In this special episode, I take the hot seat and let fellow podcaster Nicole Law, host of nourishthesoul , interview me about my journey with Becoming Me in this first year.
I share the story behind "the call" for me to podcast, my approach to thinking up topics for episodes, insecurities about the podcast's performance and how producing this podcast challenges me to live what I preach in new ways.
Guest Profile, Transcript and Chapter Markers at this episode page.
04:16 "Why did you start podcasting?"
13:59 "How did you come up with the name 'Becoming Me'?"
19:44 The challenge of the podcasting process for me
31:09 "What new waters is the Lord drawing you into?"
36:45 The process of planning episodes
40:38 "Is anyone listening?"
44:41 Podcasting as asynchronous communication
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EPISODE 37 | BEHIND THE SCENES OF BECOMING ME (WITH NICOLE LAW)
I didn't want to just, you know – just become noise, right? I mean, and we already have so, so, many voices out in the world. Even if they are good for us – too much of a good thing is also noise.
Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me.
Hello again, dear listeners! In this final episode for 2021, you will hear a conversation I recorded with Nicole Law, the host of the podcast Nourish the Soul. Nicole is a fellow podcaster from Singapore. In fact, she played a part in my journey into podcasting, as you will hear in a moment. I asked Nicole to interview me as part of a commemoration of the completion of my first year in podcasting.
In the following conversation, you will hear the story behind why I started the Becoming Me podcast and some behind the scenes sharing on my approach, and how doing this podcast challenged me to live what I share on this podcast. So, basically, how keeping this podcast going, how it has challenged me to be authentic and also live with integrity.
Pope Paul VI wrote that modern men and women, listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers. And if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. As the host of this podcast, I am always, first of all, a fellow interior pilgrim, and a witness to what making this journey is about.
And the day I stop living what I talk about, I know I will lose my conviction, and also my effectiveness as a messenger for the interior life. So, this is the last episode for the year, and I am going to be taking December off so that I can have time to review 2021 and prayerfully plan for 2022. I need to take a look at my life as a whole, and really before I can even do that, I need some time to breathe – to slow down and to really come to a certain stillness because without stillness, there is no contemplation.
And without contemplation, really, there is no interior life. And I confess it has been a whirlwind year and a half since I started the podcast and started, you know, my business – this new formation and coaching work that I'm doing. So, everything has been kind of growing at the same time. And I need to take stock on what has happened and take time to discern what direction it should be heading or what direction it is heading and what response I need to make in the coming year.
So, I need to make some decisions about how to distribute my time wisely and also, more authentically. So, Becoming Me will be back for a new season on Wednesday 16th of February 2022. And I just want to say that if you have been blessed by Becoming Me, please share it with a friend, help me share this message.
And please also, consider leaving a review on my podcast website at www.becomingmepodcast.com. And if you feel moved to, a donation of any amount towards the production of this podcast will be so appreciated. So, you can find the link to donate in the show notes as well as on the podcast website as well.
Okay, that's it for the preamble. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Nicole.
[00:04:16] "WHY DID YOU START PODCASTING?"
Ann: Hello, Nicole!
Nicole: Hi, yeah! So, it's been such a long time, I think.
Ann: I know! This is the second time.
Nicole: The second time, right – I think, online. Yes, but I think the Lord is bringing us together. Yeah, even despite, I think, the pandemic, you know, things like that. But yeah, I just realized, I think, recently I think your podcast, right –
– Becoming me, just actually celebrated its one-year anniversary. I'm so, so, happy, I think, so happy to hear that. And you know, like actually just like, kind of reflecting also – you know, for me also, being someone who actually does a podcast on Spotify, maybe you could like, just maybe let us know, like, you know, what really kind of happened and things in terms of like, why you started this podcast, and why you started on this exciting journey – maybe you can share with us.
Ann: Okay, Nicole. Well, actually the reason why I asked you for this favour to conduct this interview with me is because you were a big part of what got me started. I should say I never planned to do a podcast. I never even used to listen to podcasts, honestly. I'm not a very audio kind of person. But I've been discerning, you know, my –
– like this thing we call Personal Vocation, right, as Catholics; this unique gift that my life has meant to play. I've been, you know, for over a decade, I've been quite intentionally trying to reflect on my experiences, what are the different gifts that God has given me. But more importantly, like how is He calling me to use them?
And the thread, you know – so over many years, and I've tried many different things – the things that always seem to hold in the pattern is communication, is teaching or speaking, you know, so speaking communication. But communication specifically in imparting knowledge, as well as facilitating people on journeys, you know? So, like asking questions.
Kind of a bit of like the Socratic kind of a method, right? So, it's a kind of pedagogy. So, formation, I suppose – formation. And I realized that it’s not just, you know, teaching a particular subject or anything, but it's like formation about being human, and even more particularly about a human – about being a human being who is in love with God and in love with Jesus Christ specifically.
What does it mean to be fully human as a disciple of Christ. So, about a year ago – or actually more than a year ago now, I think, a year and a few months ago – my journey led me to a conference that you spoke at, right. Remember this conference? What was it? Something about – it was world communications.
Nicole: Oh, yes.
Ann: It was World Communications day, right?
Nicole: Yeah. Yes, right!
Ann: It was, I think, the communications office for the archdiocese organized some kind of a conference and I wasn't intending to attend the podcasting one. Like I said, it's like not on my radar. But I recognized your name because we have a common friend, Chris, Chris Chok, right – in Christ Centred Conversations.
He's another young person. I mean, he's the one that I knew from my time in full-time church ministry; one of the wonderful young people had a privilege to journey with. And so, I know about a project that you guys do together, and I checked out the podcasts that you guys did there. I actually heard one of the episodes that you did.
And I remember thinking – and I told Chris this – I said, wow, I don't know who this person is, this young lady, but you know, I think she's good. I enjoy listening to her. She sounds very real, very authentic. She just sounds like she's having a conversation. And then when I saw your name in that conference, you know, for the breakout for podcasting, I just thought – quite the last minute – I'll check it out.
And seeing you and your co-presenter – there were two of you, right? But you were the younger one by quite a lot, right?
Ann: But I know you're a lot younger, but you spoke with such conviction about why you podcast. You were so real. You were so real, you know, it made podcasting seem accessible. And so, I think, at least, I'm more than a decade older than you. Having to try, you know, start something that I have no experience in –
– I know nothing about anything about audio recording or editing or whatever, kind of a thing. But I was beginning to have you know, the sense that maybe, I don’t know – you know, maybe there was this prompt to check it out. And when I listened to you, the ease with which you spoke about podcasting and even the joy – made me kind of think like, okay, maybe this is something that I could check out potentially, because it doesn't seem that scary.
Okay, so, you are part of God's "con-job" on me. I'll say "con-job" because it turned out it was very difficult for me. You make it sound so easy. But it made sense because after that conference, I felt in prayer, the Lord was saying, this is the next step. You know, I've already been blogging, so, I've already been writing a lot.
I mean, for many years, I've been putting my words out, you know, in the virtual space, on the internet. I've been doing some photography and sharing my images, you know. So, for me, contemplative photography is another way of communicating silence and presence and beauty.
But the one way of communicating – which is actually my main one – I say that I haven't translated to putting into virtual space – was speaking and podcasting. You know, suddenly it clicked. And I realized the Lord was telling me, this is what you're going to be doing. And not just as a hobby, not just as a side hustle.
Like I said, because I've been intentionally discerning what's the work that my life is supposed to be about, you know – that work off love. What's that big thing? And it felt like God was saying podcasting is going to be a big part of this. So, I leapt, without really knowing what I was leaping into. A leap of faith.
Nicole: Yeah, it does feel, I think, like that sometimes. I think like leaping into the deep end and yeah. Thank you, I think, Ann, for reminding me about World Communications Sunday. I almost kind of forgot what I was saying at that point in time. But I think you really brought up something important, I think, for me to reflect – which is like sometimes I wouldn't really know the impact of what I'm saying, right.
But, you know, it might affect, right – or it might actually kind of start a fire or spark a flame, you know, in a lot of other people who are listening. And I was actually very thankful. I remember receiving your message. And I was like, oh my goodness. You know, like, you know, someone has contacted me after this particular webinar and I felt very – I don't know.
I just felt like this, like this strange sense of like, you know, the flame, you know, that it's kind of like, it's kind of radiating outward and it's actually kind of sparking newer and newer flames, you know – new flames that are burning all over the place, right.
And, you know, and it fills me with so much joy to see so many people, you know, who listen to podcasts, not just my own – and you know, they feel inspired to start that, oh, you know. I feel like we are all inhabiting this very interesting virtual space, you know. Like we are trying to think about, you know, like what is our target audience, what is the message that we're trying to portray.
And what you brought up was something that I also tend to ignore and overlook, which is just to be yourself and just to be natural about it, right. Especially the message – the message comes out with clarity if you just say it with like, you know, conviction, you know, with sincerity, instead of saying, you know, this is how you should live your life, or this is what you should do and what you should not do.
Right, and I feel like a lot of joy, I think, from listening to your particular podcast. Actually, I've been very interested in listening to it, right. Because it's called Becoming Me, and I feel that you touch on a very beautiful point, which is actually humanity, right. You know, our own humanity. You know, Becoming Me. And the word "becoming", I feel it's so rich.
I think it was very well chosen. I'm sure this is a product of like a lot of prayer, you know, a lot of like Holy Spirit's intuition. Even coming up with like the title of the podcast. And I was like, wow, Becoming Me. And like the word "becoming" – it's not a static word, right? It's not like I've become, you know, who I'm supposed to be.
And then that's it, you know – it's like a static thing. But you're saying, you know, it's a continuous process. And everything that you were just sharing just now about, you know, always being involved in communication, being involved in church ministry, your photography, your articles – all centres around this idea of communicating. Communicating; reaching out and drawing connections with different people.
Right, and actually guiding them on that journey. I feel like I've been guided through the podcast and through, you know, my friendship with you – into becoming sort of like a different iteration of myself, I think, in different seasons. And I feel like, you know, the authenticity that you talk about is very evident in your podcast because I feel that, oh, Ann is just like telling me, you know, something, or she's speaking to me like a friend would. You know, she's not telling me, oh, you should do this.
You know, like you should go and like, you know, improve this aspect of your life first. It's more of like a very gentle voice. Like it sounds like the Spirit, you know, it's speaking to you.
[00:13:59] "HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME 'BECOMING ME'?"
So, like, I feel like, wow, I've really been so blessed by your podcast. And I'm so interested also, I would like to know, you know, how you came up with the title and how the idea of "becoming", right, has also kind of shaped your own spiritual becoming, you know? How has your planning of the podcast, you know, you were just telling us about how you started – but like, how has the journey been as well? Because I think that's something that's also very big for you – the journey.
Ann: So, I'm so enjoying your questions. I love great questions! So, the title, actually, it kind of like just dawned on me around the same time – I think on the same day – when I realized that, oh, I meant to start a podcast. And I was just thinking about what would it be about? You see, so, this was not – it wasn't like I had been thinking of doing it for some time, and that I've had a lot of time to try and figure out what I wanted to say.
Because this flowed from a call. And you know, the experience of a call, right, Nicole? It comes from outside of you. So, outside of you, but yet it was calling something inside of me out, right. So, I felt that God was calling something inside me. So, I was responding to this call. I said, okay, Lord, you want me to start a podcast.
You know, what's it going to be? And then suddenly the title just kind of came. Well, what is it that you're always going on about, Ann? You know, like God was asking me. Well, I was like, well, it's this is this process of becoming more and more me, because that really seems to be the title of my journey – which speaks to your second question, right, about the process.
I think I talk about this quite a lot in my episodes in the podcast as well, that I started out in life always feeling like I need it to fill, you know, a certain kind of, you know, shoes. That there's a certain ideal out there that I should aspire to. And you know whether it's where we look – we would like to talk about heroes and heroines, you know – as Catholics, we look to the Saint as exemplars and models. But you know, there's always the sense that I need to become like someone else, right.
Because that's a good example. That's a good role model. There's a good exemplar of what it looks like to be a loving person, an obedient, you know, you know, an obedient disciple, for example – speaking in the spiritual context. And I never knew who I was, and it never even occurred to me that God wouldn't want me to be anyone else but myself, you know. And that constantly looking outwards at what seems to be these standards of excellence would distract me from the path that I meant to walk.
So, Pope Francis actually talks about this, right? In his apostolic exhortation. And about how we shouldn't be a copycat of other – photocopies, well not copycats but photocopies of other saints, you know. Like, it would distract us from our own true path. And Thomas Merton – I think you would know his name, I mean like, Thomas Merton – he says this line about how to be a Saint is to be myself. Or for me to be a Saint, is to be myself.
So, I think in my own journey, I've learned some things, which is that holiness is not about becoming perfect. I always thought it was about becoming perfect. Like, you know, when I no longer make mistakes. So, the fewer mistakes I make, or when I stopped doing wrong things, when I stop sinning – that's when I become holy, you know?
And that's very – that is not life-affirming. I realized in the process that I've been going, you know, doing that. Because this is a lot about what I should not do, I should not be. And that also keeps me bound by my wounds. You know, all of us, we've suffered some kind of wounding, some kind of trauma, right.
Even if it's not making big, big trauma. But you know, there are a lot of things that impacted the way we see ourselves, the way we relate to others. And we are less than whole. And having that kind of perspective that I must become like someone else who's perfect keeps me from becoming more whole.
It just – it keeps me stuck, I think in my woundedness, just thinking that I'm never good enough. Because I can never, with my own strength and will, become you know, anything that's perfect or anyone that's perfect, and much less someone that I'm not created to be. Yeah, so, Becoming Me – even the whole process of podcasting, I went into it in the way that, I guess, my personality is.
So, I've learned a lot about the kind of design that God has given me. And over the years, I've embraced it a lot more – stopped fighting it. I used to fight it when I started realizing that, for example, I'm more of a free spirit than I thought. I was like, oh no! I don't – I cannot be a free spirit because you know, in terms of like association for me, like free spirit is associated with like irresponsible, flighty or you know, you just do what comes to you.
But He did! He did create me to be a free spirit, you know. And it took me a long time to embrace that. And when I embraced it, a lot of things changed. So, how do I go about doing something like a podcast? And I will tell you, the thing that scared me the most when I was reading up – so, I like to research, okay. I was reading up a lot about like, so how do you do podcasting.
[00:19:45] THE CHALLENGE OF THE PODCASTING PROCESS FOR ME
What are the things to think about, what the best practices. And this word keeps coming up everywhere – consistency. Okay, so it's like consistency, right? Every week. I mean, you podcast every week. Your podcast comes out every week, right? So, there are a lot of weekly podcasts. Or there's some even that's like a few times a week, maybe shorter ones, but a few times a week.
And for me, once I embraced my true nature, I have to admit that consistency is something that takes a lot of effort for me, right. Because I have, what my husband likes to call, "butterfly moments". When I'm deeply inspired, I want to do this, you know, and I want to do that. I want to try something different.
I would love it if somebody else can do the consistency part for me, you know, kind of a thing. So, that part made me a bit intimidated. Like, if I start this, do I really think I can keep it up? You know, because once I put this, and it's out there, it's a bit different from a blog. I mean, you know, for my blog also, I don't write with a lot of regularity because at some point, I realized that I wanted to write what is really true.
And when I'm really inspired and prompted to write something of beauty and truth, then I'll put it out there. I didn't want to just write for the sake of writing. Just like, I don't really want to speak for the sake of speaking, right. So, for podcasting, unless the Lord gives me enough content – you know, like enough stuff for me to keep talking. I didn't want to just, you know, just become noise, right?
I mean, and we already have so, so, many voices out in the world. Even if they are good for us – too much of a good thing is also noise. So, that was part of the leap of faith, you know? And I thought I'll just jump into it. I'll just try, I'll just learn everything from scratch. And so, at first, I did weekly, and I think the fact that I had to learn everything from scratch and I was trying to churn things out weekly, and I was doing everything on my own.
And I wanted to reach, in a sense, a certain standard of production, because I knew that, like I said, this wasn't just like something I'm trying out. I felt like it was going to be something part of a bigger call – the overall call. And I want it to make it appealing. So, part of, you know – beauty matters, right?
So, not that it has to be perfect, but I wanted it to be pleasant. You know, nice enough that people will want to listen. And I have some friends who are like, I would say acoustically very picky. You know, these are like the musicians or the, you know, they pickup – they are very sensitive, right. And I kid you not, when I sent a couple of my sample trailers out, before I actually published, right.
Yeah, I had a friend who – I mean, if she's listening to this, she'll know that I'm talking about her – she can pick up like diction. Like my diction's a bit harsh, you know, that kind of a thing. Like when I'm speaking, right. So, I know not everyone's like that, right. But, you know, and of course, I don't think I'll ever reach like maybe up to her level of what she would really think is really comfortable listening maybe. But I didn't want to turn people off who may want to listen to the message, but, you know, they just don't like how – let's say, the production quality – because I've been there too.
I mean, there's a certain threshold, right? I mean, I would go for the content, even if the production quality isn't perfect. But if it is too poor, you know, it just gets so irritating. So, all of that, and I had to try and kind of like, learn, you know, some basic editing, and buy software. So, it got very overwhelming very quickly.
There was nothing else that could do, I remember, for that first couple of months. Nothing else I could do, it was just writing script, and then recording podcasts and then trying to figure out the editing, and then the, you know, the show notes and the transcript. And then also kind of like putting it out on social media, which you do so regularly.
I'm always so in awe of you, Nicole. I don't know – you know, like, because you also want to promote your podcast when it's done, right? I'm like, oh! That's also, a part that takes a lot out of me, to be honest. So, but I think I found a bit of a sweet spot. So, slowing it down to once every two weeks or first and third. You know, I say first and third Wednesdays of the month, which means that month where there's a fifth Wednesday, for me, it's an option – because I said that it's the first and third.
So, if I need the break, I can take the break. If not, I can throw in a bonus. Yeah. So, I've learned also, more about myself, or I should say, I've learned how to work with the design God has given me. Even doing things that I do not enjoy doing. I've learned how to work around – you know, how to work around and be compassionate to myself, and to accept.
To be truthful, I still tend to, like, my old script sees as weakness. So, for me, it's like, why are you so weak? You know, like suck it up and just, you know, push through and, you know, be more disciplined and you'll be able to do it. You know, that kind of a thing. But for me too much discipline, or too much routine –
– so, if too much discipline, routine, it kills me. It really does. I'm being so honest here. Like, you know, I am – and that's me now, accepting the way that got created me. I'm just not that kind of person.
Nicole: Oh, thanks. Thanks, Ann. I think, I think that's like a very beautiful parallel, you know, because you're like guiding so many people to kind of like, you know, become their true selves and discover their true self. And I like what you were saying about, saints, right – and the holiness.
You know, we're all like trying to be carbon copies of other people when we are actually on our own unique journey. And that's also where it comes, you know, in terms of like, people become envious of like, how come you, like holier than me? Or like, oh, how come I'm not so holy, how come I'm still at this stage? Yeah, but I think for you, what are you actually saying –
– is that, to give yourself some space to really listen, right, to like the design that God has, I think, for each and every one of us. I think also, for you, right, it was like a very interesting process because you went in thinking, okay, this is how I'm going to go about doing this. I'm going to plan, I'm going to get everything done, and sorted out.
And then usually that's when the Lord would be like, I think you need to slow down. I think you need to slow down and kind of like take stock of like, where you're going. I fully resonate, I think, with that also. Like, because you were saying about my weekly content generation and promotion – and it does take a toll, I think, on the individual, you know, to think that, you know, you have to live up to this expectation.
Always put out content, or always be seen as a particular type of like person. Right, you know, sometimes it even feels that you're developing some kind of like strange persona. When the Lord is not asking you to develop a persona but just to be yourself and to speak, you know, your authentic truth, yeah. You know, and sometimes it's so, so difficult, I think.
But I'm really like amazed, I think also you know, how sometimes through these kinds of, you know, pursuits that we have, like when being creative or when we're doing these kinds of podcasts right, like the Lord also, takes us on a journey, you know. And that's what you just described to all of us, your own personal journey.
Because sometimes we fell like, oh, our podcasts is taking other people on a journey, you know, and everyone is, you know, kind of going to a different phase or they move into a different season. But actually, we are also being changed by that experience of, you know, creating content. And I really thank you for the reminder, of actually kind of creating out of a space, you know, like out of a safe space or a space, you know, in which, you know, you have like kind of sufficient rest.
Number one, you know, like you give yourself enough space to create quality, you know. Like you don't have to have that, you know, like you don't have to create, you know, unnecessarily too much, you know. You just have to kind of sit with what the Lord is trying to tell you, you know, in that season. What is this message that He's asking you to convey to other people.
And I feel like, yeah, it is so amazing about how He's kind of telling you different things, right, at different stages. Even when you're doing this podcast, you know, at first, you're like, okay, this is my plan. And then He – I wouldn't say He wrecks the plan – but He's like diverting you. He's like, okay. I think we need to take a step in this direction.
Or we take a step in terms of like, you know, greater rest, you know, and try to re-charge because I feel sometimes, you know, for both of us, and even in the very media saturated culture, sometimes it's very hard for us to absorb. Like, because we keep creating, right? Sometimes we just need to sit down like a sponge and absorb and to like, you know, be where we are right now, because I mean, and your title is BEcoming Me, right.
So, there's also, an element of being – that you are being where you are, right. And then in the end, you're going to come to a certain – I guess, it's just word play for me. Like, I like words, so I'm like, BE-coming.
Nicole: Right. So, you know, your future self is coming. Yeah. And I think that's such a beautiful thought, especially when you were saying – returning to the point about media saturated culture, right.
There's also, a – there can be too much of a good thing. Like for me, I think at a certain point, I was like reading too much – I wouldn’t say too much – but just a lot of, you know, Ascension Press, Bishop Robert Barron – I was just going through videos, all sorts of podcasts. And then at the end of it, I was like, okay, what –
Like, where am I right now? You know, you have like so many different thoughts. People are sharing their own, you know, journeys, you know. And they're giving you know, suggestions. And then I realised that maybe I need to cut down. I also need to cut down in terms of my consumption. I also need to cut down in my production also, as well.
So, I think, for me, I think how I would cut down production is to maybe devote myself to a certain series and then take, you know, maybe a month off on Soul, just to reorient before I start again. But I think that sacred rest is so important because it's not – it's so hard to create, you know, and to give, right.
If you, yourself, have not kind of like attained that sort of like, that right relationship with the Lord. Because if not, you're just giving out nothing, right? It's going to be very tiring, yeah – in the long run. So, I think most of us know, right – who are doing content creation. It is not easy. It's not like, sometimes we do have that, like you know – lightning bolt like, oh yes, I have an idea.
I'm sure Ann also has had those, you know – she was just saying, you know, that she has those butterfly moments, like, yes! You know? I'm like totally going to get stuck in and I'm going to see this series to the end, right? And then there are sometimes when you're like, oh, this is a dry spell. This is a difficult time. I'm not sure whether I can even say certain things, you know, with sincerity and truth, you know? Because you're like, you know, you're trying to say, oh, you know, hope, you know, in times of crisis and here you are yourself struggling – I have experienced that also, as well.
I feel like there's a dissonance sometimes, and that actually invites me to go back and reflect on why is there a dissonance, right. And how can I maybe heal also, that part of myself. It's a sort of like a sense of revealing also, I think, over time. Yeah, but no, back to the part about like it being tiring – do you think, also, the Lord has challenged you, in this creation of this podcast and how do you think He has drawn you out into this new waters?
[00:31:09] "WHAT NEW WATERS IS THE LORD DRAWING YOU INTO?"
I think you've kind of answered it to some extent also, previously, but are there any like new waters that you feel like the Lord is really drawing you out into, in terms of – it could be topics, it could be the way you go about recording the podcast. Yeah, we'd just like to know also about how is He also drawing you into even newer waters? Because I think it's a continuous process.
Ann: Newer waters. Well, you know, it's like, I think the waters are – it's like it's the same body of water but like, going deeper. So, in a sense, the newer and in the sense of where I have not gone. Always an invitation to, you know, to maybe go out, put out into the deep. The whole process of podcasts fruition – actually, there's a very nice parallel, I realise – now that I think of it, and now that you ask – with living life.
Which is, you need to have some kind of an idea, a rough idea about what you need to do. But if to be authentic, there are a lot of things you have to be open to change. You have to sometimes be willing to show up – not in the state that you think you wanted to show up in, but, you know, maybe being a bit more vulnerable. So, I mean, there's always a discernment and a choice, right?
Like, so, when I find in the scenario that you just articulated, like let's say I'm not really in a good place, I'm really struggling – usually two things. So, I will ask, is this a time where I need to take a step back. Because sometimes I just have too much going on and I know I need a break, and that's what I need to do.
And that's hard for me because you know, the "face" thing – as in like the whole, like, ah, no, I'm not being consistent. You know? I suck. I have a lot – my inner critic is very loud. So, then, it's about overcoming that inner critic or – I wouldn't say overcoming – but learning would go like, yes, all that. But I'm honouring the season that I'm in right now.
And I feel that God is inviting me to rest. So, I need to take a break, right – then I do that. Sometimes, it's not about necessarily taking a break, but sharing stuff that maybe is not so much in the past, but something that I'm revisiting right now. So, in one of my podcast episodes – I think it happened when I said I was going to take a break, I think it was in July.
And I needed to take a break. And then while I was taking that break – sometimes when you take that break, it gives room for insights to come. And I begin to have a little bit of distance and recognize, oh, this is what I'm struggling with.
The same – like, same old, same old, but new. And then I thought, you know, oh, this is something I would love to share with my listeners, because this is exactly the kind of thing that I was talking about, like in earlier episodes, but you know, a bit more from like, you know, a distance. But this is how it feels like and sounds like when you're going through it.
And I thought, hey, if I share this with my listeners – it's raw, right. And maybe it can actually help them recognize this, when they experience it. And so, it was a very impromptu thing. I think it turned out – I kind of said I was going to wait and then – I think it's the episode that I said, I want to slow down, but I can't or something like that.
And interestingly enough, I got quite a bit of feedback. People – it resonated with people because I think so many of us feel exactly that; I know I need to slow down, but I cannot. I feel like I cannot afford to slow down. That fear of taking a break, that fear of slowing down that then, we will fall behind, you know?
Yeah, so, if anything, I think doing this podcast is giving me an opportunity to live in that tension of being and becoming – corny! You know, it's in that tension of where I am and where I am becoming, where God is continuing to call me to. It's a dance, you know – and I never quite know how was going to turn out.
And there's a part of me that don't like that because, especially when it's public. You know, you're putting myself out there, you know. I guess maybe it's that ego or that pride or face. I want things to look nice, to sound nice. And I don't quite like it when I don't quite know what's going to happen when I can see what I'm going to be recording.
You know, sometimes it's like, I don't know what I'll be recording like next month or something. But that's the way I work, that's the way God works with me. Things take time to fall into place and then, I will know what it is that is for me to talk about. During the first – I think after I didn't the first 10 episodes, a listener and a friend of mine asked me, "Ann, did you plan it all out like, you know, before you did?"
Because she said, wow, the 10 episodes sound like – they were, you know, they hang so well together. Like, you know, it makes so much sense to have this and then this next one, the next one, you know – it builds on one another. "Did you plan all that out before you recorded?"
I'm like, no. I would be like, oh my God – that's so not me. But I do have – one of my gifts, I think – and that's the part where I'm a teacher also. And you're a teacher, your profession is a teacher. I have an instinct, right. I have an instinct and intuition. What must come first? What are the building blocks –
[00:36:45] THE PROCESS OF PLANNING EPISODES
– you know, in order to be able to talk about something really good. But for people to get it well, I need to lay the foundations and then, you know, it may take many episodes, you know, piece by piece, for example, to lay out the foundations before I can talk about what I want to talk about. So, for example, right around now, when we're recording this, I'm going into the theme about being unique and our unique design.
And the next few episodes that will drop – not after this episode airs – but like, you know, right now is October. Yeah, so in October – will be about motivational design, right. And how that factors into our call, our vocation, into burnout even, why that matters.
So, that's been an area, a topic that a lot of people have been interested, and I'm interested in. But I don't want people to just get lost in the fun of trying to figure out what my temperament or my design is. You know, the main thing is not about your design. That's not the main thing – it's important, but it's important because the main thing is we need to know how to be us – authentic and real.
And to become the fullest version of ourselves. And in order to do that, understanding and learning about the way that we're designed, learning to work with it, will help us to accompany ourselves to flourish. It will help us also, if we're accompanying other people to know how to help them flourish. But you get what I'm saying.
The main thing is not that you have a unique design. That's not the main thing. The main thing is we want each one of us to be real, authentic and become more whole. Yeah, so, it's taken like a year for me to build up to that point when I can introduce this, you know, this topic. So, I'm actually a very impatient person.
So, doing the podcast has also been like live training in surrender and waiting and patience. Like if I want to do the – you know, you mentioned earlier, like if I want to offer quality, if I want to – I really want to be able to offer something good. And I know that, that must flow from the Lord's timing, God's timing.
And I need to wait on Him. So, even if I have some amazing idea – and sometimes I do. And I get, I feel very – sometimes I feel very – I don't know what the word is. Not anxious, not even just impatient. Sometimes I feel like my head is about to explode because I've so many ideas in my mind and it's just impossible to make them real in the near future.
I don't know whether you've ever experienced that. It's just like, ah, not enough time. And then the invitation is to, you know, breathe, be present. Trust that what needs to be brought into reality will happen at the time, in the way, at the pace that the Lord wants – and then that's surrender. So, I think doing this podcast has given me real praxis.
I like to talk about Praxis, right? About like, not just thinking about it – a concept, but the practice. Yeah, so, the podcast process has been an ongoing training ground for me to live what I believe.
Nicole: Yeah. Thanks, Ann, for like reminding us to think of that constant practice. I feel like, I think, towards this end of our conversation – it has been so interesting because you brought it back to a central point, which I think is like authenticity, right. In terms of the individual living out an authentic life. You know, kind of communicating their authentic life to other people and also learning, I think, to receive others, you know, where they are.
[00:40:38] "IS ANYONE LISTENING?"
So, I really, really, value that authenticity that you bring to your podcast, I really enjoy it. And I also really empathise, I think, with a lot of the things that you shared. And one challenge also, that I felt is like, you know, does it mean that a certain number of people to listen to my podcasts, or tune in regularly – is there like a measure of –
Ann: Oh my gosh. I'm So, glad you brought that up.
Like, I think it's something that I keep seeing podcasters ask, like on those forums or groups for podcasters, right. Yeah, everybody's asking what's a good number of listeners. And Nicole, I'll tell you, I am happy, I realise, that I'm a very happy when I go through like weeks or whatever.
And then I realize, oh, I haven't gone and – it's been a while since I went to check how many downloads. I'm actually very happy when I'm – you know, I don't, I haven't been checking because I got to admit, especially when I first started out, it was quite a compulsion. Like, because you want to know, is anybody listening?
Like, you know, am I doing this? You know, yeah – is anybody listening? Right, and that was so tough because the reason I started, like I said, it was a response to a call and it's like, what does the – what is this about numbers? I mean, I actually deeply believe, right, its fruitfulness is not just measured in terms of numbers.
And certainly not just in terms of what you can see in terms of numbers right now, you know? And especially something like a podcast – it's out there, it will remain there, right? I mean, when you first publish it, maybe how many people may watch it. But if it's there and a year or two years later, the people who could still be discovering it, you know, at the time that they are meant, you know, I mean, even if you want to talk about like, right, listenership.
Yeah, I just had a listener, a new listener, someone that never reached out to me before, right. And it's so sweet. And she's someone who is older. I mean, older than me, and she recognizes that she's older than me. And she says, but so much of what I share in the podcast resonates with her. So, she's just started listening, I think, for the first few episodes.
And she asked me whether there was a version of Becoming Me for older people, like senior citizens – you know, older people. And I wrote back and I told her, really the – I mean, the stories that I share, because they are from my life, some of them comes from when I was younger, you know, or in my youth, or my young adulthood, or now.
I said, but really, this journey is not targeted at any specific age, right. And I know I have listeners who are even in their seventies, and this is the topic that still resonates. And, you know, because for some of them, maybe it's always been important, or some of them they've never had time before to think about these things, you know – and it still resonates.
Which is why I'm so blessed to have you, who are younger than me, but you know, you're like more veteran than me when it comes to podcasting. I just was thinking of like my mentor kind of thing in podcasting is this. So, I don't know if I told you before, I have a nickname for you because I know quite a few Nicole.
So, sometimes I mention, I'm talking to Nicole and my husband will ask, "which Nicole?" – and I say, "Oh, Nicole xiao mei mei". Sorry, I hope you don’t mind. Because you're like my little sister, you know? You're So, much younger. Yeah, but I said, yeah – but she's my podcasting mentor.
Yeah, yeah, I think you're like, very really important mentor in my life. Because I don't know what I told you also, at that point in time, when you did actually reach out to me. Actually, I was like looking – I was like really desiring for some sort of like connection and, you know, guidance, actually, at that time.
And then I think your voices is a very, very, very gentle voice that was actually guiding me through that season of my life. So, actually, I was praying quite a lot, in terms of that, right. And I think that, you know, your arrival – you know, your that that first message on Telegram, right – that was like, really God's. So, I think the Lord is working in both of our lives, you know, bring together to really discuss about problems.
[00:44:41] PODASTING AS ASYNCHRONOUS COMMUNICATION
I really love what you said. I'm sure you might be pleased to share. So, like, you know, podcasts is also, about, I think, creating that sense of connection with the listener. It's not like a one-way sort of like, you know – this is my, my thoughts. Sometimes we do kind of share our thoughts, but sometimes it's also about creating that connection with people, you know. And people feel listened to, people feel heard and seen.
Ann: If you think about it, before podcasting and even radio, wherever – I mean writing, right? I mean, that's how we – sometimes when we read a book and the author may even be long gone, you know – may not be alive anymore. And there's certain authors whose writing, especially can make you feel like, oh my gosh, like, you know, you went through what I went through.
Henri Nouwen is an example. For example, I think a lot of people love reading Henri Nouwen's books. He has a gift or so, of speaking, putting words to express, you know, experiences that we all – a lot of us go through, but we don't know how to articulate, right. It's a kind of asynchronous communication.
And I know that because of COVID and everything, a lot of people are also saying, you know, we really do miss that live, in-person/live kind of interaction. But on the flip side, I want to say that I think it has highlighted for me, at least, the power potential – which has always been there – of asynchronous communication.
So, not immediately live. So, I think podcasting is example of asynchronous communication because I'm recording it, at one time, somebody else may be listening to it long after I recorded it. But you know, in that moment of listening, the communication is still happening, and God is still acting, you know.
In that moment, God is – so God is in that moment, live, communicating actually, to hearts. If we just, you know, dispose ourselves to be His instrument. So, yeah, I actually – I feel called, I realised, to this. So, it's not a matter of which is better, which is worse because I think what matters is, which is the one that God is calling us to.
And for us, that which He calls us to, is the best for us, right. I mean, it's what we are called to do. Yeah, so, yeah.
Nicole: Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Ann, for the sharing with us. I think this has been a very spirit-filled episode. I think, you know, we've been sharing all about like, you know, how you stared on the podcast and journey that I think the Lord has taken yourself on, even me also, as well.
Yeah. Thank you so much, Ann, I think for the time that we had today. Yeah.
Ann: Likewise! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to have this conversation with me and to let this be part of my commemoration. It's kind of like my way of commemorating one year podcasting. And it's symbolic for me and meaningful that you're the one doing this because like I said, you were part of why I started. Yeah, I'm so glad that we made this happen.
Well, that's it for this episode and for Becoming Me in 2021. I wish you a presence-filled December. Stay safe, stay authentic. And don't forget to tune in for season 4 on Wednesday 16, February 2022.
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin.
The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode, Happy becoming!
Nicole Law is a Catholic podcaster with a love for storytelling. Her repertoire ranges from short prose and poetry to multiple podcasts to amplify His Glory. Focused on bringing His human face to others through real stories of struggle and hope, Nicole gently leads her audience into reflecting and looking inward to move forward. Join her in this wonderful journey to bring the reality of His presence to others on Spotify.