Having Faith

Getting this idea out of my head and out into the Universe has been about faith. Having complete trust in someone or something. Accepting the things you cannot control. This has  been about making a decision on how you want to show up when facing uncertainty.

When it comes to being creative, fear of criticism, rejection, and failure can smear any canvas.

My friend and tribe member, Jason Barnaby of Fire Starters, Inc., calls these things the WhatIfAbouts. They are the biggest barrier to people realizing their full potential. They are the stories we tell ourselves about our abilities. They are the limitations we are willing to accept.

The only way to quiet these WhatIfAbouts is faith. The first step in doing anything is believing the impossible can be possible. Getting the courage to take that first step is always the hardest. Committing to something unknown is absolutely terrifying – especially those that are risk-adverse or find comfort in having a plan.

The idea of the Improvement Nerds Podcast and committing to that first step took me years to act on. As a timestamp – I purchased my microphone and pop filter on March 31, 2018. It stayed in its box until February 2020.

All My Excuses

When it came to getting this podcast started I had more excuses than I had passion. The list was long. And getting longer every time I tried to muster up the energy to get the idea off the ground.

My list of WhatIfAbouts pulled on every fear I have ever had. Every excuse started with “No one will listen, because…”

  • You are monotone, the sound quality will be terrible
  • Your topic isn’t that interesting
  • You won’t get a single guest to buy-in to this idea
  • You need a catchy logo and you don’t know how to market

Then, every one of those little bastards would end with “…What makes you think you can do this? You are not that important.”

Your WhatIfAbouts are dirty fighters and they will throw the cheap shot every [insert “f” bombing] time.

You Need a Tribe

If you have ever been stifled like I have. It is easy to dwell in doubt. I’d like to say I got the courage to face my fears all on my own. That is not true.

Overcoming any fear and re-writing the story you have told yourself your whole life takes a team. Something Jason Barnaby refers to as your tribe. It is the group of people you have surrounded yourself with.

In some cases that tribe is helping. Other times it might be hindering. You have to be intentional with who you surround yourself with and why.

Tribes Torch Fear

Improvement Nerds got started because my tribe pushed me to the edge and forced me to jump. For the first and second episodes of Improvement Nerds, I wasn’t the one who hit the record button. I was too intimidated [insert chicken shit]. Travis Lozier, a long-time friend and mentor of mine, literally tore the band aid off.

Travis has been a part of my tribe, since I was a college athlete at Indiana State University. To say I have trust in Travis is an understatement. This guy has some serious stock in me. I have trained for and finished four (4) marathons with him cheering me on. I have become more charitable because of him. I am driven to be a better father because of him. I am a more passionate leader because of him.

Where Travis got it started, others stepped in to keep it going. Episode 3 was with Rachel Pritz and Episode 4 was with Laura Pullen “LP” McMichael. Both longtime friends and tribe members. LP hasn’t allowed me to make an excuse for myself since I met her six (6) years ago while working as a healthcare consultant.

The Improvement Nerds Podcast ball was rolling at this point. I continued to fill episodes with people I have known for a while. Julie Kratz, Amanda Cross, Nick Smarrelli, Eric Eicher, and Alex Perry – all familiar faces.

Then the magic happened. My guests, tribe members, started to recommend guests. In one LinkedIn post, Jason Barnaby name dropped more people. Shelley Brown, Jacqueline Martinez, Ryan Sullivan, Jeremiah Reed, Shawn Quick-Raflik, Jen Edds, and Jeannette Renshaw got on board.

I am sure that as I continue on this journey this list of tribe members will grow.

Kickass image inspired by Jason Barnaby at Fire Starters, Inc.

These guests helped to create some awesome episodes. But they also went out of their way to teach me how to create a better podcast. Some of them had podcasts of their own. Sharing very generously tips about equipment and other tools. They helped me to become more polished. They helped me to figure out Instagram. Everyone who knew something about something chipped in.

They shared their Google form for capturing guest information. They sent me examples of really good show notes. They helped catch spelling errors. They helped me create a kick ass logo. All the excuses I had were crumbling.

It was no longer about me creating a podcast. It was about all of us doing something purposeful. Where fear once occupied my mind. Joy overcame.

Simply put, tribes torch fear.

Improvement Nerds Unite

 With more and more people sharing their excitement and helping embrace my next steps, my small idea became bigger.

This is the energy I was hoping to create, but had no idea was possible. Improvement Nerds is all about embracing your inner Nerd and leaning into the things that nerd you out. To pursue your passions. To change the world by being you.

It has been a privilege to create Improvement Nerds. Getting to share my story and to invite others on to the show to share theirs has been a gift. I can’t believe I almost didn’t do this.

With every episode I learn something new and get to meet someone new, or see a different side of someone I have known for years. I get to share stories of hope. Of fear. Of loss. Of love. Of family. Of, of, of…

My list of reasons not to do this are gone. The list of WhatIfAbouts has been replaced with a list of WhatNextAbouts.