What is Dead May Never Die
Updated: Jun 13, 2020
Last month, seemingly out of the blue, I made an announcement on the official Taste For Tenacity (“TFT”) Instagram page.
I decided to end the podcast.
A few different people reached out (thank y’all so much, it truly meant the world to me) – they wondered what the post meant, what the hell was happening, and whether I was ok. After a solid run and some substantial growth, it took many by surprise.
Although the actual decision was made in about a week, the underlying feelings that got me there had been creeping up over a few months.
I’ll sound like an athlete announcing my retirement, but I want to capture the reasons behind the decision while they’re still fresh in my mind.
The most disappointing reason I ended the show was simple – my heart wasn’t in it anymore.
By far, this has been the toughest pill to swallow. It had been 5 years since I’d made anything of my own, and the podcast had become my baby. I built TFT from scratch, pouring my time, energy, and love into it. Hours upon hours were spent editing (thankfully I outsourced this eventually), contacting guests, interviewing, and putting the shows out into the universe.
The show was a true labor of love.
In the month before I pulled the plug, I noticed a shift in my attitude toward the show. Reaching out to potential guests wasn’t an exciting challenge anymore. Making and scheduling posts felt like a burden rather than a chance to express something I found interesting. I was no longer spending time on a passion project – I was spending time on a job.
Looking back, I can pinpoint the moment I screwed up.
In early October, I decided to monetize the podcast. At the time, I thought it wouldn’t change anything about how I built the show. I was expecting it to simply leverage what I was already doing.
In hindsight, that was a miscalculation.
With the decision to monetize, my focus became to scale the podcast as quickly as possible. In a matter of weeks, I was no longer seeing the show as the passion project I’d create it to be. Everything was focused on growing quickly enough to justify sponsorships. I spent most of my time looking at everything except the content I loved creating.
This was painful in the moment, it taught me something important: I’m not an operator. I’ll need to partner with someone whose specialty is growing and can complement my love for creating good shit.
I achieved my goal.
When I launched the show, I was in a tumultuous place. I was having second thoughts about my post-grad plans, couldn’t study for the CPA exam, was in a place of professional meh, and knew that accounting wouldn’t be the right path forward for me. On top of my professional woes, my college career was drawing to a close. This, of course, poured gas on the “I picked the wrong field to study” fire.
Enter Taste For Tenacity. The show was built on three pillar ideas: I’m lost, other people are lost, and I’m willing to ask people dumb questions.
Sounds to me like the perfect ingredients for an interview show, wouldn’t you say?
My goal for the show was simple: help other plot out their lives while I do the same.
Between 15 interviews and almost dying on top of a mountain, I decided accounting was not for me. I pulled the plug on my post-grad plans and chose to go the startup route, instead.
Once I was accepted into the fellowship, it was mission accomplished.
I had found professional inspiration.
Once I found that inspiration, there was no concrete reason to keep the podcast going. At that point, I could have shut the show down and chalked it up as a win.
Something kept me from ending it, though. Somewhere along the way, I unearthed a passion that I thought I had lost.
My whole life, I’ve loved performing. Whether it was me and my cousins doing summer concerts and dancing to Uncle Kracker’s Follow Me as kids (on “swim through your veins like a fish in the sea” we made this little swimming fish with our hands; it was adorable) or my first role as the foreman of the crayon box in our fourth grade musical (the moment my ego exploded), nothing has brought me joy quite like being on stage. Hell, for eight years, from the fifth grade through the end of high school, I did theatre year-round. I rocked the makeup, knew the lines – the whole nine.
As I started in college, I shut that part of myself down. Thinking I had to “grow up,” I buried my performer in favor of studying accounting and finance (talk about a 180!). College was four, long years of shoveling dirt to cover the me I could have been.
Cut to me launching the podcast. For the first time in a long time, I was creating something new. My spare time wasn’t spent pouring over spreadsheets and business textbooks; it was channeled into learning about cool people and the cool things they’ve done.
In November of last year, things changed. After finding my professional path forward, the podcast became something I did solely out of enjoyment. People would ask, “What do you do for fun?” and my answer was, “I host a podcast.”
Throughout November and into December, I started to get an itch I hadn’t had in a long time – an itch that the podcast couldn’t scratch. I wanted to create something bigger.
Slowly but surely, the ground I had so diligently covered that performer with began to shift. Dreams of being on stage began to creep back. Those dreams took hold, and soon the podcast felt like more of a duty than a passion.
The show was keeping me from exploring what I wanted to do next. Sure, I could have kept the podcast running while working and trying to find something new to do. If it was only that desire to do more, maybe I would have kept the podcast alive.
But it wasn’t.
My heart wasn’t in it, I’d reached my goal for the show, and I wanted to do something more.
Truth be told, that last reason is the most exciting to me.
I want to do more.