A few of my friends encouraged me to start my own podcast a few years ago. It seemed plausible because I like to talk and more importantly, I am a good listener.
It was a flattering thought but I never followed through. I was bombarded with many of my own questions. Who would want to listen to me? Where would I find the time after working 40 plus arduous hours a week in corporate America? How could I afford high-quality recording equipment?
However, during a recent conversation, the idea presented itself again. This time, I gave it serious consideration. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended jobs everywhere.
Traditional and normal will never be the same. If there is ever a time for a career change — there is no time like the present.
When first presented with the idea of starting a podcast, I could not narrow down a niche. What would I talk about? What was I most passionate about? Well, I discovered that I am passionate about life and that encompasses — everything.
Consequently, “Sheree’s All Over the Place,” my new podcast, was born. My positionalities include mother, grandmother, college graduate, actor, business owner, real estate broker, inner-city resident, substitute teacher, and the list goes on.
I did not let my lack of high-quality recording equipment get in the way this time. With my iPhone in hand, standing in front of my bedroom mirror with the door shut, I took a prodigious leap of faith, and — hit record.
My first topic was provided by a friend of mine. He wanted to let women know that it is okay to smile.
I made a few notes about what I wanted to discuss and about 20 minutes later my first podcast was in the can, as they say in show business. I had produced and starred in my very own podcast from the comfort of my home. No makeup or fancy wardrobe required. It was a rewarding experience.
Like all creatives, as soon as we create — anything— we want the world’s approval. I sent the unedited podcast to anyone I thought would appreciate my work. Some people listened immediately and to date, I am still waiting on others to open the attachment.
The more I thought about the impact I could make in the lives of others by sharing my experiences and also having expert guests share their stories, the more excited I became. The idea snowballed into a phenomenon that was bigger than me.
I narrowly thought it was all about me, but quickly learned I was only the vessel by which other people’s lives would be enriched and blessed.
I would be the one to encourage others to start their new business venture, write a book, declutter, eat healthily, make amends, test products, and become spiritually grounded, amongst other things.
I was eager to begin to connect listeners with experts in different fields, present opposing views, and spread love sweet love — so, I thought.
Just as quickly as I became wound up in the idea of brokering ideas and people, I soon became discouraged and asked myself, Does the world really need another podcast?
Despite the positive feedback I received from those who were able to listen to my first production, fear crept in and dissolved my new venture before it could even get started.
There Is Always Room for One More
Later that week, during a car ride with my mother, I decided to key up my new podcast for the honest feedback only my mother could provide. She shoots from the hip, as they say, and holds no punches when it comes to giving advice and her opinion.
After listening to the entire segment and laughing on cue, she said that I can really talk. She was proud of me and said I spoke the truth.
Still not fully encouraged to record more segments, I shared my sentiments. She replied, There is always room for one more. In that instant, a new flame ignited inside of me and I was charged up to record more episodes.
She was correct. There is always room for one more. She further stated that my podcast may be the one that stands out and offers something that others do not.
Her comment made me think of other ideas and people that the world made room for them to exist. It led me to a never-ending game of “What if.”
What if, Tyler Perry stopped pursuing his dreams after so many failed plays. Let us be honest, he could have easily told himself that the last thing the world needs is another play or a funny story.
Award-winning Broadway and Off-Broadway productions already existed. Plays with a moral, starring all-Black cast members did not have a solid lane. He was embarking on a market that really did not exist at the time.
However, had Perry quit, the world would not have been blessed with knowing the spitfire character, Madea, who Forbes estimates the franchise took in $670 million at the box office.
Perry’s tenacity led him to jump-start and resuscitate the careers of many actors. He is now a billionaire and philanthropist. He is known for giving back to marginalized people and communities.
In 2009, he donated $1 million dollars to the NAACP. It was documented as the largest donation ever given by an individual. Forbes, in 2011, named him the highest-paid man in entertainment.
Pretty impressive for a man that used to be homeless and, at one point, could only get 30 people to attend his play.
There was room for one more in the entertainment industry. It was for Tyler Perry. He brought something that stood out.
What if, the inventors of Facebook, Tik-Tok, Louis Vuitton, Lettuce Entertain You restaurant franchise, or the local diner in my neighborhood — had all given up? There were preexisting products and services but they still prevailed. There was room for one more in their fields and what a difference they have made.
Sheree’s All Over the Place
I could go on and on about playing the “What if” game, but I’m sure the point is well taken. Therefore, I have decided to go full steam ahead with my new podcast, “Sheree’s All Over the Place.’ My name is deserving to be among the greats I have mentioned and those I could not for sake of brevity.
My mother had also asked if I would do a segment on mental illness. I told her of course. My purpose is to educate, encourage, entertain, and spread some much-needed love.
I sincerely believe my success is tied to making someone else’s dreams come to fruition. I will be able to provide life-changing opportunities for others if I fearlessly continue on my journey.
While getting dressed, I recently caught a snippet of Tyler Perry while watching Gayle King on CBS’s “This Morning” news program. He was compelling his audience to — dig in. Again, there he was encouraging others to never give up. I heard him loud and clear. It was as if the universe made it so I would hear him. He was speaking to me.
As my mother so boldly and candidly stated, there is always room for one more. This time, that one more — is me.
Written by Sheree Bynum
People: Tyler Perry’s Most Impressive Philanthropic and Cultural Achievements Through the Years; Sophie Dodd
Project Casting: Tyler Perry Reveals How He Ended Up Homeless
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Frackle Media
First Inset Image Courtesy of iphonedigital’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons License