Phantom Obstacles

February 18, 2011

My coaching colleague Francie Cooper and I decided last October to create a weekly podcast together. Neither of us had ever produced a weekly podcast so we had a lot to figure out, but we said “yes” anyway. We had both produced weekly newsletters and regular blog posts so we knew we would be able to prepare content. We were mainly in the dark about the technology – recording, formatting, uploading, and publicizing – but we said “yes” anyway.

We thoughtfully planned lots of time for each of the steps of planning and learning different components and said, back in early October, that we would have our first podcast ready to distribute the first week in January. By the second half of October we had chosen the name Tapa Palapa and learned enough about the technology to record a “test” show. We decided to go ahead and post it as our first podcast. Obstacles were collapsing like paper dominoes.

By November we had developed a monthly theme and a series of related shows for the month, well ahead of schedule. Smooth sailing, simply because we decided to move forward, learn things, and try them out. We didn’t need nearly as much time as we had given ourselves… mostly because we decided not to worry about getting things just right and instead aimed for good enough.

As we got up to speed and started producing shows we talked about the fact we would improve things as we gained experience, would tweak the format as we figured out what worked, and would make ours a more “professional” product as we learned what that required. In the description of a more “professional” product we included publishing Tapa Palapa on iTunes. For some reason, probably just ignorance, we thought that would be complicated and involved.

Last week during an advanced coaching class I’m taking through MentorCoach we did an exercise to imagine our businesses five years from now. I realized I would like to see the audience for Tapa Palapa continue to grow so both Francie and I can serve more people. It was time to move Tapa Palapa to the next level, and as Francie and I talked we knew iTunes would be an important next level – some day.

My expectations about the challenge of getting on iTunes were pretty distorted, as most things created in fantasy without a reality check tend to be. So I figured I would run into lots of detailed things to learn and steps to accomplish. But I decided to start looking into it anyway. It turned out the plug-in I use to publish the podcasts through WordPress is set up to format a lot of what iTunes requires from a feed. Our Feedburner account let me do the rest. In only one evening I had everything in place to start the submission process. That kind of took my breath away. So I breathed and move on.

Submitting the podcast went quickly, too. I went to iTunes, clicked “Submit a Podcast,” and filled in the information. The feed was verified and I got a confirmation e-mail our show was being reviewed. I thought that might take a few days, but the next day it was approved. The day after that it could be found through the iTunes Store search feature. We’re on iTunes, just like that! The feed has some glitches, but I’ll get those worked out.

This was an important lesson for me. We identified real obstacles to designing, creating, and publishing a podcast, and we worked our way through them without any resistance. We identified phantom obstacles we guessed would exist about including our podcast on iTunes and avoided them as a challenge for a later day. When that later day came, the phantom obstacles faded quickly as I did the research and got real information that replaced our ghostly speculation.

Don’t get me wrong. I have not overcome this problem once and for all. I’m just hoping that the next time I get daunted by imaginary obstacles I’ll be quicker to stare the phantom down and find what real challenges remain after he fades.


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