Are you looking for a way to jump start your personal growth this year? Personal development podcasts have been such a simple and helpful addition to my life. While riding in the car or folding laundry I am learning the tools to create my best life.
personal development podcast junkie
I can’t tell you how many friends have texted me asking “What were those podcasts you told me about last night at dinner again?” I’ve become known as somewhat of a podcast connoisseur which seems a little bizarre to me considering 4 years ago I had never once listened to a podcast.
None of this should be surprising to me though since I regularly say things like “I was listening to this podcast the other day about XYZ and it made me think about…..” I think I reference podcasts far more than is socially acceptable in everyday conversation.
As a mom of two kiddos who is also trying to build a blog, dip my feet into freelance writing, exercise, keep my house from looking like a disaster and keep the tiny humans alive every day I don’t have a ton of time for extras. Just reading that sentence back to myself makes me tired.
If you’re anything like me you spend a large amount of time in the car, shuttling children from one activity to the next. Sometimes I feel more like “chaffeur” than I do “mom” and I know it’s only going to get worse as my kids get older and get involved in sports and extra curricular activities.
I try to treat car time as sacred learning and growing time. Some of my greatest learning moments and biggest epiphanies have come from listening to personal development podcasts while driving to and fro. I aim to listen to things that are not only informative but also uplifting and entertaining.
So why personal development podcasts?
If you’ve been around here a while you will notice I talk about reading, like a whole lot. I partly read for pleasure as a way to unwind. But I also love nonfiction as a way to learn more about a topic or grow personally in some way. There are so many nonfiction books that have changed my life for the better. I tend to consume nonfiction mostly in the form of an audiobook.
When I’m not listening to an audiobook you can be guaranteed that I’m listening to a podcast. One of the main reasons I love podcasts is that they’re like little bite-size books.
I can pick a topic that I’m struggling with or something I want to learn more about and I can listen to a fascinating interview full of practical advice for an hour or less during my drive or while folding laundry. That’s a far cry from the average 8 hours that an audiobook would normally take.
Plus I can divide up the topics I’m listening to on a daily basis so one day I can be listening to a podcast about procrastination and productivity in business and the next day I’m listening to a podcast about the enneagram and relationships.
I think it’s so important to always be growing and expanding your mind. Being a lifelong learner has grown and shaped my life in so many positive ways.
Since it seems like I have a ton of friends who are always looking for podcast recommendations I want to share some of my favorite personal development podcasts. I tend to mostly listen to personal development podcasts so you won’t find any serialized fiction on my list (sorry Serial fans)
These are some of my favorite podcasts and some of favorite episodes.
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You might know her as the ultimate savings guru from MoneySavingMom.com but Crystal Paine is also a momma, OG blogger, best selling author and happens to live right here in the Nashville area (same as me). I’ve followed her blog for years and I love that she mixes sharing all of the best money-saving deals with glimpses into her real life. She started a podcast this year and I love that every week she takes us on a deeper dive into a new topic that readers want to know more about.
Whew did this episode get me right in the feels. Crystal interviews Jami Amerine about her book Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors. She tackles her struggles as a mom and a perfectionist head on. It really went straight to the heart of me when she talks about trying to fix her children’s struggles and coming to terms with the fact that our kids will struggle and those struggles often define their character. If you are the parent of a child with struggles this episode is a must listen.
In this episode Crystal interviews one of my all-time favorite blogger/authors, Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy. They talk in-depth about Anne’s book Reading People which is all about various personality typing tests and structures. I learned so much from Reading People and immediately picked up on the fact that one of my kiddos is a highly sensitive child. Anne’s experience discovering she was highly sensitive was super eye-opening for me and helped me see parenting my highly sensitive kiddo in a new light.
Side note: If this podcast really resonated with you and you think that you or someone you love might be a highly sensitive person I encourage you to check out The Highly Sensitive Person and/or The Highly Sensitive Child.
If you have followed me for any length of time you know that I am a big fan of Lara Casey’s Powersheets. These simple goal planning sheets for people who don’t do goal planning helps me to focus on what matters the most in my life and make sure that my daily actions are aligning with how I want my overall life to look.
Episodes 27-30 How to Set Goals for 2020 Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4
I have used Lara Casey’s Powersheets for 2 years now and love her approach to goal setting. I love that I am setting intentional goals in line with how I want to be living my life and not just resolutions based on what others are doing. Her yearly Goal Setting Series takes you step by step through the process I use to fill out my Powersheets. These podcasts episodes are simply an audio overview of her goal setting process so that you can make meaningful and intentional goals for your life.
If there’s something that I talk about more than my love of personal development podcasts it is my love of all things Jen Hatmaker. I have quoted this very podcast more often in my daily life than I care to admit.
If you’re not familiar with Jen Hatmaker she is an absolutely hilarious blogger/speaker/spiritual leader who is a New York Times bestselling author and has written about a bajillion books (all of which are equal parts sassy wit and graceful wisdom). The For the Love podcast is hands down the podcast you are most likely to hear playing in the background if you hop in my car.
The podcast is split into series centered around a variety of topics and themes. Just when I think she couldn’t possibly come up with a better/fresher topic than what she’s already covered she goes and outdoes herself.
I had a seriously hard time narrowing my list of favorite episodes down to just a few. I could name off over 2 dozen episodes that have had a profound effect on how I think about various issues or view the world.
Ever since I listened to The Gifts of Imperfection on audio during long drives back and forth to see my sister in the hospital (another tale for another day) Brené Brown has been part spirit guide, part therapist to me.
In this episode, she delves into her research of shame and vulnerability. She also dives into her spiritual worldviews and beliefs on the Church as an institution versus her belief in Jesus as a Christian. This entire episode rocked me and made me take a step back and look at a lot of my beliefs from an outside perspective. Listening in on this conversation between two Texas powerhouse women, I really feel like you will emerge on the other side of this interview asking questions of yourself you hadn’t thought to ask before.
Series 8: For the Love of Exploring our Faith Episode 6- Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church with Rachel Held Evans
I don’t say it lightly, this episode profoundly changed and shaped my faith. This aired about a year (maybe less) before Rachel Held Evans unexpectedly passed away. I remember thinking as I listened to this that Rachel discussed her fears and her doubts related to faith with so much wisdom and grace.
She so eloquently talks through the various aspects of interpreting the Bible, how her doubts have then shaped her faith and why disagreeing over biblical interpretation is inevitable and actually invites some really important discussion within our faith community.
“What I appreciate is that when Jesus was asked by an expert on the Bible, an expert on the law, “What’s the most important part of the Bible?” as it existed that day, Jesus, who usually didn’t answer questions like that directly … Jesus kind of preferred to tell a story or to ask another question in response. He was that kind of a teacher that was trying to invite further dialogue.Rachel Held Evans
But when it came to that question, He answers it very directly. Jesus says, “The most important element of the law is, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and all the prophets,” which was His way of saying the entirety of scripture, “Hangs on those two commands,” which is a very Jewish response to appeal to that particular text.
What I love about that is that that is the grid through which Christians should be reading the Bible. That’s how Jesus taught us to read the Bible. That was Jesus’ definition of Biblical. Does it make you love God and love your neighbor better?
So, when we get to the difficult texts, we leave room for disagreement, we leave room for fierce disagreement, we talk about it, we hash it out. But at the end of the day, what moves the needle for me is; am I interpreting this in a way that helps me and helps my neighbor love God with all our hearts, soul, minds, and strengths, and love our neighbors as ourselves? That has been pretty clarifying for me in the difficult times, reading through that grid of love. That was the posture Jesus asked us to take, and I think it’s the posture we should take to the most difficult passages.
I was deeply impacted by this interview and it left me even more resolved in my faith. Because as Rachel says toward the end of the interview “I just think the Bible can hold up. I really think it can hold up to our fiercest questions and our hardest questions, and our most significant disagreements. I think it’s strong enough, and I think God’s a big enough God to handle my doubts …”
My God can handle my doubts. I think it’s important to look at the Bible and our faith in ways that stretch and grow us. This conversation between these two women is so precious and I truly think it will deeply affect you as well.
Honorable Mention Episodes-
- Series 06 | For the Love of Laughter: Episode 04 – It’s Okay to Laugh with Comedian John Crist
- Series 10 | For the Love of Parenting: Episode 01 – TV (and Real Life) Mom, Candace Cameron Buré’s Path to Gracious Parenting
- Series 12 | For the Love of TV: Episode 01 – Kathie Lee Gifford: Getting Real with a Morning TV Icon
- Series 14 | For the Love of Good Change: Episode 04 – Give Yourself the Gift of Done: Jon Acuff
- Series 15 | For the Love of Music: Episode 05 – Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott on Grace and Good Friends
- Series 16 | For the Love of Faith Groundbreakers: Episode 02 – Can Faith Withstand Doubt? Mike McHargue’s Journey to Atheism and Back
- Series 17 | For the Love of Health and Wellness: Episode 04 – You Are Worthy of Great Sex (and so much more): Dr. Celeste Holbrook
- Series 18 | For the Love of Powerhouse Women: Episode 01 – Melinda Gates: The Power of Lifting Up Women
- Series 20 | For the Love of Back to School: Episode 01 – How’s College Life in 2019? Gavin & Sydney Hatmaker Pull Back the Curtain
- Series 21 | For the Love of Podcasts: Episode 03 – How To! with Charles Duhigg Podcast Gets Answers to Life’s Burning Questions
- Series 23 | For the Love of Finishing Strong: Episode 01 – Letting Go of the Past To Embrace Your Future: Lewis Howes
- Series 23 | For the Love of Finishing Strong: Episode 03 – From Disney Exec to Dream Facilitator: Dave Hollis Gets Intentional
- Series 24 | For the Love of Faith Icons: Episode 02 – A Faith That Leaves Room for Questions: Andy Stanley
Y’all, that’s a humongous list. This podcast is just so inspirational and motivational. You will hear something that challenges you, touches you or grows you in some way in every single episode, I promise.
If any of these episodes piqued your interest I’m telling you that you’re going to love all of them. There are just too many good ones to choose from. Go here to check the super informative and in-depth show page of For the Love. Jen and her team have done a stellar job putting together the most comprehensive show page full of transcripts, links, and extra tidbits.
Do I really need to give Oprah an introduction? Unless you have been hiding under a rock you know exactly who Oprah Winfrey is and chances are she was one of your very first experiences with the world of personal development just like mine.
Oprah’s Master Class podcast is a who’s who of celebrities, politicians, athletes and activists sharing their stories and journeys and insights into what has made them a master in their field. I find it absolutely fascinating to see how these people who we have known and looked up to for years often got their start as very ordinary kids and often with a background of struggle or strife. If you are looking for a boost of inspiration in your day this is the podcast for you.
One of the most intriguing stories is actually Oprah’s. In case you have never heard about her background this is such an interesting look into her life growing up dirt poor, the unthinkable things she overcame as a teenager and how she became arguably one of the most successful and well-known women in the world.
If you don’t already follow The Rock on social media do yourself a favor and go follow him on Instagram. He’s an incredibly motivating and inspiring individual and of course, his episode of Master Class didn’t disappoint.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers but his story of the coaches and the people in his life who poured into him and truly set him on the path to becoming the man he is today was so inspiring to me. It really made me take a step back and think about how my interactions with others might have a lasting impact on the trajectory of their lives.
Yes, another Oprah podcast. Because she truly is the queen of personal development. In this podcast Oprah does what she’s known for, interview thought leaders, experts, and celebrities about deep and meaningful topics. This podcast is an offshoot of her popular Super Soul Sunday series on her OWN TV channel.
Yup, that’s right. Brené Brown shows up on my list of favorite personal development podcast episodes not once but twice. If you know me and my love for all things Brené Brown this isn’t a surprise.
In this back to back episode Brené talks about her TED Talk on Vulnerability that went viral. She talks with Oprah about her research on shame, vulnerability and connection and how they are all interlinked.
If you’ve never even heard of Bren Brown this would be a great place to start.
Would it be dramatic to say that this podcast has changed my marriage and how my husband and I approach different conversations now?
It would not be an overstatement to say that this podcast has caused Chris and me to have some conversations we wouldn’t have otherwise had, challenged one another to things we wouldn’t have otherwise done and grown our marriage in ways that seem impossible after 12 years together and nearly a decade of marriage.
The episode that sparked a conversation. This one podcast episode caused my husband and I to have some really great conversations about our already good sex life and how a great sex life helps you to grow in intimacy with your partner. This is typically a pretty taboo topic and I love that intimacy in relationships was talked about with so much candor and a heart for helping anyone who hears this episode building an even stronger relationship.
If you are married or in a longterm relationship this conversation between Rachel and Dave is a must listen and will help strengthen your relationship.
Side note: my husband who is not typically a podcast listener of any kind listened to this, appreciated it and it sparked some really great discussions between us.
This episode introduced me to the concept of the Enneagram and how it can help me connect with my husband and really understand him. After listening to this episode Chris and I both discovered our Enneagram numbers (I’m a 9 and he’s a 2) and knowing how we are in conflict and in health has helped us during fights and really changed the way we communicate.
If you have never heard of the Five Love Languages or don’t know alot about them then this is the episode for you. Rachel and Dave interview Dr. Gary Chapman as he really dives into what the love languages are and how they can help you show your partner more love and support.
Honorable mention episodes
- 2: The Relationship is Either Growing or It’s Dying
- 19: Mail Bag Episode – Dave and Rachel Answer Questions About Sex and Parenting
- 24: Are You Showing Up The Way Your Partner Needs?
- 62: Accomplishing the Impossible With Your Partner
It would be impossible for me to choose just one favorite episode. This is the show about everything and nothing, all at once. Rachel and Dave live stream every morning on the “morning show that no one knows, that no one is talking about” and spit words of motivation and encouragement at you while also pondering life’s great mysteries and wonders like Papa Pine.
If you know, you know and if you don’t then do yourself a favor and subscribe now and don’t ever miss a single episode.
I hope this list was helpful for you and that you gain so much motivation and inspiration from these podcast episodes.