21 Remarkable Podcasts You'll Be Glad You Learned About

Podcasts are the best ways to learn new and interesting things while on the go. I listen to them while walking the dogs, getting work done or while driving to and from meetings. Radio has become a distant sound that rarely comes through my speakers. Instead of listening to guys argue or the same songs over and over, I choose to learn something new.

A recent episode of The Portfolio Life inspired me to create a PDF copy of my 30-day writing challenge. If you haven’t downloaded a copy, you can find one here.

The same episode also introduced me to Art 2 Self and the concept of a motivational cartoonist. Who knew such a thing existed? I wouldn’t have either, if not for Jeff Goins and The Portfolio Life. Steph Halligan’s story reminded me to approach my work as a fellow traveler rather than an expert.

Podcasts are a great way to hear new voices and interact with the entertaining and insightful tales of others. I’m always on the lookout for something new to add to my cue and stumbling into new favorites all the time. Here are a few of my most recent finds.

Watermark's Church Leadership Podcast

Jocko Podcast

The Cheerful Visit

#STRask with Greg Koukl

The Portfolio Life with Jeff Goins

Copyblogger FM

The Writer Files

Signposts with Russell Moore

Reading Writers

Louder with Crowder

Home Row: A  Podcast with Writers on Writing

The Cold-Case Christianity Podcast

The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

I’m usually late to the party. If you’ve already heard of these and want some further ideas, here are some of my long standing favs:

The Briefing with Albert Mohler

The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

The Glenn Beck Program

Stand to Reason Weekly Podcast

The Tim Ferriss Show  

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Let My People Think

Just Thinking

I currently use an app called Overcast to stream podcasts. If you’d like to check it out, you may do so here. All the podcasts above and many more are only a search away. Enjoy!

Whether you’re new to the podcast world or simply looking for something new, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

What do you enjoy listening to? Is there any particular podcast you’ve found helpful and fun?

Four Things That Will Increase The Likelihood of Working On Your Dream

Tim Ferriss has a phenomenal podcast, on which he peels back the layers on today’s top performers. He scores big name guests like Kevin Costner, Jamie Fox, Malcolm Gladwell and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Each intriguing conversation yields powerful advice and entertaining stories you can learn from.

I’ve listened to The Tim Ferriss Show, since reading The Four Hour Work Week a few years back. That book was so helpful and inspiring in my journey from corporate life to small business owner. Tim’s podcast has been little different. Each time I throw my headphones in I find something of value and interest, no matter the subject or guest. A few of my favorite episodes are conversations with Mike Rowe, Pavel Tsatsouline, Kevin Costner, and Derek Sivers.

I'm taking a page from Tim in today's post. I'm sharing the tips, routines and habits that constitute my writing life. I’m not a big-time author, published writer or anything close to famous. I’m a guy dedicated to his craft, seeking to get better every day and who wants to help you do the same. What follows are thoughts and snapshots of my world, I hope you find it helpful.

Get Out of Bed

For most of my life, getting out of bed has been a struggle. In middle school and high school, this was especially true. My mom would have to poke and prod me for what seemed like hours to get me up each morning. In college, little was different. I would stay up far too late and sleep as much as I could the following day. On more than one occasion, I slept through my 7 or 8 am classes. I lacked the self-discipline and drive to get up early.

Then came real life and with it the responsibility and accountability of my first job. I couldn’t hit the snooze, roll over and sleep in any longer. I had a defined place I had to be each morning. Being late, was no longer an option. This change was good for me. When I had a reason to be up, and a plan for what I was going to do, getting up wasn’t a big deal.

I roll out of bed at 5:30 am, most days. I walk to the kitchen to pour myself a cup of bulletproof coffee and sit down at my computer to write. I write until my wife gets up at 6:30 am. At which time I pour a second cup of coffee and spend thirty minutes to an hour reading God’s word. By 8:00 am I’ve written for an hour, spent 30 minutes to an hour in the Bible and walked our two sweet pups. I’m locked and loaded to start my work day.

I treasure this morning routine. It feeds my soul and helps me win the day. Before I started this routine, I struggled to find the time to write. Attempting to fit writing into any other corner of my day wasn’t working. Too much was going on once the work day started to squeeze writing time into the day.

Then it hit me. I could be selfish at 5:30 am. There would be nothing to distract me. No email, phone calls, or meetings. I could work on exactly what I wanted and that’s exactly what I did. I started getting up early.  

No matter how crazy my day gets or what curve balls get thrown my way, I will have spent time working on something personal. The craziness of life no longer remains an excuse for not getting things done. Of course, I miss days here and there. Maybe we were up late shooting a wedding, or traveling with family and I don’t get up as early. Grace abounds in those circumstances. I’m not going to beat myself up for sleeping in, I’ll just make sure I get up the next day. Getting out of bed and tackling a small piece of writing each day has become too important.

Prime the Pump     

I enjoy watching good movies on the couch with my wife but would rather read a good book if given the choice. Reading fuels my writing. It gives me ideas to ponder, words to look up and examples to follow. “If you don't have time to read,” Stephen King said, “you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.”  I’ve taken King at his word and have come to agree. As a writer, you prime the pump by reading good and sometimes bad writing.

“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life.” Austin Kleon said, “You are the sum of your influences.” Reading is only one form of input. If you are going to grow as a writer, you are going to need more influences than great books. You’re going to need to fill your mind with exciting and fun experiences, music, and more. It is from this well, your ideas spring.

I call this priming the pump. Before any bit of writing goes out into the world countless hours get spent hiking, listening and reading. Input precedes output. We must tend to the things that influence what we create if we want to improve our creative endeavors.

Do Something Every Day

“What you do each day,” Sonia Samone said, “becomes what you did last year.” The truth is, the things you get done, come down to the small habits and routines you do daily. Change and growth are incrementally obtained. The only way I know to get something written is to sit down and write. There isn’t a hidden formula. You have to actually write.

The things you’re good at in life, take time and practice. Writing is no different. If you want to improve and get more out there into the world, you must consistently write. You need to be writing every day. The time of day isn’t important, time spent writing is.

As I’ve shared, I write daily. Writing daily doesn’t mean publishing daily. I write many things that will never see the light of day, most of it for good reason. For every one good page of writing, I stumble upon, there are dozens of terrible ones. You don’t get to write only good things, often the road to the good runs through the bad along the way.

“You always throw out your first pancake,” Seth Godin said, “so get cooking.” Don’t let a few mangled sentences and dry prose stop you, keep at it. Show up every day committed to your task. Do the work required. If writing is an inspired thing, make yourself easy for inspiration to find. Consistency is inspiration’s best friend; they hang out a lot.  

Don’t Think About the Final Product

Few things suck the life out of the act of writing or creative work quite like the tyranny of the finished product. You have this picture of what it’ll look like, what people will say about it and even how it’ll improve your reputation. No wonder you tighten up and have trouble finding the ‘right’ words. You’re so concerned with the final product, that you can’t get anything done.

Pay little attention to your finished product while working. Get your idea on paper or canvas. Vomit it all up on the page, every last piece. Once you’ve got it all out there, you can then go about the work of crafting it. The best way I know to write is to work without the end in mind. I don’t develop any preconceived notions of what completion will mean.

What I’ve given you here is one aspiring writer’s guide. It isn’t definitive or even groundbreaking. It’s a quick run through a few of the habits and routines I use for writing.

1. Get up early

2. Read a lot

3. Write every day

4. Don’t focus on the final product

These four steps have helped me grow and develop as a writer. It's my hope they’ll do the same for you, whatever your creative goals may be.

Monthly Mash Up (February 2017)

February is practically over, which means Hannah and I are ever so close to welcoming our first little into the world. As the countdown to Hudson continues, I’d like to share with you what I'm reading, pondering and enjoying. This has been something I’ve regularly shared with email subscribers but am now sharing as a monthly post on the blog. I hope the resources I share with here are helpful and brighten your day. If you do enjoy it, feel free to pass it along to family and friends.

Verse I'm Chewing On

 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” - Psalm 34:8

Hannah and I are reading through the Psalms & Proverbs this year with our church. It has been great so far and I can’t wait to see how it continues to shape us. Psalm 34 in general is outstanding. What a marvelous example of how we are to worship The Lord. I can imagine David rocking back and forth with pure adulation for the Lord as he penned these words. Here’s a musical rendition by Shane & Shane to give you a taste of the richness and fullness of truth this Psalm captures.  

What I'm Reading

1. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller - We continue to read this with our community group. It has been awesome so far. It’s served as a reminder of things we learned in Merge.

2. Pronto by Elmore Leonard  

3. Riding The Rap by Elmore Leonard

4. Raylan by Elmore Leonard

5. Fire In The Hole by Elmore Leonard - I was a fan of the show Justified. In fact, it is my favorite TV Show. While the series was officially based on Fire In The Hole, these other three books containing the character Raylan Givens make their way on to the screen. I added these four to my list, when I learned the series was based on the writings of Elmore Leonard. They were fun reads with outstanding dialogue. You would expect nothing less from the genius of Leonard.

6. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney - I am reading this as part of a discipleship group. It has challenged many of my preconceived notions and inspired me to meditate on God’s Word with greater intention. I have been especially encouraged by Whitney’s recurring reminder that Spiritual Disciplines are means to the end of becoming like Jesus, not ends themselves. Forgetting their role quickly leads to performance and drudgery.   

7. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway - I’d never read Hemingway. Feeling ashamed I picked this classic up and began to read. I have been struck by the simplicity of his writing and storytelling. There is much to be learned in that regard, even if the tale depresses the hell out of me.   

What I’m Listening To

1. Stop Starving and Start Making a Living from Your Art: Interview with Cory Hugg - This is a great interview discussing art, gatekeepers and finding unique ways to make a living from your artistic endeavors with Cory Hugg.

2. Mumford & Sons: The Road to Red Rocks (Live) - I’d all but forgotten Mumford was still out there. This month I started listening to them again and found their music just as enjoyable as I did three years ago.

3. Words, Words, Words—The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe - Mike Rowe is outstanding. I was enamored with Dirty Jobs as a kid and now find his weekly podcast a must listen. This episode was especially enjoyable as Mike pulled back the curtain.  

4. Get Your Life Back —Sermon Series from Connexus Church - Carey Nieuwhof is the pastor of a church in Canada and host of the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. I discovered both this past year and have enjoyed Carey’s interviews and encouragement. This month I turned my attention to learning more about the idea of dropping the pursuit of balance and instead embracing passion.  

New Practice I’m Trying

Keeping a Daily Logbook - This is different than a journal in that it is simply a quick jotting down of the small details of your day for later remembrance. Austin Kleon mentioned it in his book, Steal Like An Artist, so I’m trying it on. So far I’ve enjoyed the practice. I’ve stopped journaling for now and have found this a fun and energizing way to reflect on the day.

From the Internet

1. How can Christians show loving kindness to refugees and do justice for Americans? - The refugee crisis is real and concerning for many of us. Here Todd Wagner offers an excellent take on how we as should respond.

2. “NFL 2017” — Bad Lip Reading of the NFL - Always funny.

3. 10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book - Helpful thoughts and ideas for tackling that book project of yours.

4. Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace - This interview made its rounds on the interwebs a while back but is worth revisiting. Simon shares some statistics and thoughts on the Millennial generation that are well worth our time and attention.

5. 5 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To - I’m always down for new podcasts and added two of Barnabas’ recommendation to my list.