I’m absolutely delighted to be recording this episode today; this is part two of a series where I share with you my experience of being nominated for an award for this podcast.
In Part 1, I shared my experiences with the nomination process and my thought processes leading up to the event. I had A LOT of mind drama before the event.
Now, in Part 2, I’ll be sharing my experience of the entire day and night of the event along with the predominant thoughts that came up for me during or immediately afterwards. Finally, I’ll share some of my post-event musings and a few thoughts I’d like to offer to fellow podcasters.
On the actual day of the event, a Wednesday, I arrived in New York around 7am. I took an Uber from the airport to the hotel in lower Manhattan and dropped off my suitcase since check in wasn’t available until 3pm.
Because I was staying in the financial district, I first made a stop to take some photos with the Charging Bull. Since it was only 8am, I decided to do some sightseeing.
My plan was to take the subway and go to Grand Central Station and take some photos there, do some journaling and maybe even content creation at the New York Public Library, check out Times Square, take a stroll through central park, and also get a good pasta for lunch. Then I would head back to the financial district area because I initially booked a hair blow out appointment for 1:30pm, and back to the hotel for check in at 3pm. That was the plan.
But, when I got to the subway and tried to get a metro card, the machine took my $20 bill and then stopped working. It didn’t give me my $20 back. Sadly, there was no help counter for some reason, the machine didn’t take either of my cards.
I felt mildly defeated and so I headed to a nearby coffee shop, Cafe Grumpy. How fitting, right? Anyways, I had an iced americano and chocolate croissant for breakfast.
While I was relaxing with my breakfast, it started raining. At 9:22am, I got an email that said my hair blowout appointment got canceled by the stylist. The salon said that the earliest appointment was 10am. So I took the 10am appointment.
It was my first time getting a blow out and I didn’t know what to expect. It was overall a pleasant experience, much faster than I expected. I asked for some big loose curls, and that’s exactly what I got.
Luckily, the rain stopped by the time I finished the appointment so I didn’t have to worry about the rain washing away the blowout.
At this point, it was still like 10:40am. I still had a lot of time to kill before checking in. I decided to give the subway machine one more try. This time, I went to a different subway station, and I put in only a $5 bill, hoping to buy a single journey ticket.
Well, too bad, because this machine also took my $5 bill and didn’t give me anything back. Neither a ticket nor my cash back. That was a sign for me to just go sightseeing that’s walking distance. I ended up walking to the Brooklyn Bridge and also walked around the financial district. I also stopped to get a bagel and smoothie for lunch.
By 12:30pm, I was BORED. So I decided to head back to the hotel and chill in their common area. Luckily, the hotel said hey, your room is ready, we can check you in now. And I was like, “YES LET’S DO IT.”
I ended up taking a nap from then till 2:30. For the rest of the afternoon, I simply listened to K-pop music and chilled in my hotel room. And then, at some point, I started getting ready for the event.
And at 6:45pm, my friend / past client Betty, who also got nominated for an award, me and her and her partner , who’s attending the event with her, called an Uber together and, off we went to the event venue in Chinatown
At 6:45 pm, my friend and past client, Betty, who was also nominated for an award, and I left for the event venue in Chinatown, together with her partner who was attending the event with her.
The event was a hybrid one, with attendees both in person and over Zoom. Most nominees seemed to have attended through Soom, and I think there were over 20 people who attended in-person.
The night consisted of: Conversations with other guests at the event, eating a LOT of delicious Chinese food, the announcement of the winners, celebrating the winners and listening to their acceptance speeches, as well as a keynote speech by Thomas Lee, who’s the author of The Bruce Lee Code: How the Dragon Mastered Business, Confidence, and Success, and some entertainment performances by local comedians. There were also photos taken and some book giveaways of books written by AAPI authors.
Now, let’s dive into the part you’re probably most curious about: The announcement of the awards.
The hosts, the founders of the AAPI Association, Lee Uehara and Andy Wang, would first announce the category, and then immediately announce the winner of the category!
My past client and now friend, Betty, won the award for “Best Arts/Creativity Podcast”, which was the first category announced! And let me tell you, I WAS READY FOR THIS. My phone was out as soon as they started the winners announcement. I’m proud to say that I recorded Betty’s entire speech and snapped quite a handful of photos for her.
The announcement of winners continued, category by category. Some of the winners were present on Zoom, some of them were present in-person. Each person was given roughly 2 minutes to give their acceptance speech. There were so many podcasts that I’m discovering for the first time, and I’m excited to connect with the other nominees and winners later.
When it came to the category I was nominated for, which was the “Entrepreneur/Solopreneur” category, I was honestly, really, really nervous. Part of me was like, “Nah, you’re not gonna win. It’s fine, calm down.”
But there’s also a tiny part of me that says, “No, there’s still a chance you’ll win.” To raise the anticipation even more, one of the hosts spent like 5 minutes trying to figure out whether the winner was on Zoom. They kept scrolling through the Zoom attendees and also looking through their papers to double check. Eventually, they realized that the winner was actually attending the event in-person.
They proceeded with announcing the winner for the best Entrepreneur/Solopreneur podcast category. To my surprise and absolute delight, The Side Hustle Club podcast was announced as the winner! Just like that, I went up to the front of the room, took a picture with the host giving me the award, and gave me acceptance speech, which went something along the lines of:
“Thank you, it is an absolute honor and dream to be a recipient of the Golden Crane Award. First, I want to sincerely thank the Asian American Podcasters Association as well as Listen Notes and Podbean.
I also want to wholeheartedly thank my partner, my husband, who supported me through thick and thin. He was actually the person who got me my podcast mic, which I still use to this day, 3 years later.
And to my parents, I want to extend my heartfelt thank you to them as well because I literally went from Asian poster child to an Asian parents’ nightmare when I quit two prestigious careers. But today, I know that they’re proud of who I’ve become as a person as well as the work I’ve created both as a podcaster and as a coach.
And finally, to the incredible listeners of the Side Hustle Club Podcast, thank you. Thank you for listening to the show and for finding value in it. I never take your time and support for granted.
Thank you everyone.”
I ended up repurposing that into an Instagram post as well as a LinkedIn post, so you may have seen some variation of this thank you speed in content form on Instagram or LinkedIn!
As for the physical award itself, the winners will have their name or podcast name engraved on the award, which will then be mailed out to us at a later time.
For the rest of the evening, I engaged in conversations with the other guests at the event as well as with the co-founders of the Asian American Podcasters Association.
I also ate as much food as I could even though there was definitely way more food than the guests can humanly consume.
Overall, I was able to actually calm the hell down and actually enjoy myself after the best Entrepreneur/Solopreneur podcast winner was announced, because I was definitely super nervous leading up to the announcement.
All in all, it was a really lovely evening.
Now, let me share some of my thoughts that came up after the event.
The first observation that came up for me as the night was wrapping up was I realized: There were many nominees, both in-person and on Zoom, who did not receive an award. This observation brought up many feelings for me. The predominant thing that came up, made me realize, “Holy shit. Maybe my podcast is actually good. Maybe I AM doing something good in this world.”
As I shared in Part 1 of this series, one of the thoughts I’ve been grappling with is questioning whether I even deserve to go to this event in New York.
I have been struggling with thoughts of wondering whether my work in this world, through my capacity as a coach and podcaster, was even doing any good. To realize, “Oh shit. My podcast legit went through a rigorous judging criteria process AND ultimately it was deemed as quality work. Maybe, just maybe, Cheryl, you ARE doing something good in this world.”
Of course, I was also ready to embrace the possibility that my podcast wouldn’t be named the winner. That was a very real possibility because I know that every nominee is doing really, really incredible work in this world. And that’s a WONDERFUL thing. Because it means that there’s more and more people tapping into their gifts and leveraging their strengths, personal experiences, honest perspectives, and, their story – to add something to this world.
The way I like to see it is that there’s more and more people doing something they’re proud of, when they become podcasters. And that is just absolutely phenomenal.
After the event, when I thought about how there actually was a very real chance that It wasn’t my podcast that would win, that was also, surprisingly, a very humbling feeling.
Now of course I would probably be disappointed AF because I legit went all the way to New York with a tiny hope that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to receive the award. So of course, I know I’ll be kinda, sorta, maybe very sad if I didn’t win. But it was a reality that I was willing to accept. And that’s completely okay.
Because let’s be honest. An award isn’t going to change my business overnight. If at all, an award isn’t going to magically triple or quadruple my podcast downloads and audience size.
An award isn’t going to 10x my credibility. I still have to put in the consistent time, effort, care, and energy into growing my business, expanding the reach of the podcast, and building a name for myself. An award isn’t going to do that for me. That’s on me.
That said, what an award DOES do, at least what I am seeing it do for me, is that it shifts how you see yourself and your work. And this in itself is priceless.
Another observation that came up for me as I was sitting there at the event, soaking up everything, was that the Asian American Podcasters Association is still a relatively young organization which is only going to get bigger and bigger, and that’s incredibly exciting for podcasters.
Not only will this mean that there’s going to be more opportunities for podcasters to be recognized, but there’s also more ways to find community and feel a sense of belonging in this space.
Think about it: For those of you who already have a podcast, how many people you know, in real life, also have a podcast? For myself, I can only name a few people, and that’s because they’re also doing similar work as me and they’re also coaches and entrepreneurs.
Besides those few people, I think like, 99% of people I know do NOT have a podcast or any body of work that they’re building.
For the small percentage of us who are building a body of work that we’re absolutely proud of, it’s honestly such a good feeling when you meet someone else who gets it.
I’m really excited to witness the growth of the association and seeing more and more Asian podcasters rise up to the scene in years to come.
Finally, I observed how proud I am to identify as a podcaster, both before, during, and after the awards event. Actually, when I was traveling from Vancouver to New York, the US customs officer asked me: Why are you going to New York? And I said, for an event. What kind of event, he asked? A podcast awards event, I said. He then asked: Is that what you do for a living? Podcasting? And I smiled and said yes. He then said, okay, have a good trip and let me pass.
There were also several other instances in August where I proudly shared about my podcast to people who aren’t in the podcasting space or even online entrepreneurship space.
For example, I told the sales associate of the dress store that I got my event outfit from, that I’m a podcaster. I also told the person who did my lashes before the event about my podcast.
Needless to say, being a podcaster is now a deeply ingrained identity for me. I’m a proud podcaster. Creating podcast content is part of my career and work, and I love what I get to do as a podcaster.
And my sincere wish for any fellow podcaster is that they too, are proud of what they do as podcasters. You are a podcaster and you do amazing work in this world through your podcast.
As we start to near the end of the episode for today, I want to offer some perspectives that I hope will be helpful to fellow podcasters who want to become known for the incredible work they do.
If your goal is to be an entrepreneur, a podcaster, and/or a thought leader for the long haul, then you’ve got to keep going. You have a lifetime ahead of you as a podcaster, entrepreneur, and thought leader.
And that’s also why I want us to be open to different tools, perspectives, and options that we can use in different seasons of our life and business. Because different seasons of life and business will require different things from you.
For me, there’ve been time periods where I was so overwhelmed with the many moving pieces of my personal life, and as a result, there have been many times throughout my journey where I wanted to stop the business and what I do as a creator, and simply just rest and focus on my personal life.
But I know that the work I do as a coach and content creator is something I want to do for as long as I am able to do it, and that’s why I really had to adapt and had to work on accepting that entrepreneurship and content creation is not consistent. It will always ebb and flow. There will always be different seasons of life and business. It is normal, if not expected.
That said, if your goal is to be a podcaster for the long haul, you’ve got to keep going. Because for a lot of people who currently view their podcast as a “I’ve got to make this work because I’ve already been doing this for 9 months and I still haven’t seen XYZ results from my podcast”, it’s these seemingly slow seasons that will usually lead the podcaster to leave the game entirely because they think so much about how far they are from 0 to 100.
It’s like, they feel like they started from 0 and they’re so upset that they’re still at level 10, and how that’s so far away from 100. But think about it. How are you going to get to stage 100 if you don’t get to level 10 first?
And here’s a deeper question: If you don’t go through these seemingly frustrating or discouraging times in your podcasting or entrepreneurial journey, how are you going to learn what you need to learn in order to get to the other side?
If you don’t learn how to stay resilient as a podcaster or entrepreneur, how will you get to XYZ goals in your business or podcast? If you don’t learn to manage expectations and release the ones that aren’t helpful, how will you stay in the game for the long term? Because truly, everything is a tool or learning lesson that can help you get to what you really want.
I also want to add: Yes, a lot of times you will question everything about your podcast or your business. And yes, you will probably feel absolutely terrible. But, if you knew you had to go through this to get to where you want, are you still willing to keep going? The answer could be yes or it could be no, and neither is right or wrong. But it is something you have to answer for yourself.
This is also precisely why I hope that you’re proud of what you do as a podcaster. Because it is during those times when podcasting or entrepreneurship feels discouraging, you’re still able to keep going because you genuinely love what you do and you feel so proud about sharing your work. It is these seasons where the proud podcaster will start to take off, whereas others might exit the game entirely.
And the way I see it: building something of your own is essentially quitting the traditional for the exceptional. I truly believe that. Because let’s be honest, at the time of recording this, at least, growing a podcast and building an online business, is not traditional.
Now, for many of us who are immersed in the podcasting space or even the online entrepreneurship space, it might feel like everyone is building an online business or that everyone has a podcast because that’s who we’re following. But if we really take a step back and zoom out, it’s likely that only a few people, at most, that you know IRL, are doing this.
In my humble opinion, building a podcast, paving your own career as a podcaster, entrepreneur, and thought leader. It is an exceptional decision. We truly are leaving behind the traditional to do something exceptional.
This applies to you EVEN IF you’re currently in a traditional full-time career and building all of this in conjunction with your traditional career. You still are diverging from the traditional to create something truly exceptional.
And I hope that we will always remember exactly this, especially through all the natural highs and natural lows that is expected of this journey.
Even on those days where we wonder, “Is what I’m doing still relevant or helping anyone?” I hope that on those days, we stay grounded to the fact that what we’re doing really is exceptional.
And finally, careers take time. Exceptional careers? They certainly take time to build.
For example, in more traditional careers, it takes time to undergo the training and practical work experiences required to get paid and become damn good at your job. Whether it’s becoming a teacher, doctor, massage therapist, social worker, banker, or anything else – I’m sure it took years and years of education and practical training before you ever got paid to do what you desire.
And in the context of your podcasting or entrepreneurship career, it will also take time to hone your skills and become a master of your craft.
For instance, it takes time to cultivate a culture among our audience and to build trust with our community. To develop your own sense of identity as a coach. To sharpen your skills and how you work with clients and how to get results for your clients. To become known for your unique thought leadership. To truly build a uniquely differentiated brand that stands out in your industry.
Exceptional careers take time, and building an exceptional career as an entrepreneur, creator, and thought leader is no different.
When I started this podcast in October 2020, I never dreamed that one day I would receive an award for this show. Now, almost exactly 3 years since I launched the podcast, I reflect on my journey. There were undoubtedly days when I questioned literally everything about myself and what I was building with this show. But with hindsight, I can see that all of that was a natural, normal, and expected experience of building something exceptional, something I am truly proud of.
To whoever is listening to this right now, I hope this message resonates and serves as a gentle reminder that everything you might be navigating is merely part of the journey towards building an exceptional career.
I want to sincerely thank you, the listeners of this podcast, for journeying with me. Whether you are a relatively new listener or you’ve been listening since 2020, thank you. Truly.
Words cannot describe how grateful I am that you are here, how grateful I am that you are taking the time to listen to an episode on this show, and for your support.
I look forward to continuing to create amazingness for you all through this podcast.
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