A few years ago, I started listening to podcasts during my commute to work and fell in love with them! Podcast content and topics are quite diverse and cover a wide variety of interests. There are so many benefits to listening to podcasts; they’re entertaining, educational and offer you different perspectives and the best part...you get to multi-task (drive, fold your laundry, do other chores) and it's FREE!
Did you know that there are over 900,000 podcasts and over 30 million episodes available for download as of January 2020? It can be quite overwhelming if you are trying to identify what to listen to and how to make the best use of your time. It took me a while to figure out how to build my library of podcasts, get into a routine and actually leverage this as a tool to develop and grow.
Today, I am going to offer you a 4-step process to identify podcasts that support your growth and development in all aspects of managing your lifestyle.
1. Start with your development goals
Given that we have so many options, it’s not easy to pick if we don’t have a clear understanding of what we are trying to learn and accomplish. If you want to make this a great learning experience, it’s critical to start with your why and identify your learning and development goals. For example, if you want to improve your financial health and understanding of proven methods to save and build wealth, you would identify that as a goal. For me, I wanted to improve my blogging skills and the technical stuff that goes behind it. I picked a few podcasts that will help me in that area. If you are new to listening to podcasts, I would suggest limiting your goals to no more than 3. This will help you focus on the vital few.
2. Identify the categories
Once you have your goals listed, identify the categories for the topics. Along the lines of the above example, if building your financial health is your goal, you might want to look for podcasts in the financial advice category. If you are interested in developing your leadership skills, select that as a category. This process will help you identify keywords to search for in the app (Podcast app in iphone or google podcasts in Android). You can also use a web browser to search for podcasts.
3. Do your research
In this step, you would use different data points to pick the right podcasts for you.
Identify authors and influencers you admire
Do you have an author or an influencer you admire in the field you want to develop? Based on a friend's referral, I read “Girl, Wash your Face” book and absolutely enjoyed the content. I looked up and found that the author, Rachel Hollis hosts the “Rise” podcast. It’s typically a series of conversational style interviews with successful entrepreneurs and leaders in the personal development space. It’s an amazing resource and a podcast I listen to quite often.
Get referrals from friends and mentors
Friends, co-workers and mentors are another great resource to recommend podcasts. I always make it a point to ask my mentors for recommendations. I also in turn give back and provide recommendations to my mentees based on their individual goals. A lot of the podcasts in my current library are based on recommendations. So, don’t shy away from asking for recommendations from the people who inspire you.
Research topics on internet
This one might sound like a no-brainer and it is! In this day and age, who doesn’t look up and do research on the internet? Use keyword searches based on your categories and look for influencers and experts in your field of interest. More often than not, these experts either host a podcast or are a guest speaker on a podcast.
Search for podcasts and test them out:
You can also leverage the search function in the podcasts app. When I search for podcasts, I try to see how often they post content (typically every week or every other week), length of the podcast episode (I prefer shorter ones) and podcast ratings. I then listen to a few of the episodes before subscribing and adding it to my library in the app. It’s totally ok to use the trial and error method to identify what podcasts inspire you the most. Again, there is no magic bullet list here. You have to curate your list based on your goals and interests.
4. Build your podcast library
Once you have your categories figured out, don't shy away from looking for and adding more podcasts to your library. Focus on adding a variety of podcasts. We learn best when we take in different perspectives and develop well-rounded knowledge in a specific area. Personally, I enjoy all things personal development and I listen to at least 5 or 6 different podcasts and it expands my knowledge and perspective in that specific area.
While there are several ways to expand your knowledge, to learn and grow, podcasts are a powerful tool that you should add to your tool box. Don’t wait, go online or on the app and take the first step to listen to one and get inspired!