Cliff-jumping: How I Started a Podcast (Even Though it Scared Me)

by Nicky Hajal

Part of the reason I know that ActionAlly is the right project for me right now is because I’m not just excited about the product itself, I’m excited about the whole industry. Few things excite me more than helping people take action.

As a result I’ve been thinking about ways I can contribute more broadly than just creating ActionAlly—that’s why I’ve been writing more than ever. About a month ago, another idea came to mind: a podcast called Into the Action where I’ll interview creators and go deep into the workflows, habits and mindsets that allow them to do their best work.

There was one problem: I’d never, ever done a podcast before. I’d never really even interviewed someone before. The idea of spending an hour one-on-one with someone I respected to ask them questions that would later be broadcasted to anyone and everyone… it was pretty scary and outside my comfort zone.

Despite all that, tomorrow I’ll be releasing the very first episode of Into the Action. So how did I overcome my fear and lack of experience? How did I bring an idea to life when I had no idea what I was doing?

I Simply Went Cliff-by-Cliff

What’s the next small action you can take that will commit you one step further?

That’s a cliff. It’s a bit scary but all it takes is one small jump and suddenly there’s no turning back.

The easiest example is buying a domain name for a project. Once you buy the name, you are slightly more committed to that idea. All projects are lined with cliffs to jump and there are many you can conquer that are even more powerful.

With ActionAlly, the most important cliff was emailing my first guest, Jenny Blake. The task itself was easy but once finished I was now committed to at least recording the episode.

After I recorded our interview, I shared my first public announcement of the podcast’s existance—a small cliff that now committed me to posting the finalized episode.

Cliff-jumping is important when working on a project that scares you because it allows you to slowly commit to it more and more. You don’t get overwhelmed up front but once you’ve jumped, there’s no way back.

Instead of thinking about the complete end result, think about your progress in terms of these small, no-turning-back commitments—especially if you’re feeling any kind of fear.

What’s a small action you can take that will commit you to just one step forward along your project’s path?

2 More Bonus Tips

Besides cliff-jumping, there are 2 more important reasons I was able to start a podcast even though it scared me.

1. I Was Working on Something I Genuinely Thought Would be Awesome

“If you’re not working on your best idea right now, you’re doing it wrong.” – David Heinemeier Hansson, 37Signals

I’m not sure the benchmark of your “best” idea is necessarily the most helpful when choosing what to work on but the point is you don’t have to work on the first idea you think is half-decent—hold out for something that really fires you up.

When you work on something you’re excited about and genuinely feel will be awesome, the motivation to get working and continue through the rough spots comes naturally.

On the other hand, if you’re working on something only because you think there may be a market out there or for some other external reason you’ll find that when things get tough your motivation to continue suddenly evaporates.

2. I Pushed My Edge and Asked for Help

The truth is my first email to Jenny wasn’t just asking her to be on the episode. Actually, I asked her for help.

You see, this was new territory for me. Being willing to step outside my comfort zne was a critical part of success but even more important was finding someone else who could help me navigate the new waters.

Jenny helped me so much as I planned the logistics of hosting a podcast as well as what it really takes to bring out the best in a guest. Things would have been a lot more difficult without her help.

Do Projects that Scare You

Chances are the biggest opportunities are going to come in the form of projects that scare you, at least a little.

Make the most of them by choosing the ones you really care about, being willing to push your edge while asking for help and by cliff-jumping along the way to slowly commit yourself more and more overtime.

What’s your next cliff?

Into the Action with Jenny Blake is Going Live Tomorrow!

I’m really excited to be publishing the very first episode of Into the Action tomorrow—our first guest is the amazing Jenny Blake herself!

We go deep into how she works and I’d hate for you to miss it! Sign-up below and you’ll get an email as soon as it’s live.

photo by Andrew Spearing

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