Watch the video for nuggets of podcasting wisdom. At the Guinness world record-breaking Podfest Global Expo event we ran an afternoon conference for and by Fitness and Self-Improvement Content Creators featuring Gabby Reece "The Gabby Reece Show," Mark Divine "Unbeatable Mind," Matt B. Davis "Obstacle Racing Media," Anders Varner "Barbell Shrugged, Dr. Lara Pence "Spartan Mind" and "Curious Minds Podcast," and moderated by Marion Abrams producer of "Spartan Up Podcast" and founder of Madmotion.
Gems of wisdom from the guests, including a quick intro by Chris Krimitsos founder of Podfest Global Expo.
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Here's the full text:
Chris Krimitsos 0:00
What's cool is all of us are focused on something positive, helping each other. While people are basically going through different phases of quarantine globally, how are you feeling? basically putting this together Marian?
Marion Abrams 0:18
I feel grateful. I mean, I just forgot how smart and inspiring the group of friends that I have collected since I started podcasting. And since we started inviting other podcasters into the circle has been and why I I just love listening to them. And I think expanding beyond the fitness space and being part of the pod fest global Expo has been a really great opportunity. So I thank you, Chris for for setting this up.
Dr. Lara Pence 0:46
One of the phrases that I like to use and probably this will come as no surprise to individ any individual that's ever been in therapy is I like to use the phrase. So what I'm hearing you say is and what that allows is for the, for the guests to feel really heard to feel like you're there with them, not just that you're worried about your next question. And when the guest trusts you, because they know that you're listening, they're more willing to go there with you. And so and so what that can do then is not only it helps build trust and rapport with your guests, but it also then allows them to go that one step further, right.
Gabby Reece 1:31
I realized that there was a part of me that was dreading doing a podcast on my own. If I can be really honest, I thought, well, I could probably do 10 and then I probably be boring and I don't know and this is like 25 years into it. So the other point that I want to share with you is, is this idea of really trusting yourself, which is hard to do. So I will do an interview last week or next week, and before the interview, I will always think, okay, I've done my homework, which is obviously really important. And I hope it goes, Okay. And then when they leave, I always think I hope that I hope that we had a good show and that that I remember also all the things that I should have asked.
So you're always going to feel that way. And I want to remind you that whatever conversation needed to be had at that moment, on that day was the one that you were supposed to have.
Matt B. Davis 2:27
It's gonna come out pretty clearly if you care about what you do. Early on, in the process of me doing this show... I would have people say, you know, we really like what you're doing because you actually care about the sport. You're not just reporting on it. And I thought, well, how is there any other way to do it? I mean, to me that was like, why would I be here, like, I guess to try to make a book, which there wasn't much books to be grabbed, but to me, it just, it just made sense to do that.
Anders Varner 2:58
My attention to fitness has to be delivered to the people that I'm talking to, in a manner that resembles my life and the thing that I'm learning about because I want them to go on the journey with me, I want them to feel like they're in the room every single time we turn on the microphones, and I talk about the struggles that I, as a fitness professional have turned into music on and finding 45 minutes in my day to work out. I don't know, I never thought that there would be a day that fitness would be hard, but I get it now. And that is the most authentic conversation. That's where all of my attention is when I think about fitness. And the next piece, you could call me as woo is woo woo as you would like. But every time you turn the microphone on, I want you to think about how much you love somebody that is willing to take time out of their day and listen to you on their commute to work.
Mark Divine 3:57
So if you're in an interview, or you're in any any type of scenario where you're like, Oh shit, you know, this is gametime and you're uncomfortable because it's gonna be uncomfortable. Then you come back to that tactical breathing and just kind of like, pause for a moment. reconnect with the breath and and with your nostrils with your nose, mouth close, and your mind soft and think about your mind like gripping, gripping, gripping.
And then inhale, just releasing, no need to think no need to do it, just notice what happens. And then with your eyes, instead of looking looking looking, release, go soft, peripheral vision. So this is profound because when you release the grip of your your thinking mind, and then you soften your gaze, and you breathe deeply through your nose and suddenly what happens is you your mind, your conscious expands out into what we call context. And guess what, right then and there, all that fear and anxiety goes away. And then while you're in this interview, you try to maintain that kind of relaxed awareness so that you're accessing kind of right and left brain synchronicity, right so you, you have the pattern recognition, the spontaneity to respond in a way that's not going to be as controlled or fear based. Or like I have to remember what I studied or you know this net
8 years ago the small town of Pittsfield was struck hard by the remnants of Hurricane Irene. In a town of fewer than 500 people more than 10 homes were completely destroyed. The town, with little official infrastructure, was completely cut off from the outside world. Pittsfield did not have it's own police force, ambulance, hospital or school. What it had was strong resilient community.
Our house was among those hit hard, but still in many ways it was a glorious time. Days filled with sunshine and community. The roads were closed so everyone walked, the pace slowed down and everyone was looking for ways to help their neighbors.
That first Sunday when the storm hit was frightening, we saw the river rise higher than we'd ever seen it rise. Friends had to be rescued by volunteer fire fighters and neighbors just minutes before their house collapsed, my husband was stuck for the night in the car in the driveway. Unable to get back to our house as it was slammed by 8 feet of raging water, and unable to cross the bridge from our road into town. Meanwhile I had taken our two young kids and my mother to the Swiss Farm Inn for refuge.
By 7am the first morning the town gathered at the town hall to start coming up with a plan. Already neighbors were feeding each other, taking each other in, and sorting through debris for prized possessions. Soon after families with heavy machinery started building roads, the two general stores in town set up a massive BBQ on the town green with the food from their quickly thawing freezers, medical facilities were set up in the library, and an outdoor school was set up on the green.
I did what I knew how to do. I started to capture the story. It was awkward at first. I wanted to be part of the story, part of the effort to rebuild, but eventually I realized this was my best way to contribute.
The film aired on PBS 4 or 5 times, now I'd like to get the word out - community resilience comes from strong community bonds. Here is the complete documentary.
The Spartan VP of content and I were talking (by talking I mean we exchanged abbreviated text messages.) We noted that teens, and parents of teens, seem to be invisible in the media right now. Here's the letter I wrote for publication on the Spartan site. ( Spartan published the article 4/23)
Teens and moms, dads and mentors of teens - YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE! In fact you may be the world’s most powerful resource. And here’s the question - how do we empower the vision, energy and innovation of our teens? I'm not going to give advice because I'm pretty sure I'm doing it wrong, but here's what being a parent of a teen in “captivity” has been like for me.
My kids have lived on a steady diet of the Spartan ethos since early childhood, even if we didn't call it that then. In our tiny Vermont town, our neighbors were the DeSenas. Even then Joe was leading pre-schoolers in jumping jacks and push-ups at birthday parties.
Around 2007 we started shooting videos for what would become Spartan, and as soon as the kids could manage they started tagging along as my assistants.
“These circumstances reveal the pretenders & reveal us to ourselves." ~Bruce Babashan on Spartan Up
Fast forward to today. My husband and I find ourselves in isolation with two teen boys. Teens who seem invisible to the media these days. In addition to the uncertainty we all feel in the face of a pandemic, they are experiencing the flip-flop of hormones, eddies of energy, the usual stresses of life, and a deep yearning for both the social interaction and structure that school and sports provide. They don't complain, they know there are a lot of people who have things a whole lot worse than us. Sometimes I wish they knew it was Ok to admit that this is hard, at the same time I admire their fortitude.
“Ultimate success is how I felt about myself in those quiet moments when no one is around” ~ Tom Bilyeu on Spartan Up Podcast
When school closed and track practice shut down the boys started running every day. I think today is day 37. I’m convinced the time alone, the outlet for energy, and the fresh air are essential for all of our mental health.
On school days we insist they get up and make their beds at a set time, other than that and a few chores, they manage their own school schedules and responsibilities. My 8th grader is usually finished with school in a few hours, then he's left to fill his days without much direction. He used to tell me he was lonely, he doesn't anymore.
My high school junior feels the stress of adapting to virtual school. I regret all the times I told him junior spring was the one time he needed to worry about grades. He spends a lot of time in his room.
There are so many resources for activities with young kids, I haven't seen anything for parents of teens. It's a time when they should be spreading their wings, becoming independent - how do you guide them through that when they are stuck at home with mom and dad for company? It’s not the natural state for a teen. A teen is a doer by nature. An inventor. An explorer.
We try to model resilience. The moments we spend together, without the separation of headphones and devices, come into crisp focus. The long facetime calls with their grandmother. The unconditional love of our dog Trooper. Watching them learn to cook dinner for the family. Those are bright lights.
We're all learning how to live together and learning together how to live. What I know I’m doing right is letting them know I love them, focusing on the positive, and continuing to adapt and learn as we walk into the future. What I need to do better - help them find their purpose.
Teens, what can we do to help you live - body, mind and spirit - during a pandemic? Moms, Dads, mentors - how are you helping shepherd this essential resource for our future?
"If I’m not failing, then I’m not reaching high enough…." ~Kevin Flike on Spartan Up Podcast
6 days on Vermont's Long Trail, the "log" is just a list of distances and mishaps, but here's what it meant to me:
It was hard, but there were only a few moments where hard escalated to frustrating. I loved the feeling of climbing, drenched in sweat, heavy pack on my back, pushing up the mountain and covering ground. Hard yes, but gloriously so.
I loved living outdoors. Being outdoors 24 hours a day. Cooking, eating, working, resting, sleeping outdoors. I loved the mornings, waking up to the sun and coffee with the view the sound and the smell of the mountains.
I loved most of all the undistracted time with my sons. God, I'm proud of them! I loved the fits of uncontrolled giggling at slug handholds, and "toilet issues," and our lack of musical ability. I loved our call and response versions of "Winnie the Pooh," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "If I Had a Hammer" along with the "Rocky" theme. We were desperate enough to sing "My Country Tis of Thee" but drew the line at "the Alphabet Song" and "Happy Birthday." We studied the way of the slug (slimy but sticky) and harnessed our inner "Warrior Bear Spirit - Winnie the Pooh." They told me a lot about things they are more interested in than I am (Warhammer, D&D, remote control planes) but I had time to listen and I loved it!
I loved the pride we felt each time we reached a peak, and each time one of them took the lead when one or the other would have a surge of energy and propel us forward.
Even the very hard night when we were only "pretty sure" we'd make it to the shelter before dark, when we were all exhausted and the trail markings seemed sparse in the swampy dark section of the woods, when their spirits and energy were at their lowest I loved watching them keep moving, keep making good decisions, looking for blazes, measuring time and distance, weighing options and finally arriving. I love the reminder that hard times will happen, but they can be overcome and they do pass.
I loved the beauty and variety of terrain. The stunning views, mossy emerald walkways, dense forest, rocky climbs, dirt paths, swampy dark woods, ladders, and twisted trees. So many times we stopped to admire, observe and photograph. I loved the bird songs cutting through the woods or sparking on the rays of sunshine. I loved the fresh green smells.
I'm home now, I slept better in my own bed and with the rain falling outside I'm grateful for the roof over my head. But a part of me misses that feeling. Misses living outside. Misses the simplicity. I am SO grateful for the time with my sons without distraction I hope they feel a sense of strength, power, self-reliance, and pride.
MORE BLOG POSTS
The "parade" is small. This year no band, just a small color guard, kids in red white and blue on their bikes, and a good turnout of neighbors. Every year the historical society makes sure that the grave of each veteran is decorated with a flag and a poppy. Monday morning the town gathers on the green and walks the circle to lay a wreath on the monument. Next the neighbors fall in behind the color guard and bikes and file into the cemetery. Tributes are read, taps played, and that's it. A perfect thoughtful tribute. Simple. Straightforward. Today we honor those who sacrificed for us. Today we remember the importance of freedom and democracy and gratitude.
No marketing agenda, no client, no strategy. I shot these photos as a way to enjoy the beauty of the river, to watch closely, to participate, and to reignite the creative spark.
These 6 photos were shot in one morning and capture the unselfconsciousness of a dog exploring his environment, and imitate it with a visual exploration of the constantly changing landscape of the river in winter.
I love these photos because they show utterly normal people fully engaged. Trying their best to understand the issues and make decisions.
Call me an optimist, but democracy might still be alive and well. In our small town (just over 300 registered voters) about 70 of them showed up to spend the morning together.
It wasn't because they like each other's company - some do, some don't.
It's because they believe it's important to show up at Town Meeting. It's a roomful of neighbors taking time to go through the issues facing their town. This year the most contentious was the the fire truck. Do we replace the pumper truck - a 1960 truck with a ‘68 milk tank on the back. It would mean a cost of $200,000. That may not seem like much until you realize the cost will be divided between such a small tax base. It's an important decision, and right or wrong it's discussed and decided by a vote. Democracy.
How do you tell a story of struggle and triumph? How do you show how truly and astonishingly difficult an endeavor is ... and how do you do that in a way that expresses the power and triumph experienced in overcoming that challenge? We used to depend on the narrative arc of a movie or a book, but we no longer tell or consume stories in a linear fashion. Today each image needs to stand on its own, and at the same time be part of a narrative expressed via multiple channels, sometimes simultaneously.
This weekend I photographed a 60 hour endurance event called the Spartan Agoge. Here are some of my favorite photos from the weekend. Ones that I hope show the strength, joy, suffering and transcendent determination the participants experienced.
The Peak Mountain Bike race has taken a variety of forms since its inception. From the 666 to the "Gnarly Adventure." In 2017 the race became a Leadville Qualifier, and with that it was time to revamp it's image. For 2017 we came up with a new name "Peak Woodsplitter." That inspired names for the rest of the Peak series which now contains the Peak Woodsplitter, Peak Snowdevil Winter Ultra/ Snowshoe Race, and the ultimate race the Peak Bloodroot Ultra. Along with the new names we designed a series of "stamp" based logo treatments, social and email campaigns.
The idea was to keep a reference to the Peak history with the classic peak mountain element, while embracing a gritty homegrown feel that the races have as compared to their big brother Spartan Races.
One of the best ways to get attention, engagement, and show off the Green Mountain Trails where the race is held is with a series of videos distributed via social media and email.
In 1992 I moved to a town of about 500 people, nestled in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains. In the preceding few years I had moved a lot — Boston, New York City, Chicago, Aspen, Rockport, Maine — I thought I’d only be here for a a season. I was always up for the next challenge and that year I decided staying in the same place would be my challenge. 25 years later I’m still here. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. Some thrive, most can’t hack it. The economy is tough, there aren’t enough people to support most businesses, everything’s closed by 8, it’s a 30 minute drive to the grocery store; and yet I stay.
Life in a small town teaches you surprising lessons: tolerance, humility, self reliance, and to be yourself.
This comes as a surprise to most people. Small towns look pretty homogeneous from the outside. And in many ways they are. But when I lived in big culturally diverse cities like New York and Boston, I chose who I surrounded myself with. I spent almost all of my time with people that shared my interests and thought like me.
When I first moved here I used to joke “I only have 7 friends, and I don’t even like any of them.” What did I mean? I meant that in the outside world I wouldn’t have chosen any of those people to hang out with.
In a small town you become friends with the people around you, even if they’re different from you. That opens your eyes. And then there are the people you don’t like. You may not like them, but you nod good morning when they hold the door for you, and you thank them the first time they pull your car out of a ditch, or find your runaway dog, and you come to see their humanity.
You may feel superior, but you’re not. A small town will teach you that.
I remember the time we called the police and they told us there had been a big crash on the highway and the State Troopers wouldn’t be able to come for a few hours. That was a wake up call. But it’s more than that. It’s a culture of doing for yourself and your neighbors, not waiting for the proper authorities.
I’ve written a lot about our town’s experience in Hurricane Irene (www.floodbound.com,) during that storm 10 homes in a town of 500 people were destroyed and the town was completely cut off from the outside world. The height of the storm found neighbors cutting and clearing downed trees to try to save the bridge, and others cooking and setting up hot food to support them. It wasn’t anyone’s job, it was just something that needed to be done. The town had no school, police or hospital but had acting sheriffs, a school on the green, and a medical center in our one room library staffed by doctors, nurses, PAs and even ski patrollers.
The power company said it would be weeks before they reached us, what they didn’t know was that we would reach them. Our residents stepped up and started fixing roads.
It’s a simple concept. If you see something that needs to be done, and you have the ability, you do it.
In bigger towns I had my work self, my home self, my school self, and probably some others. Remember the Seinfeld episode where “worlds collide?” In a small town there is only room for one version of you. There’s no use pretending. It’s freeing. If they like you, they like you. You as you are. They’ve already seen your mistakes.
Will I stay here another 25 years? I don’t know, it might be time for another change. But whatever I decide, this place has made and indelible imprint on me for the better.
**originally published in Medium**
This blog is a place I share some of the things I think about, the photos I take, and the videos I make. They are about life, family, work, content strategy, content creation and podcasting.