Effective Leadership Health & Wellness Article

21 Podcasts for Personal & Professional Growth This Holiday Season

Photo of senior woman taking a walk through London listening to a podcast on her headphones.

It’s that time of year again. It’s finally time to redeem the vacation days you’ve been saving up so carefully. For many people all over the world, these last couple months of the year call for special celebrations. Whether it’s for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or just wanting to take a break at the end of the year, a lot of employees will take the, very well-deserved, time off.

This means that the roads and airlines will be flooded with people. You and your family will probably feel the pressure of cooking the perfect dinner or buying the perfect gifts. Not to mention the chaos that always accompanies family events. How can you manage all of the stress and anarchy of the holidays? The amazing home cooked food definitely helps, but what are your other options?

New research found that 26 percent of Americans listen to podcasts regularly. This growing medium is a great way to absorb content. Furthermore, podcasts can teach you how to enhance your personal and professional life and handle the challenges that the busiest time of the year presents. But before we get into the specific podcasts that are sure to escalate your mood and performance, let’s look at why you should consider listening to them in the first place.

Steve Jobs & podcasts

In 2005 before technology was as smart as it is today, Steve Jobs announced that podcasts would be available on iTunes. At the time, podcasts weren’t widely popular. However, Jobs felt that podcasting was “the next generation of radio,” and like many things, the man was most certainly correct.

It only took thirteen years for the visionary’s opinion to start to become truth. Now audio is fairing well as a content medium. Even school teachers are beginning to implement podcasts in their classrooms. Podcasts are unique because they’re essentially a blend of radio and print. You can immediately listen to a discussion or interview, with the ability to replay it at any time.

Furthermore, the range of topics that podcasts explore ensures that there is something for everyone. From college students to industry professionals, podcasts have a huge listener base. One show can talk about complex scientific ideas while another consists of jovial character work.

Holiday travel is increasing

People young and old journey to be with their family for the holidays. In fact, Americans continue to break the record high for amount of people that will travel fifty plus miles during this time of year. This means that every year, more and more Americans are taking to U.S. roads and skies. Ergo, traffic is getting worse and worse each holiday season. As we know, humans aren’t perfect. This means we’re all subject to a little — or a lot — of road rage at times. While most people aren’t quick to jump to violating traffic laws, many of us will feel anxious and frustrated while maneuvering traffic.

Rush hour is bad enough as it is. The bumper-to-bumper gridlock gets even worse as everyone gets behind the wheel to travel during the holidays. Those who’ve seen helicopter news footage of freeway jams over big cities like Los Angeles and New York, know that heading out of town at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, is not the time you should be hitting the road. But no matter how much planning you do or what odd hour you depart at, the reality is, you have a long road ahead with lots of people on it.

In any case, you should be prepared to entertain your brain, so you can remain cool and composed. Whether you’re driving long distance to visit relatives or taking several trips to and from the grocery store, podcasts are a good substitute for mindless radio chatter and auto-tuned songs.

Stay mentally healthy

It’s important to keep your mind stimulated, even on vacation. Just because you’re taking some time off of work, doesn’t mean your brain should take a complete hiatus. Podcasts are an awesome tool to help keep calm during holiday travel, but they do more than just sooth listeners. During the busiest time of the year, self-care and personal goals often go out the window. Podcasts can be a great way to revive your motivation and help take care of the most important person this holiday season — you!

Not to say that you have to think about work or start tackling your New Year’s goals while on vacation, but simply stay mentally engaged throughout the holidays. Of course, there will be some heated family debates regarding politics or sports. While it’s tempting to channel your inner lawyer during these discussions, podcasts are an easy and fun way to keep your mind sharp, while bringing some new conversations to the table.

There are a plethora of podcast episodes out there that are designed to give your brain a boost. Instead of zoning out in front of the television screen, pick an insightful show and press play. Your brain will thank you for it!

Better yourself by listening to podcasts

By definition, podcasts are a “digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device.” But they’ve become something far greater than just a technological advancement. In a digital age, they’re one of the most convenient and effective ways to stay educated and informed. Learning new things in your areas of interest or hobbies has never been this accessible — quite literally at the touch of a button. Check out a business or marketing podcast to boost your professional growth, learn a new language or keep up to date on politics. The possibilities are almost endless.

Similar to movies or books, there is no limit when it comes to genres of podcasts. They can range from comedy to science and medicine. In reference to Apple’s “There’s an app for that,” there’s a podcast for whichever topic interests you. Notably, there are a variety of podcasts that put a spotlight on self-improvement — an activity that, let’s face it, you can rarely find time to do.

So why not use your time away from work to focus on personal and professional growth?

As you make your way to wherever you’re travelling this season, consider lending your ear to a podcast or two. Each one is different, so if you find yourself disliking a podcast, switch to a different series. Download podcasts onto your smartphone and you can listen to them wherever you please! As everyone settles in after the holiday feast, don your ear buds and digest some knowledge with your food.

Which podcasts spur professional growth?

Many podcasts are geared toward self-improvement. Some educational podcasts encourage resilience and personal growth while other inspirational podcasts prompt professional growth. Furthermore, wellbeing and self-help podcasts can help in both areas in addition to improving your daily life.

To help help you out with your podcast selections, CarRentals put together these visual guides that highlighting 21 of the best podcasts on personal and professional growth — offering a quick summary of the show topic, episode length and recommend episodes to start with.

Educational podcasts for personal growth

Personal care is essential to achieving any kind of success. If you work on becoming a better version of yourself, you’ll see benefits in all aspects of your life. Take a minute each day to learn something new or look at something from a different perspective. Your boss may even take notice of your efforts.

Personal Growth Podcasts List

  • Aubrey Marcus Podcast – Realize your potential with these personal anecdotes about success and failure that touch on finding purpose in life.

  • Radiolab – Increase your general knowledge by listening to the variety of topics explored in this podcast.

  • The Knowledge Project – Make life more meaningful and productive by gaining intuition from interviews with impressive figures.

  • TED Talks Daily – Think outside of the box with the famous TED Talks in audio format.

Inspirational podcasts for professional growth

That promotion won’t seek you out — it’s crucial that you prove why you deserve it. Implement advice from thought leaders and successful professionals, foster your leadership talents and observe the tendencies of different people in the workplace. This way, you’ll have a stronger grasp on problem solving and communication.

Professional growth podcasts list

  • Tribe of Mentors – Get the upper hand at work with business and career advice from the most successful people.

  • Redefining Wealth – Look farther than your salary and learn how to give off a more powerful impression.

  • Claim the Stage – Discover and/or finetune your public speaking skills, which are critical to success in nearly any profession.

  • The Art of Charm – Become your best self and a memorable leader with these tips for mastering human dynamics.

Wellbeing and self-help podcasts

As humans, our mental well-being is often the most overlooked component of daily life. With so many things to worry about, it’s nearly impossible to take a minute to balance out. It’s ironic that emotional welfare is arguably the most important. If you’re not in tune with your emotions, it’s increasingly difficult to find personal and professional betterment.

Well-being and self-help podcasts list

  • Found My Fitness – Obtain strategies to build up your cognitive and physical performance.

  • A Quiet Mind – Focus on creating internal peace and happiness as it will translate to other external areas.

  • The Greater Good – Dig deeper to truly understand happiness and a meaningful life.

  • Untangle – Learn how real people managed to separate themselves from societal constraints in order to improve their life.

  • Selfie – Figure out the best eating and sleeping habit for you along with other obscure aspects of bodily care.

Where to start?

Using these visuals, you can easily reference notable episodes from each podcast series. These are a great place to start as you dive into personal and professional development and hopefully you’ll return to work from your vacation more inspired than ever. A new point of view and optimistic attitude go a long way.

Now that you’re familiar with podcasts, you can continue listening on your daily commute. You’ll peacefully navigate rush-hour traffic, and arrive back at work with fresh motivation. If you ever have a bad day or get stuck on a single task, take a quick break and listen to a short-form podcast.

Continue hopping around different topics until you find your preferred series. Use your morning drive as a time to gear up for the day. You ultimately have control of what kind of day you’ll have, and we believe these podcasts can make a difference. Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.

The future of podcasts

If past growth is any indication of what is to come, podcasts may very well become as dominant of a medium as radio. In 2018 nearly 50 million Americans are listening to podcasts weekly. This number represents an increase of six million from 2017. At this rate, half of the entire United States population will listen to weekly podcasts by 2036!

Podcasts are extremely accessible in that they can be listened to practically anywhere, the most popular being on a mobile device. Other podcasteres choose to listen in the car or at home, possibly through a smart speaker.

With the growth of smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, in homes it’s likely that the amount of podcasts listeners will increase even more. As technology continues to innovate and increase in availability, Americans will, as a result, have greater access to more incredible content.

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