My Favorite Podcasts and Should I Start One?

I have found podcasts to be one of the single best resources for acquiring knowledge, entertainment, and news in industries I care about.  But Spencer, when do you find the time???  Quick life-hack moment – I listen to these during my morning commute and while I eat breakfast – but mostly in the car.  I’ve been able to consume hundreds of hours of content INSTEAD of listening to Katy Perry and Imagine Dragons on repeat on the radio.  Side note: I love Imagine Dragons stuff and I’ll admit I have a guilty pleasure for Katy Perry’s stuff.  But let’s face it, free public radio is the ancient past – podcasting is the present and the foreseeable future – and listening to bands on repeat isn’t getting me ahead in this world.

Ok, I’m not writing to convince you that podcasts rock, you can decide that for yourself.  I’m here to list out my favorite podcasts to date…

My Favorite Podcasts (in order):

  1. Entrepreneur on Fire by John Lee Dumas

    This podcast is my personal favorite because it is a key part of My Morning Routine.  Each day, nearly 900 episodes in a row, John Lee Dumas has put out quality, ~30min shows that focus on interviewing entrepreneurs – both big and small fish.  The format of the podcast is consistently the same, which I’ve grown to really enjoy, because I can analyze a wide range of answers across hundreds of different entrepreneur experiences.  He interviews real people and hones in on the journey of what it takes to grow your own business.  It’s not all rainbows and unicorns though, each episode there is a focus on the greatest obstacle that entrepreneur had to overcome, and the answers are always inspiring and eye-opening.  For someone like myself, who is aspiring to be in business for themselves, I’ve really grown to appreciate and value this content.

  2. The Tim Ferriss Show by Tim Ferriss

    During my senior year of undergraduate study at Georgia Tech, I read Tim’s The 4 Hour Workweek and was inspired at the possibility of owning and automating my own business so I could live the best version of life I could imagine.  Since then, Tim Ferriss has become a household name and published two other NY Times bestselling books.  His podcast interviews some of the most successful savants across all industries and has very in-depth, personal interviews with them.  The insights I’m gaining are tremendous and it’s incredibly interesting to learn about the lives of such high performers.  The episodes vary between short and long, depending on whether he does a long-form interview or an “in-between-isode.”

  3. Barbell Shrugged by the guys at Faction Strength and Conditioning

    I’ve actually had the pleasure of sitting in on the live recording of Episode 62 of their podcast – be warned – there was a good bit of drinking done because the filming was done at CrossFit Regionals 2013… That being said, these guys put out great content when it comes to lifting, endurance, mindset, and building strength.  It definitely fuels my inner-athlete and it’s worth a watch if you are into fitness, body building, or competing in athletic events.

  4. Adventures in Angular by the guys at DevChat.tv

    Since enrolling into The Iron Yard Academy‘s Front End Development program, the conversation of JavaScript and all things web application have been constantly on my mind.  Now being a novice programmer, I do my best at following along their conversations, but don’t always gather what it is their saying.  That being said, I figure the more I hear the words and the language being spoken, the quicker it can be learned.  Angular.JS is a JavaScript framework I’ve grown to enjoy working with and has some real power when it comes to building web applications.  Unlike some other programming podcasts out there, the guys on this show really do a good job of honing in on subjects, stay on topic, and do so in a way that is not super dry – that being said, it is programming talk.

  5. The Clark Howard Podcast by Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a bit of a hometown hero in Atlanta.  I grew up with my parents listening to him on AM750 WSB radio – in fact he might still be on their.  Clark has crossed over and made his content available in a digital format and continues to provide a ton of financial guidance and advice to the public.  As a young professional looking to get ahead, being careful with my money is always a consistent effort and I appreciate Clark’s conservative approaches to money management.


 

There you have it – my top 5 podcasts to date.  I imagine this will be a growing and ever-evolving list and will make sure to continue updating it as I find more and more value out there.  Additionally, I have this nagging gut feeling that I might be starting a podcast soon – I don’t know what topics it would cover – but the idea of creating and producing something is in my blood – I think I have what it takes, let me know if you agree and what you might want to hear!

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Oh Snap! That’s a Cold Shower!

My great grandmother, Genevieve, God rest her soul, lived to the age of 96.  She was widowed during World War II and raised her son Toby Maxwell, my grandfather, by herself and was a very mentally strong woman.  I remember distinctly a moment when she pulled me aside and asked me the question, “Spencer, do you know what my secret to long life is?”  I must have been 13 years old at the time and politely responded, “Of course!”  She gazed directly into my eyes, paused for a moment and built up my suspense, and calmly stated, “Cold showers.”

Quick aside… I am a millennial born, American-raised male who enjoys the comforts of our the first world as much as anyone – my smart phone, laptop, pillow top mattress, etc.  So the thought of deliberately taking an uncomfortable cold shower was nonsense and was cast away for over 10 years… until 2 weeks ago.  I was in my normal morning routine, listening to Entrepreneur on Fire episode #848, where Ben Greenfield shared how he was fired up about cold showers.  When he was asked the question, “Why do you take cold showers?” he listed off 6 or 7 different physiological and psychological benefits to cold showers and he ended his statement by saying, “and because it makes you tougher.”

benefits_of_a_cold_shower

Sure, cold shower physiological benefits are great, but what really resonated with my soul was the “it makes you tougher” part – and not this Macho Man, WWE image of toughness, but specifically “Mental Toughness.”  Being able to overcome and conquer the variety of troubles life throws at you is a learned skill, and my personal goal is that of stoicism.  Stoicism, by definition, is the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.  So in my path towards this goal – cold showers are being added to My Morning Routine.

My Cold Shower Approach:

So… I’m not all the way in on this yet, and don’t want to portray that I am.  My current approach is the first 50% of my shower is lukewarm (half hot, half cold) and then for the last 50%, I turn it to all cold.  I think this is a great start for the beginner looking to make a transition.  You can adapt it to be 90% lukewarm and finish the last 10 seconds of the shower all cold and get a similar effect.  Doing this is better than a cup of coffee in the morning, guaranteed.  I find I’m much more alert the rest of the morning and feel much more present in the moment.

The first time I turned to all cold, holy crap, I was screeching like a little girl, gasping for breath, body clinching, fighting the overwhelming sensations that were robbing me of all happy thoughts in the moment.  Now, after nearly 2 weeks of practice, I find myself accepting the coldness and almost welcoming it with much less body clinch.  You can do this, and it will get better.

Ok… so the panda represents me. The water represents the shower. And the panda’s facial expression represents my first time in a cold shower.

In time, I see myself fully committing to a 100% cold shower, but for now it’s still in the testing phase and I feel progress has been solid thus far.

Some extra inspiration:

One of my role models is Rich Froning – 4 time champion of the CrossFit Games, and he has an entertaining video of one of his workouts called “Mental Toughness.”  During “Mental Toughness”, he and a training buddy complete a workout, in the snow, that finishes with a swim in an icy cold pond – furthering demonstrating my point from above.

 

Positive Affirmations

I’ve added a new element to My Morning Routine – and it happens in the shower… Bow Chicka Bow Wow!

Actually it’s quite clean, it used to be that I’d blast my iPod classic 80gb with the 30 pin on the iHome original (remember those?) – typically to the sounds of Drake, Lil Wayne, and/or Shakira.

Cue up “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan

 

However, through listening to the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, one quality of highly successful people keeps showing its face… and they are known as Positive Affirmations.  You see fear and doubt plagues all of our lives in some respect, and positive affirmations can be used as a preventative, mental medication of sorts for overcoming these doubts and ASSURING yourself that you are a highly valuable and capable human being.  It is my belief, and the belief of many others, that this boost in self-confidence, early in the day, can have a dramatic, lasting, positive impact on the quality of your life and could give you the courage to take more risks you otherwise would be too doubtful of.  Basically I’m trying to level up and be more like Mega Man every day.


 

So! Here is a list of my current Positive Affirmations that I repeat to myself in the shower and you might find value in developing your own:

  • “You are loved by God.”
  • “You are bold and powerful beyond measure.”
  • “Today is a gift – give thanks.”
  • “You are love – share it with everyone.”
  • “You are resilient.”
  • “Overcoming fear and doubt is a daily practice that you’re becoming increasingly better at.”
  • “You can be an inspiration to others – will you be?”
  • “You are the present and your future is your creation.”
  • “Are you going to be excellent today?”

This is a working list – yet is serving me well for the current time.  You’ll notice there are also some questions added into the mix… The questions are there because everyday you have the power to choose who you are going to be – and asking the question allows yourself to give the answer you wish to give.

Do you have some Positive Affirmations or mantras that you live by?

please share!

My Morning Routine

Heard another great podcast today, courtesy of EntrepreneurOnFire, and it was a bit of an epiphany moment.  Specifically it is episode #589 with Hal Elrod, check it out if you’re looking for inspiration.  Hal is the author of The Miracle Morning, which I have not read, yet has already changed my life (I plan to read the book, so don’t be ugly).  During the podcast, he goes into the power of the morning routine and how it changed the course of his life when he was in his darkest place.  And his evidence is VALID.

Now as I reflect on the past couple months since my lay off, I can admit that my routine in the morning has been anything but productive and systematic.  Sleeping in, late starts, snooze button… I was not actively creating a great future for myself, I was stalling and dreading the hunt… then I got hungry.  I kickstarted my metamorphosis with the front end engineering course at The Iron Yard, which forced me into a daily and weekly schedule.  Everything happens for a reason and began to falling into place and this new schedule led me to find this particular realization that is…

SPENCER NEEDS A MORNING ROUTINE.

EVERYDAY – NO EXCEPTIONS.

not like I needed HIS approval…

Sounds simple, and you’re thinking duh! Spence, but the point is I wasn’t doing it AND had never really architected one that I loved and stuck to routinely.  So, I’m here to share my morning routine and I hope it inspires you to take action on creating a morning routine that’s personal to you and helps you towards the success you seek.

-side note: I’ve been adhering to this for the last 6 days and my routine has evolved.  I’ve added elements and taken some away – but the core framework and foundation has been laid – it’s ok to make alterations, in fact it’s encouraged.

-update (2/11/14): added positive affirmations

-update (2/18/14): added cold showers to the routine – testing its effectiveness

-update (2/26/14): cold showers are here to stay – really enjoying the positive effects 


 My Morning Routine [~1hr]:

  • Wake up at 6:30am – go pee.
  • If Dani is with me, hold her for 15 min.
  • Calm.com for 2-10 minutes
  • Brush teeth, floss, scrape tongue, down a 16oz glass of water.
  • Shower-time – 50% of shower is lukewarm and last 50% is cold (added 2/18)
  • Shave (if needed)
  • Put on underwear
  • Exercise (~5-7min)
    • 30 push ups into a 1 min downward dog
    • Stand up into 15 slow toe touches and hands high reaching
    • 30 air squats, slow at first – increasing speed
    • Deep lunge, hip flexor stretch (30 sec each leg)
  • Say my positive affirmations (added 2/11)
  • Get dressed and pack my daypack
  • Make bed
  • Downstairs to eat breakfast and listen to the EOF podcast
  • Out the door or starting activities by 7:30am

And that’s it!… For now.  I’ll leave you with my first thoughts every morning as that alarm goes off.

Preparing to Ignite

Yes my title is from my new favorite podcast, Entrepreneur On Fire.  I’ve always been a fan of listening to podcasts for gaining knowledge and have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so when my close college buddy Evan turned me onto to EOF, I was sold instantly.  Evan also turned me onto his own personal blog and story – 1k Day Change.  Exactly 100 days ago, Evan asked himself, “I wonder how many days until I turn 30?”  When he googled it, he found that it was EXACTLY 1,000 days away – and it changed his entire world.  He immediately took a snapshot selfie in his bathroom mirror and set off on his 1k Day Change Adventure to becoming a brew master.  Over the last 100 days, he has quit his unfulfilling day job as an electrical engineer, microbrewed and bottled hundreds of holiday beers, sold those beers and donated the proceeds to charity, enrolled in a beer brewing academy in Chicago, and is currently taking a multi-month trip to China before he starts that academy.

This is not my friend Evan… but he will be the token white guy in China.

So I’m joining his 1 man army because his cause is inspiring.  I am making a small change to his 1,000 day change concept and making it my own.  On August 3, 2018 – I turn 30 years old – that is exactly 1,282 days away from today.

This is the actual Evan, on day 1 of 1,000!

Currently, I am in coding school learning Front End Engineering, web & app development, and JavaScript.  I have an undergraduate business management degree from Georgia Tech and have held 3 different positions since graduating in May 2010.   I’m totally on fire about becoming an entrepreneur and learning more about business, web development, creating functional applications that help people and businesses become successful.  That’s all for now, class is about to start.  Here is a snapshot of me on day 1 of 1,282 until I’m 30.

Day1-1282
and dis is ME!