Cool Podcasts for Downshifters

I recently started listening to podcasts during my half-hour commute to & from work every day. I know, I know… I’m arriving at this party a little late, but this is by far the best new thing to happen to my daily routine in a long time! Why didn’t I think of this before? Now I’m arriving at my day job energized and motivated, with my mind full of new input for my writing and creative pursuits. By the time I get home, I’ve usually jotted down a few new ideas and resources that I can’t wait to research and start working with.

Plus, podcasts are FREE, and soooo much safer than trying to read a book while I’m driving.

Since I’m just getting started, this is my very short list of the podcasts that have inspired me so far. I hope they’ll do the same for you. If you know of any other great podcasts that have helped you find balance, simplify your life, improve your writing, pursue your passions, live a healthier life, or form good habits, please share!

The Minimalists Podcast

In their new podcast, just launched last month, The Minimalists Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus discuss living a meaningful life with less stuff. This is the podcast that convinced me that podcasts were a good idea, so if you need convincing too, start here.

The Portfolio Life with Jeff Goins

As he does in his books, Jeff Goins shares thoughts and ideas that will help you to pursue work that matters, make a difference with your art, and discover your true voice. Episode 003, “How to Chase a Dream Without Quitting Your Job,” is a must-listen. His guest list is a who’s-who of today’s heavy-hitting inspirational speakers and authors. The episodes featuring interviews with Gretchen Rubin (018) and Tim Ferriss (004) are among my favorites so far.

Speaking of Gretchen Rubin…

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

The #1 best-selling author of The Happiness Project shares her practical advice about happiness and good habits in this “lively, thought-provoking podcast.” Sometimes it gets a little corny, and her topics are widely varied, so I’m picky about which episodes I listen to, but Gretchen’s honest tried-and-true advice usually manages to enhance my happiness in unexpected ways.

And Tim Ferriss…

The Tim Ferriss Show

“Self-experimenter” and best-selling author Tim Ferriss “deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.” I haven’t had a chance to listen to many episodes, but I love everything Tim does, and his wide-reaching guest list – from Seth Godin to Jamie Foxx – is guaranteed to engage and inspire.

Over It And On With It with Christine Hassler

Life coach and author Christine Hassler coaches live callers on the problems – and opportunities – we all face in relationships, careers, health, transitions, finances, life purpose, spirituality, or anything else they have questions about. She uses her signature balance of practical tools and spiritual principles to help us all overcome the obstacles that hold us back from living the lives we were meant to live.

All of these podcasts, and thousands more, are easily accessible via the iTunes store. Happy listening (and learning)!



A recent video post by one of my favorite inspirational life coaches Christine Hassler really resonated with me. In “How to know if you are settling,” she asserts that, if you are constantly trying to talk yourself into something, you are most likely settling.

As I listened, I realized that I am constantly talking myself into staying at my job, while I know in my gut that I’d be much happier if I had control over my own schedule and didn’t have to get up at 4 a.m. and go to work 6 days a week. (Duh, who wouldn’t be, right?) Sometimes I see a huge disconnect between my passions and values and goals — downshifting, simplifying, slowing down, writing — and how I am actually living my life right now.

I believe that a lot of us are dealing with the same issues as we try to find our own work/life balances, and I know that it’s all part of the process, but occasionally, I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite or an impostor, and I tend to beat myself up for it.

What am I afraid of? Money is always a factor. Unfortunately, many of the major decisions I’ve made in my life were driven by my deep need for financial security. My “overhead” is fairly low, and I currently have enough savings to “coast” for a few years without an income, but then what? What about health insurance? I’m in my 40’s now, and my husband just turned 60. Without health insurance, a major health setback could be a major financial setback as well. My husband is self-employed, so no employer-provided health benefits there. And private health insurance is insanely expensive, especially when you don’t have a regular income. Then there’s that big government pension (HA!) that I’ll get when I retire, if I live long enough to enjoy it…

Does this mean that I should give up my dream of downshifting? Do I keep working for the man, trapped by the regular paychecks, health benefits, and the promise of a tiny pension 17 years from now? Dear God, I hope not!

I know myself well enough by now to know that I do better with slow, moderate changes than with huge drastic ones. I continue to take steps in the direction that I want my life to go, and I am pleased with my progress so far, for the most part. I plan to “retire” in less than 5 years, and am getting my financial ducks in a row so that I can do so without sacrificing my sense of security. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even be able to shorten that timeline. I believe that I’ll know when I’m ready to make the final leap. Of course, I will share the details of my “exit strategy” and continue to update you on my progress in future posts. I just need to keep reminding myself to be patient, stay focused on the end goal, and try not to let myself get impatient or depressed or distracted. This too shall pass. Right?

So what about you? What are you trying to talk yourself into? How are you settling, and what, if anything, are you going to do about it?