As I’ve said ad nauseam, Mindsoak is a project. An experiment. A way to spread my wings and scratch the curiosity itch. A way to learn and connect with fascinating people. A way to explore my limits. To find my comfort zone and expand into the unknown.
As Mindsoak approaches six months I see it as an unmitigated success. I’ve had fun doing it. I’ve done it consistently. I’ve learned. And I’ve met fantastic people, many who continue to be friends.
With Mindsoak, sometimes it can flow quite seamlessly…weeks go by and I’m able to pump out new podcasts and new collaborations effortlessly. Sometimes it doesn’t flow at all. But so it goes. Projects are for free time.
But as I started thinking about the second half of Mindsoak’s first year I wanted to reach a little higher. Or at least take my other hand and reach in another direction.
I’m a sucker for long-form content. A blog post that’s 2,000 plus words. An interview which takes me 20 minutes to read. A multiple episode podcast. I like consuming this way. Much like watching a movie and then immediately watching the behind the scenes extras…I always want to dive in a little more.
I find myself saving a ton of long-form articles to Instapaper and then getting up early on the weekends to drink some coffee and read through the articles I saved. The enjoyment of the written word.
The written word is one thing I believe is missing from Mindsoak. Interesting, engaging and entertaining blog posts. At first I shot down the idea. I don’t have time, unfortunately, to write much more than I already do. And I already talk about most the subjects I want to discuss during the podcast.
But then it hit me. I’ve met some really creative and inspiring people doing the podcast. Maybe they would be interested in sharing their writing. Maybe they would be interested in helping create a community of Mindsoak contributors who could share their work as a collective.
I reached out to those I thought may be interested. I was humbled by their response. They were ecstatic about the idea too.
Once they were on board I realized I needed to formulate an editorial process and think this through. For those who know me, I tend to impulsively lead with my mouth and leave it to my brain to come in and create some order.
What has transpired over the last several weeks is a pretty exciting addition to Mindsoak. A collective of contributors who are going to share their unique perspective in the Mindsoak forum surrounding a variety of topics.
As a blueprint I am starting with the following topics, which you may find recognizable if you listen to the podcast:
Psychology: Anxiety/Fear, Failure/Vulnerability, Learning/Education and Relationships.
Philosophy: Creativity, Kindness, Life/Personal, History/Goals and Wisdom/Advice.
Technology: Life Hacking and Gadgets/Apps.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me be clear, none of this is possible without the eight people who have signed on to be a part of this collective. They’re willing to share their time and talent to Mindsoak and for that I am indebted to them.
Since I’ve had almost all of them on the podcast at one time or another, I’ll save the introductions of each and simply link to their respective episode in case you would like to learn more about them.
So there you have it. The blueprint for what I believe to be Mindsoak 2.0. We’ll be releasing new posts Monday thru Thursday each week with podcasts to return and released on Fridays.
As always I’ll make sure to post all the releases on Twitter at @jonfilitti but if you want to make sure you don’t miss a post feel free to sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter below.
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. 🙂
Even though technically they are the 11th episode…but they are too great not to mention in this list! ↩
My high school track, cross country and basketball coach…Mr. John Riggins! ↩
In 1990-1994 that saying didn’t sound as gross as it does now… ↩
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. ↩
Last night I opened up a notebook I hadn’t opened in over a year. I have ton’s of notebooks, most unfinished/unused, filled with a variety of notes for projects, stories and ideas I’ve been working on. I’m starting a mind dump routine at night so I pulled out a half used Moleskine and began.
As I started flipping through the pages I was rewarded with all my ideas from the past. The good and the bad. But it was amazing to be reading myself from the past. As I was flipping through I found my initial notes about Mindsoak, when the idea came alive in my head. At the time I just jotted it down and moved on. I had too much on my plate at the time. But as soon as my plate cleared up and I felt rested enough to start another project, I found myself coming back to the idea of starting Mindsoak.
Anyway, here are my initial notes from June 23, 2014:
I find myself imaging where the author is when she is writing the article. What her mood is. What time of day she is writing. And what kind of coffee she is drinking.
I want to feel connected to the writer, more than just through their written words of an article or blog post. I want to hear her story. The stories of when they feel most alive. The stories of their creative space. Their greatest joys and their greatest challenges. We need to know what makes them human.
That’s what Mindsoak would be. The stories behind the writers.
So sit back, listen to their stories and let your mind soak.
I wish I could remember the author and article which led me down this path of thinking. Why did I want to learn more about her? Just because of her words? Did the article impact me that much? It must have, but I have no recollection. I obviously wanted to connect on some level with her as a human being. I wanted to see how her words fit in to the fabric that was her life.
Since I left the piece unedited and it was scribbled notes, it’s pretty funny to see how I changed from a singular author (she/her) to all potential authors (they/them). I guess Mindsoak wouldn’t be that interesting if it only revolved around one person. (Whoa…wait a minute. That might be fascinating as a branch of Mindsoak…to check in with the same person for a specific period of time to learn/enjoy/struggle with them on their journey. Hmmm….come here Moleskine….I need to write that down.)
I also love how I started with the idea of writers of articles. Again, it must have been someone fascinating I was reading. But now Mindsoak is simply anyone I find fascinating. From blogs, to articles, to Twitter, to my cousin’s friends I meet at his wedding, to someone down the street.
I also cringed at the “soaking of the mind” analogy. I chuckled at myself that I would use something so sappy. “Oh what a sap I was back then,” I thought. And then I realized I basically use the same sentiment on my About page. I’m sappy…what can I say?
The moral of the story is, I don’t know, I guess there isn’t one. Wait, yes there is. Journal. Like mad. And all you men out there (yes I’m being sexist) who are rolling their eyes about journaling…I’m not talking “Dear Diary”. I’m talking about migration of thought in to action. Just getting the idea down on paper keeps it brewing in your head. You work on it while not even focusing on it. Your subconscious starts to fill in the gaps.
So give it a try. And maybe you too can eventually make fun of your past self.
Bonus time. My first idea for a logo. I’m an unapologetic comic book geek, so everything starts with a word balloon:
And here we go…
Today is the day I launch the Mindsoak podcast to the world. I’m both excited and a little nervous. If you’ve ever thrown out anything creative in to the world (you have, trust me) you know it’s a little intimidating to say “Go!” In my case, to hit the big blue button which reads “Publish”.
I came up with the name Mindsoak a long, long time ago. It just hit me one day as a funny idea of our minds being able to soak and relax. Like a foot soak, but for your brain. I guess it works the other way too. I guess another goal I have for the podcast is that the listeners can soak up inspiring stories and new ideas from the guests I bring on. I know I am soaking up everything I can from them so far.
With any kind of show like this, I do know that it’s going to take time to develop and grow in to what it eventually becomes. I might have set out for one set of goals, only to realize, midstream, that there are better goals to go after. I know the first episode 20 will be far better than episode 1. It damn well better be.
And that’s not to say the guests will be better…this is all on me. The questions I ask, the way I conduct the flow of the discussion and even the way I record the introductions and mix the audio…that’s all on me. And I’m kinda really liking it.
Like the front page suggests, this is the Mindsoak Project. It’s an experiment. I love conversation with fascinating people. I love podcasting. I love having a project. But it is just that. A project. So I know I will fail, get better, fail and get better some more.
And that’s what excites me.
This update page will be used just for that…updates. Pretty unedited, quickly written updates on the site and the podcast. I purposefully did not call it a Blog, because you will get enough of ideas in the episodes. But from time to time I will need to update anyone who is interested (Hi Mom!) about all things related to Mindsoak.
So without further ado….I hope you enjoy.
P.S. If you think you’re interesting (you are) and think you’re story would make for a kick ass podcast, hit me up and let’s chat about it.