Lessons Learned from 400 Episodes of the L3 Leadership Podcast!

This week, we published the 400th episode of The L3 Leadership Podcast! That is hard to believe! It’s been quite a journey to get here. Today, I’d like to share a few lessons that I’ve learned along the way.

If you are reading this and you’ve listened to the podcast, thank you! I hope it’s made an impact on your life.

If you’re not familiar with the podcast, you can check it out here:

Let’s dive into the lessons that I’ve learned:

How the Podcast Started

When I started my leadership development journey at 18, one of my mentors would bring in leaders from our community and have them speak on leadership. Afterward, he would always tell me, “If you connected with what that leader was saying, you should ask them to grab coffee and ask them to mentor you.” He then gave me an entire process to make the most of mentoring relationships.

I took him up on that advice and started having monthly meetings with leaders. After ten years of meetings with leaders monthly, many of my friends started saying, “I can’t believe you get to spend time with all of those leaders. I wish I could.” To which I’d always respond, “Have you ever asked?” To which they’d respond, “No.”

I saw that as an opportunity and thought, “What if I recorded my conversations with leaders and made them available on a podcast for anyone to listen to?”

I shared the idea with Laura Smith and she bought me a $50 record on Amazon. I asked my father-in-law, Mike Steidel, if I could interview him, and he said yes, and that was the start of the podcast way back in 2012!

I had NO idea that starting the podcast would lead to me meeting and interviewing some of my heroes, creating opportunities to learn from some of the best leaders on the planet every week, and allowing me to influence thousands of leaders worldwide.

If you dream of starting something and putting it into the world, do it! You have no idea what will be on the other side of you stepping out.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. -Zig Ziglar

With Anything that You Start, You Won’t be Very Good in the Beginning

When I first began podcasting, I did not know anything! I did not know how to be a great interviewer, how to edit a podcast or make it sound good, or how to get listeners.

I was ok with that. I was certain that starting the podcast was something I was supposed to do, and I was determined to figure it out and get better over time.

Had I waited until I knew what I know now or until everything was perfect, I would have never started, and I certainly would have never stuck with it.

In anything you’re starting, be willing to be bad and commit to learning and getting better every day. If you do, you’ll be shocked at how far you can go!

Some of my favorite compliments about the podcast are when I have leaders say, “Doug, I love going back and listening to the first hundred episodes of the podcast because it shows me how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown.”

If you don’t start where you are, you will stay where you are.

Always be Improving

No matter what you’re pursuing, make the committment to always be improving. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my interviewing skills, the content, the podcast production, and how we market the podcast. One of the greatest ways you can improve is by asking for feedback.

One of the greatest ways you can improve something is by asking for feedback.

For example, at the end of every interview, I ask my guests if they have any feedback on how I can get better. Asking that question has led to significant growth moments in my life as a podcaster.

At one point early on, a mentor said to me, “Doug, it seems like you’re so focused on getting to the next question that you’re not really listening to what your guest is saying, and you’re missing opportunities to let your curiosity take the conversation where it could go.”

When I took that feedback to another mentor who interviews people for a living, he said, “Doug, you’re afraid of what your guest thinks of you. You’re insecure. If you’re ever going to be a good interviewer, you have to get over that. “

“Doug, you’re afraid of what your guest thinks of you. You’re insecure. If you’re ever going to be a good interviewer, you have to get over that. “

Those two pieces of feedback changed my life and have helped me become a much better interviewer.

Committ to continual improvement in every area of your life. If you do, you’ll continually improve, as will everything you do.

Be Consistent & Don’t Quit

This article said, “There are currently around 3 to 4 million podcasts out there, according to ListenNotes. According to Amplifi and Podnews, 44% of the podcasts have less than three episodes! Only 720k podcasts have more than ten episodes. They also share that out of those 720k podcasts, only 156k are releasing a weekly episode.”

That blows my mind. Out of 4 million podcasts, only 156,000 are producing weekly episodes consistently.

Consistency and tenacity will set you apart from the competition in any area of your life. If you are going to committ to doing something, be consistent and don’t quit.

If you’re going to committ to doing something, be consistent and don’t quit.

Don’t Worry about the Numbers

The graphic below shows the amount of downloads I’ve had on the podcast over time. You’ll notice that I had very few downloads for years after I started. Over time, my downloads have gone up and down but have continued to grow.

If all I focus on is the numbers, it can be an emotional roller coaster. In fact, when numbers are high, I’m on top of the world. When numbers are low, I want to throw in the towel and quit. Have you been there?

When I’m tempted to measure my worth or the podcast’s success by numbers, I must remind myself why I started the podcast in the first place.

I started the podcast hoping it would help at least one other person on the planet. If another person listens to the podcast and is impacted, that is incredible!

Rather than focusing on the masses, I celebrate the one.

Rather than focusing on how many more people I could reach, I focus on how many people I have reached, and for that, be it 1 or 1,000,000, I’m grateful.

The Greatest Gift Podcasting Has Given Me: Courage and Confidence

I’ve found that when you’re willing to create something and send it out into the world consistently, that takes immense courage.

In the beginning, I struggled with insecurity and asked questions like:

  • Who am I to have a leadership podcast?
  • Who am I to interview and connect with these people?
  • Will anyone actually listen to this?
  • Will anyone actually care what I have to offer or say?
  • Am I enough?

That said, I chose to show up consistently, even when I was afraid, and to see what would happen.

After producing 400 episodes, my mindset has shifted entirely. I now think:

  • Why not me?
  • Why couldn’t I have a leadership podcast that adds value to thousands of people?
  • Why couldn’t I connect with any leader on the planet?
  • I can add massive value to people!
  • I can connect with anyone!
  • I can’t wait to interview and connect with leaders! When I do, I’m in my sweet spot!

Confidence comes from having the courage to show up and keep showing up, even when you’re afraid.

If you’re thinking about doing something but are afraid to, do it! Do it afraid. Do it insecure. Show up. Keep showing up. The confidence will come over time!

What Keeps Me Going: The Impact It Makes on People’s Lives.

I often have listeners of the show reach out to me and let me know that the podcast has positively impacted their lives, leadership, and family. Whenever I get a message like that, it fuels me and fires me up to keep going! Very few things in life are as fulfilling as making a positive impact on the lives of others.

The Top 3 People I’d Love to Interview:

People often ask me who is left on my bucket list to interview. Here are my top 3 currently:

  • Dave Ramsey
  • Erwin McManus (This may happen! I’m so excited!)
  • Craig Groeschel

What Would Surprise You: What it takes to pull off a weekly show!

A ton of work goes into producing a weekly show:

  • Pursuing and scheduling guests!
  • Preparing questions for guests
  • Creating content for personal lessons
  • Editing and publishing each episode for audio and video
  • Promoting and marketing each episode

As a result, I want to say thank you to those who make the podcast happen each week:

  • Jessica Murphy Thank you for everything you do behind the scenes to make the podcast successful. You’re such a blessing!
  • Andocia Creative Agency They edit and produce the podcast! William Host , Sarah Westby, and Aaron Higginbotham – Thank you for everything you do for me and L3! You’re helping us make an impact in the lives of thousands of leaders.

Interested in Starting Your Own Podcast?

If you’re interested in learning more about podcasts, in episode #308, I recorded my best advice for creating your own podcast.

How You Can Help Me

Thank You

If you’re listening to this and have invested in me, encouraged me, listened to this podcast, left a review… Thank you. You’ve enabled me to live out one of the dreams of my heart, which is creating content that adds value to people’s lives.

Now, it’s onto 500 episodes! I can’t wait to see who I meet and what I learn along the way! I look forward to taking you along for the ride!

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