Ep012 - Josh Jensen, craftsman and entrepreneur

The podcast is six months old, and Josh brings the content for the first episode recorded outside

There are many ways to identify Josh. Craftsman, maker, entrepreneur, father, husband, hustler and all around super cool dude, just to name a few.  Check his website, his Instagram and please go get yourself one of his openers if you are from Washington or Idaho. Hell, even if you're not. You will enjoy that handcrafted piece of art for the rest of your life.  I've bought one for my dad and I'll arm my entire family with one before I kick the bucket.

This particular episode was recorded outside, yet another "first" for the podcast.  We did so because our schedules were ultra tight, and I didn't have time to reach out to Propaganda HQ and secure space there. Josh suggested a coffee shop that split the difference between my work and home, and because really, we just needed coffee at 7 am.  Josh is a peach for meeting me so early.

So we sat on the back patio, sippin' 'mericanos, and I got a chance to test the microphone in a new environment.  I'm happy to report a passing grade; no complaints here. To be honest, I really liked recording outside.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't pick a quieter road next time, as distractions aren't necessarily welcome. The sound of birds chirping brought a level of relaxation, which transferred into our mindset and conversation.  It really shook away the formal tenseness that recording an interview can create. 

Josh is one of those guys that you have incredible conversations with, but he is so modest and "lime-light adverse" that you have to sort of stay on him about recording an episode.  For reference, Josh was one of the first people I reached out to when soliciting guests.  Though at best I'm guessing, I believe Josh wanted to see a bit more fit and finish before he jumped on board.  And I'm okay with that.  That makes you better.  It made me work harder to legitimize and elevate the podcast's content.  I have no concrete moment to point to and say, "this is what I did to get Josh to come on the show".  In reality, I just kept checking in and taking the temp of interest. 

Our conversation is the sort of content I really hope to build on as new guests join the show.  We spoke a lot of what makes Amalgam the project it is and why it even exists.  Josh's accomplishments and mindset motivate you to assign a higher purpose to your work.  He donates much of his time, money and energy to other people.  This is what we should strive to be like.  Amalgam's goal is to give the audience the motivation to do something different, within or outside their comfort zone  We really harp on this as the episode progresses, but in a purely positive light.  We speak a lot about "wins" and what classifies them as such.  If you are paying attention, there is a win in every single thing that happens to you.  But the hard part, for everyone, is opening our eyes to what that really is.

I'm thankful for Josh,  and for his commitment to this project.  He joins the ranks of eleven other individuals who have taken the time to contribute content for the world to indulge in, who have all played a part in making this podcast legitimate and engaging for a wide audience.

To each of my dozen guests, thank you. 

Thank you for taking the risk with me.  I asked a lot from these creatives.  The waters were murky, no one could claim complete understanding of what they were contributing to. It was hard enough for even myself to fully articulate, before things started rolling.  Now here we are,  twelve episodes in and the party is really just beginning.

The podcast was always meant to be a living, breathing medium that composed and acclimated after new interaction and stimuli. With each new episode, I learned a bit more, and the upcoming guest was the new guinea pig (aye).  Each person I interviewed wore a smile on their face, chewed through cringe moments and answered my poorly phrased, overly descriptive questions.  They took time out of their day to meet me in person, or they waited until I put my kids to sleep to take the call to record.  The first poor eight souls answered my questions in real time because I didn't have the bloody decency to send them in advance.  Danny, Ep001, had to deal with what I like to call "Whisper Corbin." That man deserves more than the $15 I paid for a few digital copies of his album.  

Some people met me for the first time in the interview.  Some people hadn't seen or spoke to me in over a decade.  None of them had to help me out, they did so because they believed in my goal and that means the world to me.  The feeling of someone saying "yes, I'll join you on your podcast" is a very special feeling. They could have seen the risks outweighing the positives and turned the other way.

I started this project as 2017 was wrapping up, with many questions and little answers. In the last six months, the podcast is not only legitimate, it has direction and a defined processes leading to its goals.  The audio quality has improved, the hosting is legit, the graphics and Instagram posts are essentially automated, the After Effects templates are in place, and the metrics are beginning to provide insight for decisions.  There is an extreme level of patience guiding everything forward.  People expect the show to go on, they are no longer wondering if it will fizzle out as life gets in the way.  The momentum is gaining, and the pressure has subsided.  It helps tremendously that I've got hands on deck ready to assist, whether it's a recording space, the publishing end, or blogging.  Shout out to Propaganda Creative, Aaron the Audio Engineer, and my sister respectively.  Those three have made the show better and have given me the help I needed to remain confident in this project.  Every other guest, from the first to the last, brings something new to the podcast and make it better simply by participating.

Thank you for joining me in this project.  I hope you find even the smallest bit of information valuable. Doesn't have to be everything at once, just one bite at a time.




Ep008 - Danielle Paskewitz from Apex Fitness NW

Sehome High alumni FTW

Danielle joins me after the successful launch of her gym, Apex Fitness NW located in Bellingham, WA.  We go way back, like Fairhaven Middle School way back.  Danielle graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in marketing, but ultimately found a passion for training people with HIIT, or high intensity interval training.  

Check out Apex's Instagram story and you'll see plenty of hard working individuals.  To Danielle, the passion for fitness comes not only from looking and feeling better, but from changing people's lives for the long run.  If you can flip someone's mindset to challenge themselves and work hard week in, week out, you will notice those people becoming more adventurous and more active in other areas of life.  Danielle has seen this time and time again and uses these cases as motivation to build her business.

This passion for helping others extends beyond Apex and the gym floor.  Danielle is also involved in an organization called Girl Strong. The focus of the organization is to bring awareness to the fact that the majority of all coaches are men.  We discuss the importance of coaches in our own lives during the podcast and Danielle explains the purpose of the Girl Strong organization.  This hits home for me significantly because I have a daughter and I want her to participate in sports, but more importantly I want her to receive the positive influence only a coach can provide.  

About 20 minutes into the episode we are joined by the co-founder of Apex, Graham Gribble.  Graham is the strength training and health teacher at Sehome High School and replaced a local legend, Gary Hatch.  Anyone who has anything to do with sports in Bellingham (probably beyond) will know the name Gary Hatch.  Imagine filling those shoes. Imagine not only filling those shoes but having to come up with a new program to replace decades of what was taught before. I mean, I still am doing some of the stuff Coach Hatch taught me and I graduated from Sehome in '05.  Graham has transitioned the program at Sehome towards HIIT and has seen positive improvements in student engagement on a class-wide level.  We jokingly reminisce what life was like when it was the Bigger, Stronger, Faster program.  Not to say that you can't see results from BSF but you might not see the engagement that a HIIT system would generate.

Talking with both founders of the gym taught me a couple things about interviewing.  One, be ready to adapt to a changing environment if you bring more people into the mix.  The more people on the mic, the more opportunity there is to switch gears and leave existing conversational threads to start new ones.  Nothing wrong with that, but from an audience member's perspective, we may have moved on from a subject too quickly and missed an opportunity to communicate a complete idea.

I also learned what may have worked for a previous episode could easily not work for a subsequent episode.  This concept may come across as obvious but it didn't make sense to me until I experienced it real time.  You can draw from your past experiences to help move things along in the future, but don't expect anything to be completely fixed.  This is probably the most attractive part of the podcast for me.  Taking notes, trying to come up with a solution, implementing the solution, and restarting the whole process for each episode after the results are in.  The lessons I've learned from producing this podcast have been so incredibly valuable I'm just happy I finally got around to launching this project.

People are genuinely interested in the progress of the show.  Guests themselves show their support by making the time to record episodes with me.  I'm a demanding host.  I ask the guest to make time at 9PM because thats when the kids are asleep.  Then we record for over an hour and by 11:30PM I'm about ready to wrap things up.  Danielle and Graham have 5:30AM classes to be ready for.  Thats a huge compliment for them to make time for the podcast.

Overall the podcast is as motivating as ever.  The support from folks has been powerful and we have some exciting opportunities for guests coming up.  Stay tuned and keep an eye out on our YouTube channel as I intend to update the content there soon, hopefully.

- CM