Mindsoak is a project. Nothing more. Nothing less. And now that I’m ten episodes in, I thought I’d take some time for a little public reflection. I’ve always said I will do this until the 20th episode for sure, just to see where it goes and how I feel about my progress as a host. Not that I will quit at 20 if I’m not liking my progress, but that I will reassess if things aren’t getting better.

First off, thanks to all my guests who have come on and been more than gracious with their time and talent. You are all amazing and I’ve loved staying connected and watching from a far. Whether that’s lamenting losses of the Patriot’s season and reading Elysia Regina’s first chapter of her upcoming book, firing Facebook messages back and forth with the great @bonafidejoe, setting up an actual, honest to pete, in person coffee with the wonderful Jeanne Kolker or reading @JoeKellyMOA latest comic book goodness…it’s been a wild ride.

On top of that I’ve been able to go on the Art Jones show, I got a Daredevil/Kingpin commission from the great Manny Cartoon and I continue to use Mentegram (hi Igor!) in my private practice. And this isn’t even mentioning the most recent podcast guests I’ve had on…Don Wettrick, the great Dana Faletti (not a day goes by where we aren’t talking about something or other through Twitter DM’s), the wonderful Jessica Reino and last, but certainly not least the Rhewination crew1.

Now on to me. I have to say, I’ve been pleased with my progress. Anyone who knows me, knows I am my biggest critic. And I’m picky when it comes to getting things right…to the point where it usually ends up making it wrong. But with Mindsoak, I have taken the idea of it being a “project” to heart and have just left it all out there on the floor, so to speak. To quote a great American philosopher2, LIAHO…or Let It All Hang Out3.

Mindsoak is a project and I knew I was going to change things from the start. And I have changed a good amount of things. For instance, after the first couple of episodes I realized doing a post-recorded introduction of the guest is both repetitive and douchey. Why repeat what the guest and I are going to discuss in the interview, why make the listener hear more of me instead of the guest and why speak information the listener can gain by reading the show notes, my website or the guest’s Twitter bio?

I was trying to be too “show-like” and I really think it came off as too self important. So I stopped doing that. Now I just play the uplifting, ukulele intro music, fade in to me welcoming the guest and get right to the meat of the conversation. No long winded, useless introduction from yours truly.

I’ve always wanted Mindsoak to be a conversation between the guest and I. But not a normal conversation where things are 50-50, a conversation where I shine the light on them and take a step back in to the shadows. I want to promote these people and their works…because they are truly cool as hell. I feel like I have nailed this. I find myself being patient to respond. Not in the sense that I am bored, because everyone has been awesome, but in the sense that I don’t “walk on” the guests to get to the next question. I’ve been most proud of that.

And I knew I was going to get better as a host. I knew, especially at first, I would be nervous about getting my questions just right, or sounding just perfect. But I’ve come to realize what I like most, when I play back the episodes, is I like when I mess up. I like when the guest and I chuckle over something we said which was unprompted, out of touch or just play wrong.

Nothing makes me happier than when I’m assuming something, ask the guest and then find out I was assuming wrong. It makes for a great conversation. And in the vain of Chevy Chase, a la Fletch, I can just take a step back when I’m wrong and snort out a well placed, “I thought so…” as I nod my head and laugh about just how wrong I was.

So I keep moving forward, working to get better but not being too hard on myself. I’m giving myself patience and freedom. I just need to do it and get out of my own way.

The feedback I’ve received has been really positive too. A lot of people say my voice is great to listen to (tell that to my wife and kids) and I’m starting to believe they are telling me the truth. I kinda do have a good voice for this, if nothing else I hope it’s warm and compassionate.

People have also really taken to the idea that I just want to talk to interesting people. Sure, sometimes the people have a book to plug, or an app to talk about or even some art, but we get to peek behind the curtain and really get to know what makes the tick. I’m more enriched with energy and inspiration every time I finish recording.

So where do I go from here. Well, I have another nine episodes to record (only 9 since I recorded #11 with the super-duper fabulous author couple planning the Rhewination)4. I will get those recorded and out and continue to drive the site into the hearts and minds of as many people as possible.

Speaking of “as many people as possible” the site is growing nicely. I’ve been impressed with the steady incline in numbers after every podcast. I certainly wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of all the guests who have come before as they tweet it, share it and converse about it all over the place, leaving a long tail of attention and clicks. That is cool.

What I’ve also been really excited about is that former guests continue to interact with me and promote the site and podcast even when it’s NOT about them anymore. That’s really cool. That’s something I see growing significantly as I double the number of guests in the next couple of months. I love how it feels so organic…both the growth (stats and analysis) and goodwill (lot’s of DM’s, PM’s, IM’s and iMessages with past guests continue to this day).

Mindsoak is becoming much more than what I imagined it was going to be. I imagined a decent interview show where we learn more about people from around the world. But it’s also becoming a connection hub for me to learn from everyone I come in to contact with and continue to experience their inspiration and positivity in my life on a daily basis. It’s almost like I should be paying them or something…to have all these mentors in my life just because I put a MP3 of them up? You can’t buy these kind of connections and friendships. And I hope I can keep sending them your way as well.

Wow. This is starting to sound like a rant. Yes. Yes it is. This is how I think, so this is how I write. It’s the first time I’ve really been able to write like this for a long time. The past couple of projects I was a part of were so restrictive for one reason or another. But now I can rant. And I love it. It’s who I am. And if you were sick of it you probably wouldn’t still be reading. 🙂

So whether you were a previous guest, a listener, a newcomer, or my mom, thanks for stopping by and reading this. If you like this, even a little bit, I guarantee you will like the podcast…the great folks I talk to are less ranty 5 (it’s my blog, I can make up words) and more intelligent.

Here’s to another 10 episodes and to another great 3 months!

If you’re interested in hearing a little 5 minute update I did on this same subject, take a listen to the audio version below. It’s unscripted but from the heart. 🙂

  1. Even though technically they are the 11th episode…but they are too great not to mention in this list! 

  2. My high school track, cross country and basketball coach…Mr. John Riggins! 

  3. In 1990-1994 that saying didn’t sound as gross as it does now… 

  4. See #rhewination on Twitter 

  5. From Wikipedia: “Ranty is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Wydminy, within Giżycko County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately 6 kilometres south of Wydminy, 22km south-east of Giżycko, and 103km east of the regional capital Olsztyn. Before 1945 the area was part of Germany. The village has a population of 200 and just as many geese.” Ha, ha…go read that last sentence again.