I had the privilege of being on one of my podcast guest’s own podcast this week. The tables were turned and instead of being the interviewer, Sarah Polaco, the host of Purposeful Strength, interviewed me. I’ve haven’t shied away from admitting I get nervous before I interview my guests, but I was even more nervous to be a guest! I’ve been on one other podcast, Running on Om, years ago to discuss my memoir PR: A Personal Record of Running from Anorexia. I was also nervous for that discussion, but I’ve managed to bury most of the memory of those nerves over the years.
I was primarily nervous about my ability to come across in a coherent and relatable manner. Sarah was organized and considerate enough to send me the planned questions ahead of time that I simply scanned instead of devising fully fleshed out answers. My blog has undoubtedly coerced me out of my sealed lips privacy, and helped me “speak,” through writing, openly about many of my struggles and emotions. For this reason, I’m starting to be more comfortable discussing personal and upsetting things, so I wasn’t overly stressed about the content we would be discussing, just the manner in which I’d be able to speak intelligently and fluidly.
The episode hasn’t been released yet, so any self-critique I’m able to do at this point of my “performance” is merely speculative as I try to recall the conversation we had while recording. I think all in all, I did a decent job actually answering the questions she asked me. I’ve been told on numerous occasions that my response to a written or verbal question addressed topics other than the intended direction of the question, such that I seemed to answer a different question than the one posed. It’s pretty commonplace that I misinterpret a question, so I credit myself with a “win” when the content of my responses aligns with the question’s objective. Fortunately, Sarah is a well-practiced podcast host and conversationalist. She not only put me at ease, but she asked clear, direct questions and offered helpful and supportive interjections and affirmations. It was fun talking to her and it was a pleasant surprise to not feel confused or overwhelmed by the back-and-forth discussion. I can imagine being good friends and getting along well in person if we lived near one another. We not only share careers in common (personal training) and are avid fitness enthusiasts (though her strength prowess puts me to shame!), but she just seems like a fun, friendly, up-for-anything type of person. It’s been a pleasure getting to know her a bit, even in the somewhat scripted and professional context of podcast conversations.
Overall, I’m really satisfied with how much I’ve been engaging in social activities lately, both in and outside of the podcast. I’ve been connecting more with people and opting to talk to others even when I don’t have to. I’m still overly critical of my podcasting fumbles and social awkwardness, but I’m trying to cut myself slack in the sense that while considering the whole picture, I’m significantly more courageous in reaching out and responding to other people, even establishing new contacts, and I think my social skills are rapidly improving, which is welcome positive reinforcement for my efforts. I’m somewhat afraid to listen to Sarah’s episode interviewing me for fear that I’ll sound like an idiot and feel embarrassed and inadequate. However, I’ll try to be lenient with my evaluation and be as minimally condemnatory as possible; just a matter of months ago, I would have never been daring enough to do any of this!