You Don’t Start at the Top of the Charts

One of my favorite shows is Parks and Recreation, an NBC show staring what’s now considered an ensemble cast in a mockumentary-style TV show, like The Office. It ran for 7 years and is beloved by many. And if you watch Season 1 without knowing anything else about the show, you’d probably be surprised it lasted beyond those 6 episodes.

If you look at Scrubs, which is a strong contender for my favorite show, it’s very different when we compare Season 1 Episode 1 to Season 2 Episode 1. That show lasted 8 Seasons and got a short spin off.

And while Friends’ pilot does a great job setting the tone of the show, it’s very muted compared to what we saw even later in that season. Friends lasted 10 years and is considered one of the most influential sitcoms from the 90s, a pretty great era for sitcoms.

Each of these shows started as an idea that a bunch of people took a shot on; but they all needed some time to refine the details. Heck…The Janitor in Scrubs wasn’t supposed to be such a central character at first, and in Friends, Joey…well let’s just say he was quicker on the uptake in those earlier episodes.

You Will Not Start On Top

Recently I saw the question posed on Twitter: “What’s stopping you from launching your podcast?” A few comments were people saying they weren’t as good as the top podcasts, which caused me to tweet this:

My friend Laura pointed out this isn’t just applicable to podcasting, but nearly any field.

In-fact, this was a common theme on Season 1 of How I Built It…ironically a season where I was finding my voice before it become a relatively popular show. I, and many of my guests, drew the comparison to Olympians that I made in the tweet.

Most of the time, you see only the success, not the journey.

Start the Journey.

Naturally, my advice to anyone who wants to do something, and is able to do it, is to start. Launch your podcast. Your first few episodes will be bad. My first 2 podcasts, now offline, were terrible. My 3rd one — where I applied what I learned from the first 2 over the preceding 3 years — was a hit.

But to go back even further than that, I had been teaching in the classroom for 5 years before my first podcast.

I was doing client work, and teaching my clients, for years before standing up in front of a class.

I was in drama club from 2nd grade through high school, learning how to interact, entertain, and think on my feet…especially when I forgot a line.

I learned how to become an entertainer, then a teacher, then a podcaster on a show that combined both. My journey got me to a place where my podcast supports my family.

I’m not saying it will take you 20 years to be successful at podcasting (or whatever you choose). But if you start today, you’ll be one step closer than if you start tomorrow.

So at first, don’t worry about being the best. Just worry about being.

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