This Podcast Wants to Add More Joy to Your Life
Would you like to join a conversation full of self-love, heartfelt storytelling and connection? Seek the Joy Podcast will keep you smiling and reflective, it’s a must-add to your regular podcast lineup!
Doctors warned Sydney Weiss that she could develop ulcers or lose an organ if she didn’t change her lifestyle and manage stress differently. Prior to graduating law school, she suffered through a bout with shingles. And after studying for 14 hours a day during the 10-week period leading up to the California bar exam, she had appendicitis and was bordering on adrenal fatigue. She was so exhausted during this time that she could barely walk a block around her neighborhood. And yet, Weiss told herself that since she didn’t pass the bar exam the first time, she was a total failure. It was a common judgment during her 25-year relationship with herself.
“I never really knew how to be comfortable in my own skin and show myself that level of self-love,” she says. “I had a ‘work hard, don’t play’ mentality and I based my worth on external factors that I could control, like academics or my grades.”
Because of her unrelenting quest for acceptance outside of herself, Weiss discovered she didn’t leave any room for joy. “I didn’t even know what joy looked like for me,” she says.
New York Times best-selling author Gary Zukov said, “Your pain is an opportunity for you to learn about yourself.” Although the lesson was physically painful, Weiss used it as a teachable moment. It was the first time in her life she was forced to take care of herself. She started walking every day, she discovered passions outside of academics and she made the decision to not sit for the bar exam again right away. She learned what balance meant for her. She stopped when she was tired and listened to her body more. Having the space and energy to heal her body also gave her the opportunity to heal her mind. The negative self-talk decreased and she found an inner peace that had largely been absent from her life.
As a result, she passed the bar exam on her second try.
Because of the profound effect the experience had on her, Weiss searched for a way to connect with others who had shared similar struggles. She couldn’t find one.
“I decided, why don’t I start one?” Weiss says. So she sketched out a plan to begin a new podcast, with the goal of creating a community of people willing to step out of their comfort zones and to share personal stories of struggle and triumph.
Weiss didn’t have to go far to find the name of her new venture. “A conversation with a friend inspired me to make a bracelet with the words ‘seek the joy’ engraved on it. He told me pretty honestly that I didn’t have any joy in my life and that I needed to seek that joy,” she says. “Everything clicked.” In October 2017, Seek the Joy Podcast began airing episodes.
The response to the podcast has been nothing short of mind-blowing for Weiss. Downloads have grown exponentially from the very first few episodes and Weiss has had a chance to speak with influential people around the world. A recent guest on Seek the Joy was Mary Burke who ran for governor in Wisconsin and from her defeat founded the non-profit Building Brave, an online community that encourages women to connect with each other and discover their true selves.
In addition to the regular weekly programming, Weiss also introduced a monthly series called The Power of Storytelling, which features regular people sharing stories of struggle and triumph.
“We spend our lives running away from vulnerability, hiding who we really are. With the power of storytelling, we create a space that is free of judgment and we get to share who we are. Strength and the courage to be seen is our greatest asset. It’s an honor for me to have that space for people to be extremely courageous and brave.”
Weiss says at the core of the messaging is a longing for connection. “We are all searching for that feeling of connection, to remember that we aren’t alone. There is someone out there who gets what we are going through; universal struggles that we think are ours alone. Different moments within every episode and story can show us a glimmer of hope and possibility.”
Working through her own struggles and becoming a conduit for others to share their stories is not something Weiss ever pictured herself doing. “Growing up I had a pretty strong lisp and I was always embarrassed by my own voice. I’d even make my sister answer the phone or make calls,” she says. “To now have this outlet where I speak to people all over the world and have my voice published is really incredible.” At the end of the day, however, Weiss says she wouldn’t change a single moment. “It’s been pretty cool to see the evolution of my own growth through the podcast. The best decision I ever made was having the courage to take that first step to buy the microphone and hit record.”
New episodes of Seek the Joy can be downloaded every Tuesday on iTunes and SoundCloud, as well as the Listen Now section of the website. Each month Weiss also features a special edition of Seek the Joy called The Power of Storytelling. If you have a story you’d like to share, contact Sydney Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the website.