In the embers of last year’s summer, I started a new podcast.
Unlike my first podcast series, Tickets, it was bitesize, one-way, and a little oblique and esoteric.
I called this new podcast series The Tension. Although the idea ostensibly came about from my work with others, it was just as much the summation of conversations with myself.
The Tension is the resistance, the trade-offs, the contradictions in the work we do.
The Tension could be deciding how to best Fit In or Stand Out; figuring out when it’s time to Create or time to Capture; or how to go from Employee to Entrepreneur, and maybe back again.
The Tension is there. The Tension is everywhere.
I produced around 20 episodes, all sub 5-minutes in length. Most featured a quirky soundbite or sample from pop culture that I liked: from my local Astor Place barbershop, to TV & film inspirations including The Wire, The Prestige, and Heat.
The Tension was a creative labour of love, particularly as I greatly underestimated the amount of work needed to get an episode done and published – and not just on grabbing soundbites from vintage Al Pacino movies: despite perhaps sounding like freestyle riffs, I had to first carefully craft each of my own words and sentences in writing to be able to get the message across in audio form. And they almost never got recorded in one take.
Combining the workload with the metrics (about 25% of the listenership of the Ticket podcast), I kept my commitment to keep shipping until Thanksgiving but could go no further.
The podcast went on pause. The Tension itself won out.
And while episodes stopped showing up, the tension itself didn’t. In coaching conversations, workshops, catchup drinks with friends – there was the tension.
The Tension is part of normal life.
But now, life isn’t normal. And we find ourselves in more tension than ever.
Another little podcast may not relieve the tension, but perhaps it can shine a little bit of light on recognising it, and even finding ways to harness it to keep things moving forwards.
Part of me doesn’t want to go there again; it feels too challenging to get the work out there, to avoid it being cloying or trite. It pulls me away from making money, from doing whatever the real work is.
And what if no one cares? They have far more important things to focus on, and if no one cares then what’s the point?
Then again, I can take my own advice. I can heed my own podcast.
That’s exactly the reason to do it. No one cares means there’s space to try, and keep trying. Maybe, eventually, someone will care. Maybe it’ll make just the tiniest difference – to help one person see something they didn’t see before. Maybe, maybe not. We don’t know. There’s only one way to find out.
Or as the late, great Andrew Weatherall once said; ‘fail we may, sail we must’.
That’s the tension.
It’s time to set sail.
Look out for some new episodes landing very soon.