Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has been mostly debunked (1). However, while current scholars disagree with the psychologist’s proposed path to self-actualization, the concept of being one’s ‘best self’ is still relevant.
Dr. William Charles Compton’s thesis in the early 1980s also sheds light on self-actualization (2). Compton’s research found the length of time an individual practiced meditation was a significant component of self-actualization. His research and others suggest that a reliable path to being one’s best self is a journey focused inward.
This is true when striving to reach the zenith in podcasting. Unfortunately, many podcasters fixate on matters that do not lead them to actualize their best self when producing their show. Like Maslow, they look to external factors for improvement, which serves as a distraction.
Podcasters eagerly anticipate new gadgets, apps, and work-flow tools that assist the production of their show. There currently is a lot of speculation and discussion about a new audio editing app that will remove all mouth noises, umms and long pauses with one click. Sure, that’s an example of something that will make the production of a show easier, but it will not necessarily make for the best podcast possible.
Podcasters spend a lot of time and money at networking events. Conference season is here and networking is important, but while having an ever-expanding sphere of influence in the podcasting space may make promoting your show easier, it will not necessarily make it better.
Podcasters obsess about their download numbers and stats. Many pay extra money for details on when, where and how episodes are downloaded. While this information can guide a particular call to action or help tailor content for a specific location, it will not necessarily make for the best podcast possible.
Where should we focus?
Much like how someone who is practiced in meditation is likely to be self-actualized, a podcaster focused on their internal processes will produce their best show possible. There are prompts that can guide an individual to an inner journey. Rather than asking, ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ podcasters should ask themselves:
- What do my listeners want from me?
- What can I uniquely provide?
- What is the best way to deliver my work?
These questions could be used to begin a podcaster’s inner journey, but should also be used consistently when selecting episode topics, writing scripts or show notes and booking guests.
The journey inward using these questions as prompts can help the podcaster discover how to make their best work. When using this method, the content creator addresses the motivation for their actions to achieve their goals rather than being distracted by the newest app or mingling at the next meet-up or even waiting for a hosting server to update. Implement this process now and the good news is it becomes easier over time. This intentional method of podcasting is a guaranteed path to a self-actualized — and higher quality — show.
‘(1) Self-Actualization Myths: What Did Maslow Really Say?’ William Charles Compton
‘(2) A Relationship between Self Actualization and the Practice of Zen Meditation,’ William Charles Compton