Podcasting As a Path To Thought Leadership: How to Find Your Purpose and Share Your Message

Executive Contributor and Host of the Suffering Podcast, Kevin P. Donaldson explores the ascent of podcasting as a medium for thought leadership. Far from just an entertainment vehicle, podcasting is a formidable platform for broadcasting messages of personal growth, community building, and leadership. Find out why in this article.

You should do a podcast! How many times has someone told you this when profound words or a comedic phrase come from your mouth while talking casually with friends. Maybe you have a soothing voice or a quick wit. Those around you may be drawn to your stoic-like wisdom or gravitate to your passion simply by your delivery. Whatever the reason for your family or friends to suggest an endeavor such as podcasting, they see something in you that you may or may not see in yourself. It’s Just talking right? What you’re going to discover if you have the fortitude to follow this advice is so much more!

The podcasting industry has exploded in the last 10 years reaching a creator number of over 4.2 million globally according to Thesocialshepherd.com while connecting to an audience of billions. The numbers can infer that many throughout the world want to connect and find a voice that is similar to their own either by hearing the words or creating content. It’s the potential connections that are created which bring the allure of a possible kinship with either the podcaster or listener that will drive the both to record or listen over and over. It’s a passion project that can be both rewarding or debilitating depending if your heart is in the right or wrong place.

From Tragedy to Talking: My Personal Journey

After a life altering event in 2013 while working as a Police Officer , my life was changed forever when a bullet was volleyed past my left ear nearly ending my life. That bullet, as awful as the experience was, transformed my career path as a Police Officer and sent me on a trajectory of bad behavior, mental health issues, and multiple suicide attempts.

My suffering was a battle that left me broken and without hope. The deepest darkest hole plunging me into depths that are hard to imagine and taking me to places that I’d soon forget about. The only grace that was given was the ability to never give into the demons and face them head on. To embrace that pain and suffering. By running towards my trauma and meeting it halfway, the duration of that pain was significantly less. Hours of and hours of therapy led me to a group of other Police Officers involved in shootings where we shared a commonality and kinship. 

Connecting with others and the loneliness and lack of navigation in my new world, the new normal was found. Talking through the trauma and mapping the unknown and unfamiliar landscape brought about a peace and serenity that through a collaborative effort and willingness to give of yourself to others in the hopes of increasing their toolbox of coping skills learning that the troubles and adversity that were overcome, become your strength. Thus The Suffering Podcast was born, only it wasn’t fully realized until many years later.

The Healing Power of Shared Stories

In late Summer of 2020, during the pandemic lockdown, the idea crept into my head about how I could deliver my voice and message to others with the hopes of finding a path to healing not only myself but others through sharing my experiences with mental health. How could I possibly tell those around me that I wanted to start a podcast. It sounded insane, because after all, who am I? There was still so much work I had to do on my path, would I be an imposter for speaking about a subject I hadn’t fully mastered. All that I knew for certain was the feeling of connection with others experiencing similar troubles brought about a sense of odd satisfaction about how to repurpose the word suffering. Everybody Suffers in some form, correct?

The seed was planted and the message was put into motion. Starting from scratch and immersing myself in the information on the internet about “how to”. The amount of information out there can be daunting which is why the majority of podcast ideas never make it to air. “What if no one listens, what if I run out of ideas, what if people laugh at me, what if it stinks?” All the reasons were laid on the table but no matter what negative reasons crept into my head, the fire in my belly to deliver this message that was stuck inside never went away.

Building a Community Through the Airwaves

When you talk to those who have overcome suffering in their lives, the connection you make is very difficult to break. One by one a community is built of extraordinary people who have some real strength. The audience can feel the pain, possibly the same pain they are experiencing and can relate also finding hope that if they can make it through, then so could I.

Along the way, you meet other like minded and purpose driven people who have a similar passion to deliver a message. Either the message aligns with yours or a separate message, they also have the purpose to reach an audience with their message and create a mission. Through the podcast, I was able to connect with a man whom I’ve known for 25 years but never really knew. Mike Failace came onto the Podcast very early on Episode 9 and has now not only become my best friend but also my brother who knows more about me than anyone outside of my family ever has.

You collaborate with these new colleagues to share information on how they do things a bit differently than you do with the ultimate goal of success. The podcasting world is a giving world, for the most part. Developing relationships with other peers to further your mission and message by sharing and rooting for the success of others. Competition is there but almost non-existent in the traditional sense. No other podcaster is “fighting” for air time and there is enough space out there for everyone. So we choose to work together in a field that is limitless. Individually you can become strong, but none of us are as strong as all of us.

Three years later and here I am, Host of The Suffering Podcast and what a journey it has been. Each week I sit with my best friend Mike and we talk our troubles out. We laugh, we cry, we lift one another up and turn suffering into success. Over the course of this show, I have found that podcasting was born out of a message, but can quickly become a mission. The ancillary benefit to sharing your pain and connecting with an audience is the rare opportunity to meet someone in need. Maybe you see something in them that is familiar to your own personal journey and a connection is made. 

Social media has been a blessing (for once) by way of connecting with audience members. Through this message started so many years ago, there has been opportunity to reach and assist those in need of just a little push to get them through another day. Now that connection that was met with gratitude becomes a bond that is stronger than can be imagined.

Podcasting: A Mission Beyond Entertainment

Podcasting is a journey that will take you down a road that is blurred with unsure footing. The rewards far outweigh the work and time put into creating a product that is polished and shiny. You find a calling, you find a community, you find a life of purpose. Opening yourself up is not easy but in doing so you find real beauty in those you work with, with those you reach, and in those whom you connect. Relationships have been forged out of a simple idea that will never be broken. 

While being a Police Officer was a fulfilling life, Podcasting has connected me to a world that is so far beyond my dreams. I hold to the maxim that you impress people with your success but connect through your vulnerability. 

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Kevin P. Donaldson
Kevin P. Donaldson

A seasoned Motivational Speaker and Podcast Host, Kevin P. Donaldson is known for transforming the lives of audiences. His talks are attended by people of all ages and backgrounds. Kevin's approach toward finding success and healing is approached by embracing your pain and running toward it head-on.