Episode 022 – Retrospect
In order to move forward, sometimes we have to look back.
21 episodes, 9 guests, and too many cups of coffee to even count.
As 2022 draws to a close, I thought a quick look back at the first two seasons of guests was in order. I had some great conversations and decided to pull some of my favorite clips for this year in review episode (for lack of a better description).
If you listened to all of the guest episodes, I thank you. If you only listened to the solo episodes, here’s a little taste of what you missed.
I can’t stress it enough but this show doesn’t happen without interesting guests. And getting interesting guests to appear on a show with a small audience is a tall order. That being said, I wanna thank all of my guests for their time and their trust.
And thank you for listening.
Next week, Episode 023 is the last of the year and the perfect number episode to kick off the new year. It’s almost as if I planned it!
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Until next time, be nice and do good stuff.
Hey… welcome to the show. Today is December 21, the Winter Solstice. We are into the 2022 Holiday Season and I can’t believe we’re just two weeks away from 2023.
Today I’m going a little offs-script, improv. In the last couple of episodes, I shared a couple of short personal stories and got a lot of positive feedback. I always hesitate to tell personal stories because I don’t want this show to be about me. I want it to be about us. You and me.
So here’s a funny story that just happened to me yesterday. When it’s noisy in town, I usually pack up my gear and jump in the Element and head out to one of a few spots I’ve got in the desert. Usually up on a bluff over looking the Sea of Cortez or my favorite mountain, Pilon.
Yesterday, I parked the car by a small shrine off the road. It’s painted with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Inside the concrete structure, there are old burnt-down candles, some paper flowers, offerings, and a ton of burnt matches. In this particular spot, someone place a potted cactus.
For some reason, I feel compelled to sweep it out. Stand up any candles that have fallen over and I move the potted cactus into the warm sun before getting to writing. Yesterday, I brought a new candle and lit it to burn for those we’ve lost this year. I know. I’m weird.
But… I got right to work. 20 minutes later, two trucks pulled up behind my car. One, a large camouflaged pickup truck, military men in full kevlar holding M-16s. The second, a pickup truck of the local police.
I was sitting in the back with my laptop. The driver’s side window was down but I didn’t want to startle the officer walking up to the vehicle. So, I yelled, Hola! Buenos Dias! And opened the door.
The officer was startled anyway and put his hand on his sidearm. The men in the truck lifted their guns and scared the living hell out of me. But… When I explained I was a writer looking for a quiet place to work, and not some creepy old dude lurking in the desert, we all had a big laugh and they drove away. Probably still beliving I’m a creepy gringo sitting in the back of his car in the desert.
Ah, the glamour. Ya, know, my wife didn’t see the humor. But…
Today, I’m recording from the house. And, as usual, it’s noisy. Our little town is buzzing with activity ahead of the Navidad. The church has decided to blast Christmas musak at the top of the hour and Freddy is here. You remember Freddy from episode 1. He tends to the garden. His radio is blaring, he’s opening and closing gates but we’re going for it.
I’ve unplugged the loudest refrigerator on planet earth. The white lights on our Charlie Brown Christmas tree are a blaze and my coffee is hot.
So, here’s the funky music bed to kick if off. Let’s go.
For this episode, I thought I’d do something fun, kinda the year in review.
I pulled some of my favorite moments from the past 20 shows. It’s so hard for me to listen to things I’ve done in the past without a critical ear. I don’t listen to old records I’ve made, I don’t read my books and I haven’t listened to any of the past shows. But, it was cool to hear some of these moments again. We covered a lot of ground.
When you’re a new show with a small audience, it can be difficult to book guests… it’s understandable. It’s a commitment of time and without a long-standing body of work to go on, the person you’re reaching out too may want to spend their time in front of a larger audience.
That being said, I want to thank all of my guests. They were super gracious with their time and their trust.
I also want to thank the show’s supporters and sponsors. If you contributed via themindunset.com, or are signed up to be one of our $ 5-a-month members, thank you. Your support keeps this show going.
If you left a review on Apple or Spotify, thank you. Many of you have shared the episodes with your community and that is how we’ve grown so quickly. Thank you.
I hope sharing some of my experiences and quirky insights helps. I’m never really sure what the hell I’m doing with the solo episodes but I enjoy making them and processing some situations that I have difficulty with. In my mind, if I’m working through them, other people might be also.
You know, when it comes to the guest episodes… in choosing someone to talk with, I know that some people won’t be interested in their particular medium or area of expertise but if I do my gig correctly, I’ll be able to get people interested in the story surrounding their medium. Because in the end, it all comes down to the story.
This was particularly so with my first guest, Dustin Klein. He’s an avid cyclist and independent artist in the Portland area. These days, his YouTube channel is mostly about his cycling adventures but when I discovered him a couple of years ago, he was delving more into the friction areas between creating content. He talked a lot about getting bogged down with the negative self-talk when something you create, doesn’t hit the numbers you expected it to hit.
Which is something I struggle with all the time. Just before I reached out, Dustin had posted a video about how having access to so much data can actually be a bad thing. How when we begin to compare ourselves to others in our field, we lose the metric of why we began creating in the first place.
This was my first conversation and when I listen back, Dustin made it pretty easy for me. I’ve been observing and writing about people for 30 years but sitting down to have a conversation with someone who I had never met for my first podcast episode was a little stressful.
It was probably worse for Dustin. He had nothing to go on except a trailer that I had attached to the pitch email. He told me afterward if I didn’t attach the trailer, he probably wouldn’t have done the show. Hearing the music and the quality of the recording captured his attention just enough.
So let’s get into it. Here’s one of my favorite clips from my conversation with Dustin Klein. I love the way he ends this clip.
This next clip is from a long-time friend of mine, Tayla Lynn. She is the granddaughter of the great Loretta Lynn, who we just lost not long ago. I knew Tayla during one of the most trying times of her life. And have cheered for her recovery and her success ever since.
I was happy when she agreed to do the show because Tayla has a way of talking about pretty heavy stuff in a way that makes it so non-threatening or daunting.
I won’t say she’s fearless because I think that robs her of some of her brilliance but she fights through her fears because she knows that’s the only way she can progress as a person and move forward. She’s also keenly aware of how her battle with addiction affects those around her and I love her answers to some of my questions.
My next guest was episode 6 and another good friend, Mark Stepp. Back in 2000, I shot a short film to go along with my second record, American Dream. The guy who edited the film, on his own time, and for no money, was Mark.
He tried to patch together a bunch of random clips that were shot to accompany the record and he did an amazing job. He was working on VH-1s behind the music at the time and I got to sit next to him in the edit bay for hours on end.
Since that time, Mark has gone on to work on some of the most exclusive live shows on the planet including the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl. We talked about what it’s like to work in such a high-pressure environment.
I didn’t know if this episode would resonate with people outside the film or television industry but, again, my aim was to introduce someone who people initially thought they’d have little interest in hearing, in a way that could give them something to latch onto.
Mark is so calm and gentle. It was a great conversation and in this clip, I ask Mark how he fights through the really difficult days when he’s just feeling burnt.
After the Stepp episode, I did one of my favorite solo episodes called Rise and Shine. I don’t know why I loved this one so much. Maybe it’s the way the episode opens and winds through some seemingly random connections, only to end up back at the beginning. I loved the outro music too. And while Rise and Shine hit with some folks, it didn’t get the response I was hoping for.
That was a great lesson in tempering my expectations as I went forward. It was only episode 7 and here I am still tempering expectations at episode 22. I am a newbie at this and I’m still finding my way. As a listener, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show to this point.
I often ask for your feedback because without it, it can sometimes feel like flying blind. And, being so close to the production, I start to wonder if there’s any value for the listeners. This is, after all, about the listeners. If you don’t listen and share it, the show doesn’t go anywhere.
Okay, next up was Pepe Chieres. Pepe and Team Mexico had just won the Photography World Cup. Pepe’s photo was selected among the best in the world.
I really wanted to have this talk with Pepe but I knew it might be tough. Pepe was very self-conscious about his English and I was the same about my Spanish. I didn’t do a great job but Pepe came through with shinning colors.
Toward the end of the conversation, I read one of Pepe’s posts from his Facebook page that really hit home with the message of the show. I wanted to get his reaction.
Gladys Ato was my next guest and I was super excited to talk to her. I wanted to find out how she decided to leave a great practice in San Fransisco, jump in her car, and move to Baja. I was curious about her thoughts on plant therapy medicines, DMT, and Ayahuasca and how to say goodbye for good to the negative self-dialogue. Being the author of the Good Goodbye… Gladys was full of gentle wisdom.
My next guest was my wife, Melody. I can’t tell you how many requests I got from people wanting me to have Mel on the show. I think my wife is brilliant and kind so it was a win-win.
Mel and I have spent nearly every day together for the last 10 years. We lived on a boat – in about 100 square feet- and being that we both work from home, it can be a little too much togetherness sometimes.
We never really fight or argue and sometimes I just wonder if we’re super weird. I thought getting her in front of a mic and asking her some personal questions would give me a little different perspective. We were both really nervous. I’m not sure why. I can usually fake it through my nerves and anxiety but my wife… well she just laughs. And I almost cut this entire clip from the show but it was the most comments on of all the episodes.
Here is it from the top.
Episode 16 was Jimmy Hallyburton. I saw Jimmy do a TEDx talk called the Speed of Discovery and he said that if you decrease the speed at which you move through the universe, your universe will expand.
Jimmy also believed as I do, that bicycles change lives. He founded and is the Executive Director of the Boise Bicycle Project in Boise, Idaho. His organization refurbishes and donates bicycles to refugees, people recently released from prison, and people experiencing homelessness.
By giving these people the freedom to move, Jimmy is giving them a way to get to a job, or to medical help, or, in the case of the refugee kids, he’s giving them independence and a way to reconnect with that inner child.
Recently, Jimmy reached out via Facebook. He was in a panic. It is the holiday season and his organization had 30 bikes in their shop. The requests from people in need amounted to 300. He was determined to meet that need so he put out a call for help.
People from all over shared his post and within 48 hours of Jimmy’s ask, The Boise Bicycle Project received nearly 900 bicycles. He’s an amazing guy and so many of you commented on what a wonderful episode this was. I agree.
In this clip, Jimmy talks about a young boy he was trying to help.
Kristin Hanes did her episode from her van in an REI parking lot. There were cars going by. You could hear engines starting and doors opening and closing it was completely authentic to who she is. I loved it.
She is an amazing example of someone who completely turned her life on its ear and began anew. She reprogrammed her brain to do the hard things and transformed her life from a news reporter to a successful blogger. And not just a successful blogger but 400k readers a month.
I came upon Shane Balkowitsch’s work while researching Ernie Lapointe. Ernie is the great-grandson of Sitting Bull. I wanted to see if Ernie would be a guest on the show. I saw Shane’s wet plate photo of Ernie and went down the rabbit hole.
After about an hour, I decided I was just gonna send Shane a pitch email. I had so many questions but I was certain he wasn’t going to answer me back. I’m a small show and Shane is shooting people like Greta Thunberg, Jordan Pederson, and John Battise.
Shane responded the next day saying, “Can we jump on a call?”
He called me from his studio and during the conversation, he was going off on these tangents and telling stories that were so good I had to stop him. I literally interrupted him and said, Shane. Please stop telling this story because I want to hear it authentically for the first time when we’re recording.
My pitch said the conversation would take about 45 minutes and I do that because I never want a guest to think, holy crap, this guy’s asking me to commit 2 hours and I don’t want too. But Shane said, Well, you know… 45 minutes isn’t enough time to cover anything. What happens if we go for two hours?
I said, then we go for two hours.
And we did. But this is the clip where Shane talks about one of the photos he shot called, Death by Oil. It’s a shot he did for his Native American Perspective and it was pretty powerful.
And so there you have it. Just like that, we’re at the end of the year and knowing that we have a very long way to go, looking back at the 22 shows we’ve produced so far, feels pretty good.
I’m never one to get comfortable with what’s been done. It’s always viewed as something I could have done better. But living on that edge all the time kinda sucks. It robs the joy from the process. If there’s no joy in the exploration and the mistakes, then why do it?
I’m working really hard on overcoming that. I look to people who inspire me like Rich Roll, Casey Neistat, and Mel Robbins. These are people at the top of their game who’ve produced thousands of hours of content or best-selling books or competed in ultra marathons. These are people who I sometimes feel that it is futile to even mention in the same breath.
And then I am reminded that the only one I’m in competition with is the person I was yesterday. What I perceive as a sprint is really a marathon and the only way we get anywhere is by taking the first step.
After that, keep stepping.
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