We love a good podcast at Maier so one thing lockdown has enabled us to do is to indulge our passion for the spoken word – we’ve literally become ‘podcast junkies’. For one thing there’s been more to listen to; lockdown has given us new delights such as ‘Grounded’ with Louis Theroux as well as the time to revisit some old favourites and enjoy dipping into the back catalogues of Malcom Gladwell’s ‘Revisionist History’ and Yasmin Amer and Andrea Asuaje’s ‘Kind World’.

We recommend all of the above.

Think like a monk

Photo by Anjali Mehta on Unsplash

The latest addition to our ‘podcast fiesta’ is ‘On Purpose with Jay Shetty’. Jay’s is a remarkable story, having been raised in north London and having secured a degree from Cass Business School he then chose to spend the next four years living and practicing as a monk at an ashram in India. The monk thing didn’t work out in the end but what he took from the experience he’s since converted into a hugely successful business, all based on finding purpose in our lives. If we’re honest the jury’s still out on this one for us (27 million Facebook followers and 6.5 million Instagrammers would disagree), but one episode in particular resonated, ‘The one habit all highly effective people live by’ talks about a staple of ours – curiosity.

Curiosity may well have killed a few cats, but for us humans it’s a vital element when it comes to growth, resilience, emotional intelligence and increased inclusivity and diversity.

In his podcast Shetty reminds us that in recent months our attempts to think ahead, find ways to move forward and navigate the unknown has left many of us emotionally bankrupt. But, rather than be wary of what’s to come we could instead choose to be curious. Our work has always encouraged leaders and teams to be curious – about their world, their work and, most importantly perhaps, each other. And maybe one of the reasons for our own success at Maier has been our insatiable curiosity. Curiosity is what continues to feed our passion for what we do.

Jay’s podcast reminded us that;

  • Curiosity helps us to find better, more efficient ways of doing things; we don’t know what we don’t know so anything that broadens our view can only help to boost our inventiveness and increase our options.

  • Curiosity helps to counteract confirmation bias; by opening our minds to what’s new we can avoid making decisions based only on our pre-programmed assumptions. Curiosity is about possibility not judgement.

  • When we’re anxious or stressed our brain automatically goes into protective mode but in order to do so it shuts down our creative circuits. Curiosity can help us to change perceptions from ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen’ to ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen…yet.’ One small additional word, but a marked difference in how it makes us feel.

Jay Shetty’s book ‘Think Like a Monk’ is out on 8th September

Embracing failure

Being curious also means learning to live with (and seek out) failure. If you’re willing to up the curiosity quota, you’ll need to accept that in searching for and trying out something new you will inevitably expand your understanding and experience but also hit a few hurdles along the way. Which brings us to one of our most favourite podcasts, ‘How to fail with Elizabeth Day’.

Firstly, the failures she and guests talk about are not the failures of the select few, but in fact the failures of the many. Failures we can all relate to. Failures which seem to obscure and blot out everything when they are happening and yet with the perspective of time and, dare we say it, age turn out to be invaluable lessons (and in some cases witty anecdotes too).

But what we love most about the podcast is Day’s brilliance in engaging her interviewee. Her ability to curate the interview, seemingly without effort or preparation, means you become totally absorbed in the conversation from the very first minute to the last. As coaches we’re constantly striving to craft the right questions and then listening attentively to what’s shared – not working off a script but reacting and responding to the flow of the dialogue. It’s an art and one that Day is a true master of. We’ve learned a lot from listening to this podcast and all of us at some point will have channelled Elizabeth Day in our coaching sessions. Given our obsession, maybe a Maier podcast isn’t too far away.

What are your suggestions for podcasts? We’d love to hear what you’ve been listening to in lockdown.