Over the past 18 months, I’ve dived head first into the world of podcasts.

It started as a way to distract myself on my daily walks from the hills and the cold and then I became addicted.

I listened as I worked, as I was on transit, as I visited my favourite city on earth, walking the paths around Central Park.

I would find myself laughing out loud at anecdotes, cringing as I related to some situations, or wiping away tears as I learnt just how cruel this world can be for some people.

I’ve learnt about entrepreneurs who have been making their way, doing what they love and being highly successful from Paul C. Brunson; I’ve been educated without realizing I’ve been educated on the overlooked and misunderstood, whilst running to the melodic voice of Malcolm Gladwell, and I’ve connected with Black culture through Jill Scott and her playful heart-to-heart conversations with Laiya St.Clair, and Aja Graydon-Dantzler.

And over the past week, I have been thoroughly entertained and educated by QuestLove with his immense knowledge of music, the wide array of stories of the music idols of my childhood and teenage years, mixed with life lessons and underlying messages of hope and opportunity.

Storytelling at its finest.

This has got me wondering why has podcasting become so big within the past few years and especially during 2020?

As a human who loves connecting with others, but who is also very private, this allows me a glimpse into their life. Into the world through another persons’ perspective, without having to be a part of it. It allows me to see the why behind the decisions or actions they have taken in their own life, and how I can apply it to my own.

For some brands it has been a part of their marketing strategy. And a brilliant path to go down. It draws you in from the cold, makes you feel warm, cozy and most importantly, as if you are a part of that brand.

During lockdown, I subconsciously started to rely on them in replace of travel, where I would meet and talk to random people about anything and everything.

Podcasts became a way for me to connect with others without leaving the comfort of my cozy, blanket laden couch, or as I was out for a solitary walk, or daily run. My digital world became bigger, but more close knit as I felt as though I was a part of a conversation with someone who wasn’t a part of my real life world.

And to be honest, sometimes it feels as though I am eavesdropping on some private conversations. 

When guests, and most of them are creatives, get personal and share their challenges and the ‘not-so-fluffy’ parts of their journey, I look around to see who else can hear.  But maybe this is a side benefit to podcasting.  It’s an opportunity to talk through our fears and challenges and parts of ourselves that we keep hidden from the outside world.

Whether it is for branding, for connection or for a good old fashioned conversation, podcasting is here to stay.

This compilation is my top 5 podcasts and lessons learnt from the conversations that have filled my ears and that provided me with a sense of normalcy and routine.

5. The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett

I had never heard of Steven Bartlett when I first started listening to his podcast and I happened to find his podcast on Spotify as I was scrolling through looking for something new to learn. He created a social media company Social Chain when he was 20, and as an entrepreneur, I thought he might have some tips and tricks on building a successful business. He has some really interesting guests talking about mindset, their personal journeys, and one of the nice things about this podcast, is the English accent.

The biggest learning from this podcast is that no matter where you are now, the path and your journey is specific to you and there is no right or wrong way to get to your destination. 

4. Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell.

Malcolm Gladwell could well be my favourite Canadian. Finding the Tipping Point on the shelves of a bookstore back in NZ, I really liked the way he looked at the world and found patterns , but no one had ever delved into them in the way that he did. He has a manner that is relaxing and before you know it, he has educated you on a subject you didn’t know you found fascinating.

What I really love about this podcast is that the topics that you never would have thought could be related or have commonalities, do. 

3. The Futur with Chris Do

Chris Do is a designer based in California and runs an online learning platform, The Futur, where you can learn anything from typography to branding to logo design to starting a business. I like to think of him as the one who created and perfected the information carousel on IG.

With a variety of creative industry guests who storytell their journey within honest and raw conversation, you experience their creative mission from their perspective. You quickly start to learn that everyone’s journey is so different.

For a lot of creative entrepreneurs, our journeys are interlinked with feelings of self doubt and comparison to others, that hearing these stories created this feeling of camaraderie within me and I began to feel that I wasn’t quite as special as I thought!

2. QuestLove Supreme

In all honesty, I only found this podcast within the last week and I am hooked. The first episode I listened to was Jimmy Fallon which was recorded way back in December 2019. This episode is over an hour long, but it feels like it was 15 mins. It is hilarious. These entertainers have such a great rapport and the stories they can (and do!) tell, oh Lawd. Amir may also be known as the drummer from The Roots, you know the guy with the afro and the pick in his hair, however, he is also a wealth of musical knowledge. His dj sets are what seriously got me through Lockdown 1.0

1. Jill Scott presents J.ill the Podcast

Where do I start?! Back in 2008, when I moved to London, one of the first things I googled was tour dates for Jill Scott. At the Brixton Academy, with a packed crowd, I felt as if it were just me, Jill and a couple of good friends, shooting the breeze and this podcast relives that feeling all over again. There is something about her voice, the rhythm of her words, and the way she uses tone that draws you in and keeps you close. Jill co-hosts with Laiya St.Clair, and Aja Graydon-Dantzler, and they have THE most honest, raw, and real conversations that I have heard in a long time. They get into everything from sexual assault, giving Iconic Black women their flowers, to ways to move forward from the current political and social US climate.

The way in which we connect with others and they emotion we feel with connection plays a huge part in our overall wellbeing, whether we realise it or not. 

Whether we know these people we share this connection with, or not.  Connection can be one sided and it can make you feel as though you are part of an exclusive club.

Now these are not all of the podcasts I have been listening to of late, but I am partial to them!

Others high on my list include:

The Michelle Obama Podcast, Better with Paul with Paul C. Brunson, The Mindset Mentor with Rob Dial, Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, The BE Ultimate Podcast with Travis Eliot, Fashioning Identity from Highsnobiety, Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee are also on rotation.

Because of the guests all of these hosts have, they spin me onto a tangent where I discover other podcasts. It’s this never ending, glorious spiral of storytelling.  

Even if it still does feel as though I am eavesdropping!

According to Forbes, 62 million Americans listen to podcasts each week. That’s a lot of podcasts and the variety and subject matter vary greatly. Ad revenue is expected to reach $1 billion this year.

No matter what platform you listen on, and no matter what subject you prefer to listen to, there is something for everyone.

So, let me know what podcasts you are currently listening to – I’m always on the lookout for something new to fill my ears!

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