Updated: Jan 29, 2021
Have you ever wished or wanted to be on a podcast, but you had no idea where to start or who to call or how to even begin?
I'm not talking about starting your own podcast (find my Top 5 Tips for Starting a Podcast here). I'm talking about just being a GUEST on a podcast. Having your voice be heard. Sharing your thoughts/message/stories. Putting yourself out there. Taking a risk.
Nearly two years ago, one of my best friends and I started our own podcast, Audacity Rising, with the intent of creating a space where women from all walks of life can celebrate their stories and share audacious goals, moves, and ideas.
My favorite part aside from the planning, dreaming, and fueling our own audacious buckets? Meeting new people from all across the country. We found, pretty quickly, that in the podcasting world you will not get 100% of the guests you fail to ask to be on your show. So with that in mind, we asked, asked, and asked away. We featured family and friends, colleagues, ourselves, but mostly we had guests on our show who we'd never met before. Through listening to podcasts that we personally loved, and by considering the types of character and creativity that we wanted to align with, we reached out--often through social media--to form relationships and ask, "Would you want to be on our show?"
Usually, the answer was an immediate, "Why YES!" Occasionally, we heard nothing. And I'm happy to share that even some of the biggest name asks would have someone in their organization reply with a respectful, "Not at this time" response.
As educators by trade, Taryn (my bestie and co-host) and I just jumped in to this creative field with open hearts and open ideas. We started to have guests reach out to us requesting that they be on our show (what?!?!) and even to ask us to appear on their shows (double what?!?!)
My first educational-related podcast request was in the fall of 2020, when Tiffany Barrett, the Director of Member Services from the Indiana Association of School Principals reached out to me to ask, "Would you be interested in joining our show?" And, like many of my favorite guests on Audacity Rising, I replied with my eager and willing, "Yes!"
As an instructional leader, I am passionate about sharing honest perspectives on what teachers and middle-leadership (ie, instructional coaches, curriculum leaders, student service professionals, etc.) need from our district leadership teams. Too often teachers and educational middle-men wish they had a voice to lead up, but we simply aren't sure what to say, or how to do it.
Tiffany and I spent about one hour recording the podcast and then another simply getting to know each other (virtually of course, because we did record this in the fall of 2020, remember!) We swapped stories about teacher trauma, PTSD's impact on schools administrators, and how what we need more than ever is vulnerable leadership that is willing to shine the light on care, empathy, and compassion.
While I'm excited for the world to hear my episode on LeaderCast, I'm even more excited about the friendship that now exists between me and Tiffany. Sharing your story, putting yourself out there (and asking others to do the same) creates an immediate connection and bond between the host and guest. I think the same connection can and does happen between school leaders and their staff.
When a principal or district leader asks their teachers and staff to share their perspectives--empathy, trust, and connection develop. When teachers feels safe in a dignity-rich environment, they are better equipped to create this same safe space for their students.
As leaders, we must be willing to lead with vulnerability by asking our teams what they think, what they feel, and what they need. We must open our hears, tune in, and listen.