Your alarm goes off in the morning and you hit snooze three times. You drag your feet on the way to the office. Your mind wanders during meetings. When your friends talk about their amazing jobs, you actively tune them out.
You feel helpless.
You turn to the Internet. “Follow your passion; it will lead you to your purpose,” says Oprah. “Lean in,” says Sheryl Sandberg. You think, Well OK guys, I’m dying to follow my passion, but what is it? Which way do I lean? Browsing quotes on the Internet can be inspirational, but in finding your passion, it’s just not enough. Here’s a life hack I wish someone had told me earlier in the game: Listen to podcasts.
If your podcast library is limited to Serial, you’re totally missing out. Podcasts can be an amazing resource for finding out what you’re meant to do in your career. The best part? You can binge listen to them just like Netflix. Podcast and chill. With thousands of podcasts to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to seven that cover great advice on self-discovery.
1. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
In this crazy, convoluted journey to figuring out what you’re meant to do in your career, sometimes you have to bring it back to the basics: What makes you happy? Are you happy crunching numbers? Writing poetry? Watching TV? Reading The Skimm? In this thought-provoking podcast, New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft offer advice about happiness and good habits. In Episode 8, “Deep Down, What Makes You Happy?” the sisters pose the question: What did you like to do when you were 10 years old? Whether it’s arts and crafts or going on bike rides, this exercise may offer some helpful insight into what you’re meant to be doing in your career. Check it out.
[Related: The 10 Best Podcasts Every Woman Should Know]
On the road to self-discovery, it’s easy to succumb to negative thoughts. NPR’s Invisibilia examines all those invisible forces, thoughts included, that shape who you are and the way you behave. In “The Secret History of Thoughts,” co-hosts Alex Spiegel and Lulu Miller investigate the evolution of how psychotherapists think about thoughts and whether or not they have any real meaning behind them. Spoiler alert: You should ignore all those nagging I’m-not-good-enough feelings. They aren’t you. Listen to this podcast and feel differently about yourself and your life.
3. TED Radio Hour
On my path to job- and soul-searching, one of the first pieces of advice I received was “go talk to people.” Informational interviews seemed to be the key to self-discovery. After discovering to this podcast, I now realize what they should’ve said is “go listen to people.” Another NPR big hitter, TED Radio Hour is a “journey through fascinating ideas,” uncovering new ways to think and create. In the episode “The Act of Listening,” TED speakers explain how listening is a source of discovery. If you take the time to sit back and listen—to strangers, loved ones, faraway places—you might just find what you’ve been searching for. If anything, this podcast will get your creative juices flowing and may inspire you to take an unexpected turn on your road to self-discovery.
[Related: 8 Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter]
Speaking of listening and informational interviews, there’s a podcast for that! Slate’s Working interviews Americans with interesting jobs about their day in the life. From a casting director to a freelance chef to a forensic anthropologist, this is your opportunity to learn about career paths of all shapes and sizes without even leaving your couch. Score. You might find a career path you want to pursue, or you may find that some aspect of a career that you didn’t even know existed is right up your alley. Either way, listening to other people talk about their workdays can be enlightening and inspiring. Bonus: There’s a Stephen Colbert cameo.
5. The School of Greatness
What makes great, successful people so great and successful? What’s the formula here, and why hasn’t anyone filled me in? Never fear, former pro athlete Lewis Howes has all the answers. In The School of Greatness, Howes shares inspiring stories from “the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet.” The second-best part of this podcast, aside from the great stories, are the 3-10 minute episodes peppered with inspiring quotes and motivation. In these “Five Minute Fridays,” Howes covers topics like Find Your Vision, Find Out What You Live For, and many more.
6. The Good Life Project
For the inspirational junkie, meet The Good Life Project, a podcast filled with stories about finding meaning and purpose in life. The stories come from people from all walks of life, from “world-shakers to everyday people, every story matters.” For instance, in the episode “Restaurant of Hope,” host Jonathan Fields talks with the owner of Buffalo Wild Wings, who purposefully opened the original restaurant in one of the toughest neighborhoods in LA to create a place where kids and adults could get off the streets. How cool is that. The GLP also introduces mini segments called “Good Life Project Riffs,” in which he introduces ideas and answers questions. Definitely worth the listen.
7. A Leg Up
You know that guy from freshman year English who (according to Facebook) is now in Cali trying to make it in Hollywood? Ever wondered what that life is like? Thanks to eighteen-year-old Adam Faze, now you won’t have to settle for Facebook stalking. A Leg Up is the podcast about making it in Hollywood hosted by a kid trying to make it in Hollywood. Faze has set out to interview people at all levels of the “Hollywood hierarchy,” including Jay Leno (caution: laughs ahead). Whether you’re in the biz or not, this is a great way to listen to successful people offer advice and talk about their path in life, and the best part of all: it’s hosted by someone who is also trying to forge his own career path.
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