and see it in a fresh, liberating light. 

Writing Podcasts

‘Martha Beck: Shortcuts to more magic’ [Beautiful Writers Podcast]

“However you feel creating something and selling it, that’s how the person receiving it is going to feel when they receive it. So if you’re creating a business product that you absolutely love, and you’re in love with it, you will not have to sell it hard, because people will actually beat down the door to find you. That’s been my experience.” 

I've just discovered the Beautiful Writers Podcast, which has interviewed so many amazing writers, but I was immediately drawn to this interview with Martha Beck. I haven't actually read any of Martha Beck's books, but I've heard Elizabeth Gilbert rave about her so I didn't need any convincing. This interview definitely didn't disappoint. Eminating a special kind of grounded-enthusiasm, Martha speaks about her creative process, creating a business you love, and finding joy in your work. She shares so many gems in this podcast episode - I suggest having a pen and paper handy when you listen.

Melinda Gates’ Books of Her Life 

“If feminism means a woman having her full voice and her full decision-making authority in every part of her life - home, community, and workplace - then I am an ardent feminist and I more than fully embrace the title now.”

I loved this episode with Melinda Gates. It’s actually the first time I’ve heard her speak (of course, I’ve heard of her but I’ve never really followed her work). I’ve just ordered her new book, Moment of Lift, from the library and can’t wait to learn more about her life and work, especially her philanthropy around birth control access.

‘Abby Wambach: Wisdom from the Wolfpack’ [Beautiful Writers Podcast]

“Women inherently want to express that gratitude, women inherently want to be appreciative of the goodness in their life. But the other side of that coin, that’s so important, is that women are allowed to be grateful and also demand what they deserve."

Gratitude AND ambition; these two traits can (and should) go hand-in-hand. That’s the biggest lesson I learned from Abby Wambach’s interview on the Beautiful Writers Podcast. Wambach is the world’s top goal scorer in international soccer history, with a total of 184 career goals. She had an incredible career in women’s soccer and spent most of her life feeling immensely grateful for her ‘seat at the table’ - that she was just able to play. It wasn’t until she retired (about three years ago), that she realised she’d missed an opportunity to demand more, not just for herself, but for every female soccer player that comes after her. Now, she’s dedicated her career to women’s rights and activism, and is encouraging women everywhere to demand what they deserve. Thank you, AND. I love it.

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