It’s been a while since I shared a journal update on the podcast project. There are a number of issues in motion that I am happy to share with you.

I am learning to be braver. I am learning to have more self-confidence. I find that when I get out of my comfort zone and take risks, good things often happen. This was evident in my Poway Chabad podcast that I posted on May 2. Besides reflecting and reporting on my observations of the Poway community after the terrible event, I took a risk and spoke out on the issue of identity politics contributing to the shooting and some of the reactions from my fellow Powegians. This ignited very good discussion in local Poway Facebook groups which in turn has led to two people contacting me to request a booking on the podcast. Terrific. I am very optimistic that my next two guests will have a good perspective to share. I have often commented that I want my podcast to serve as a community forum where we can have civil, candid and respectful conversation on big ideas that are often complex, difficult and emotional. Discussion, specifically the listening part, is how we can gain empathy, understand and grow.

I recently ran a paid Facebook campaign to try to grow my audience and I have been very pleased with the results. It is remarkable how ads can be carefully targeted to specific communities based on key areas of interest. Our recent 10 day campaign has more than doubled our likes and followers on our John Riley Project Facebook page. I am very encouraged and plan to experiment further with Facebook advertising (and YouTube advertising) to build awareness for the podcast and grow the audience. The goal is to get to 1000 likes by the end of the calendar year. We are currently at 348.

I have also been continuing a social media campaign posting a quote that I strongly support in categories that I enjoy discussing on the podcast. This has been a fun campaign trying to further broaden the audience and we are seeing steady organic growth. I built a schedule to purposely do certain categories of content on specific days (i.e. Mondays are motivational, Wednesdays are economics, Saturdays are sports, etc.). I built a schedule for a daily post and I schedule these through a tool called HootSuite which lets me post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. I have built out a schedule of automated posts for May and need to get started on my June plan. In June we are going to try to take it one step further and include a sprinkling of 60 second or less videos by me on various topics. Something short, quick, fun and informative.

We updated our website with a new theme, new photography and a better explanation of what we are trying to accomplish. If you are reading this journal update, then you are already on the new website. 🙂

I do often struggle getting organized about topics to discuss on the podcast. All sorts of ideas come to me and I can often find myself paralyzed as I analyze each topic. I really want to capitalize on current events and then reflect on them with my own point of view and aligned with our greater purpose of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I just need to be braver. I need to step up to the microphone and continue speaking up and speaking out. I need to follow Marian Kim-Phelps’ advice and be an “upstander”. Sometimes I can be my own worse enemy though as I create my own roadblocks.

But I persevere. I keep pushing. But I need to be even braver.

It’s difficult “putting yourself out there”. Doing so invites all sorts of criticism which can lead to self-doubt and anxiety. But pushing my way through this is a self-improvement strategy for myself.

I commented from the start that I am doing this podcast for myself. Overcoming fear is one of many personal growth objectives. I am making progress.