I’m deep in the creative process, making a podcast series called Feet in the Ground. You’ll hear more about it in future posts.
This is a collaborative project. Collaboration is always tricky for me. There’s a reason I’m single and work for myself.
I’m collaborating this time partly because I want to and partly because I have to.
On the want to side, I was inspired to begin the podcasts when I heard fellow coach Maggie DiStasi present at a coaching event. Maggie is an expert in self reflection. Her friends say that she has a PhD in herself. I’ve always thought self reflection is the key to personal and professional growth, but few of us know how to do it really well. Maggie is so articulate about the process, I was drawn to engage her in ongoing conversation. Clients in the broadcast business had asked me just the week before if I’d ever considered radio. Their question and my meeting with Maggie came together and the idea for the podcast was hatched.
On the have to side, I had no idea how to make a podcast. I just knew that personal growth is the result of daily practice, and mobile devices would be a convenient means to deliver on the spot support. Mobile isn’t the best medium for large amounts of text. Video holds attention for a minute or two. I like audio because listening through headphones creates an intimate space. I know from coaching on the telephone for years, that this kind of “coach in your ear” intimacy is ideally suited for the work of personal reflection.
Since I didn’t know anybody, I relied on friends who put me in touch with Victoria Fenner. She’s a sound artist and acoustic ecologist with a background in radio, now turned entrepreneur. Victoria said she would record and produce the podcast and get it up on various online podcast channels. More than this she promised that she would teach me the process step by step, so I build skill capacity as we go.
What I’ve loved about collaborating: the long conversations with Maggie, teasing out the themes and scripts for the episodes, the sound of our voices playing off each other, the fun of setting up a recording studio with equipment, technicians etc. in Maggie’s living room, getting into a groove during the long day of recording, sharing the excitement when we listened to the first cut, and the sense of pride as the project came together.
What has been tough for me about collaborating: defining the roles of the various collaborators, understanding what each of us wanted and needed. My vision for the project evolved as the work progressed, and Maggie also got clearer about her role. For me the podcasts moved from a side project to something central to the building of the LifeScapers brand. For Maggie it began as a lark, an internal “yes” to my invitation. My first impulse was so say lets be 50/50 partners. But through discussion I found the strength to claim the podcast as a LifeScapers product with Maggie as co-host and companion in adventure.
What’s also been tough is the editing process. Because we wanted to create something with a signature sound and artistic sensibility, we needed to rely on Victoria to be not just technician but composer. That put a lot of responsibility on her. She had to really internalize the goal and then try to translate our vision into sound. We shared the task of editing, and though as director I had final cut, I had to rely on Victoria to make the edits, compose the background tracks and put the whole thing together. This process stretched our communication skills to the max as you might imagine, given that sound is the most ephemeral of media.
I have to say I love what we’ve come up with. My sons are sick of hearing me play it over and over again. Sign up for the newsletter on the home page of this site if you want to be informed when it comes out.
Three pieces of wisdom for anyone embarking on such a project.
1. Don’t try to do it alone.
2. If you want to make art, hire an artist.
3. Artistic collaboration has its share of sturm und drang.
Yours with creativity and imagination,
p.s. I think that my limited tolerance for sturm and drang is the biggest barrier to my personal and professional success. I am learning to increase this capacity, so that I can move through the natural stress that is part of being in relationship, to experience the joy and fulfillment that lies on the other side.