Sydney Weiss, Seek the Joy Podcast
What does “joy” mean to you, and how can we find it? Sydney Weiss, the founder of Seek The Joy Podcast, shares her experience with us on her journey to discovering what joy means to her, and creating a space where one can authentically be oneself. Learn more about how she started, what inspired her to start, and where she hopes to go in today’s spotlight.
Sydney, can you share your wellness journey with us?
In many ways I feel like I’ve always been on a wellness journey. Just like anyone else I’ve had my ups and downs, challenges and breakthroughs, and it’s a journey that I’m still very much on today.
I’ve been searching for a deeper understanding of who I am my whole life, and growing up self-love wasn’t in my vocabulary. I never knew how to show myself unconditional love and compassion. I’ve always been someone that feels everything, and I struggled as a kid and well into my early 20’s. I never knew how to set good emotional boundaries, the idea of vulnerability freaked me out, and I defined my self-worth based on my external achievements.
It wasn’t until I started working with a therapist in college that I began to open up to the possibility that my life could (and should) look and feel different. This was the first time I ever had a conversation about intuition, crystals, law of attraction, past lives, and spirituality. Through our work together I started to open up more to my wellness and healing journey. I picked up a journaling practice and allowed myself to think about my goals and intentions. I began to release the limitations and experiences that were holding me back. It wasn’t easy and there was a ton of resistance (and at times there still is!), and it’s a time in my life that was instrumental to my growth.
I took my wellness journey to another level in 2014 when I began working with a healer and intuitive, and started practicing Kundalini yoga. I allowed myself the space to get quiet and go within, and for the first time in my life there was a willingness to feel it all rather than stuff every difficult emotion down and let it boil over.
In 2014 I started to come home to me, but it really wasn’t until 2016 that my wellness journey kicked itself into high gear. That year I had a slew of health issues - from shingles to appendicitis - and when you couple that with graduating from law school and sitting for the California bar exam, and not passing, I wasn’t in a good place. When I found out I didn’t pass the bar exam in November 2016, the negative self-talk I’ve carried with me my whole life got worse. I was in a space of shame, anger, and embarrassment, and months of not listening to my body, running myself ragged, and being down right mean to myself took its toll.
I decided it was time for a big change, and over the next year I made even more space for myself. I took time to get to know me, peel back the layers to understand and love who I am, and who I wanted to be. I started listening and trusting my gut more, and gravitating towards people and practices that felt more aligned with my joy, and the kind of life I wanted to live. I was in a different place, mind, body and soul and little did I know it was just the beginning.
Shifting my self-talk, moving closer to greater self-love, and taking better care of myself has been fundamental to my wellness journey, and it’s been a journey of patience, compassion, and trust. I’m really grateful for my wellness journey - which isn’t something I ever expected to say! If it weren’t for my journey with my health, getting sick almost three years ago, and having to pick myself up after hitting what felt like rock bottom, I’m not sure I would be where I am today. Life has a way of surprising you and interrupting the path that you’re walking down to put you on the path that is in true alignment with your calling and your joy. My wellness journey has given me a clear understanding of who I am, and an even clearer vision of who I want to be. I’ve developed a stronger relationship and deeper trust with my intuition and my body. There are still aspects of my health and wellness that I struggle with today, but I know I can handle whatever challenges might come my way.
Choosing to openly share my wellness journey through Seek The Joy has been pretty incredible too. It’s allowed me to connect with so many wonderful people who are on their own wellness and healing journey. It’s also opened me up to so many new and life-changing experiences that have been instrumental in my own healing, and I’m so grateful.
Along the way, what inspired you to launch Seek The Joy podcast?
Seek The Joy Podcast is an idea I dreamt up in September 2017 while I was waiting for California Bar Results. It was the second time I sat for the exam (p.s. I passed! Hallelujah!) and I was sitting in my apartment reflecting on the last year. The woman I saw in the mirror staring back at me was different. She was calmer, kinder to herself, and happier. She was no longer the panicked negative self-talker she was a year ago.
While staring at myself in the mirror in September 2017, I remember experiencing this moment of inspiration and excitement. I knew I wanted to start a conversation and create a way to connect with others who had similar stories and experiences. I wanted to build a community and a space to share personal stories, explore our joy, and learn and grow through stepping into our vulnerability, courage, and reconnecting to our authentic voice. That night it clicked – why not start a podcast? I took out my journal and started sketching out my idea. The next thing I knew Seek The Joy Podcast was born.
I love podcasts and I listen to about 8-10 different shows pretty religiously every week. When you combine that with my love for learning about people through listening to their stories, connecting through podcasting felt like a no brainer.
I honestly had no idea what I was doing when I first started, and there was a lot of fear and uncertainty. I was definitely afraid to share my voice, truth, and vulnerability in such a new and public way. As a kid who grew up with a pretty strong lisp and embarrassed by my own voice, I had no idea what I’d sound like or if I’d even sound okay. I have a good amount of public speaking experience (I credit my moot court team days in law school for that) but I had never hit publish on something that could potentially be heard by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. I was so nervous about what other people would think and if anyone would even listen, and it took me a couple of weeks before I started sharing the podcast on my social media channels. It didn’t take me long though to get comfortable with sharing the podcast and my voice, and seeking out opportunities to connect with this amazing community.
For someone who is new to your podcast, what do you hope is the key takeaway after giving an episode (or two) an intentional listen?
So many of us spend our lives running away from vulnerability and connection (me included), and hiding from who we are, what we love, and what really lights us up. I’ve learned that vulnerability and connection are two of our greatest assets, but it takes strength and courage to be vulnerable.
When I started the podcast my goal was to create a space free of judgment to authentically share who we are. Every week someone hops on the microphone with me and chooses to stand tall in their vulnerability and show up just as they are. It’s really empowering to witness. We’re all searching for connection, to be seen and heard for who we really are, and I’m grateful that Seek The Joy Podcast provides the space to do just that.
I really believe that we’re here for love, joy, and connection. We’re here to share our voices and our magic with the world. We’re human which means we ebb and flow, we have moments of struggle, but then we also have moments of profound victory and joy. On Seek The Joy, every episode is a space for real, honest, and open conversation and an opportunity to connect, inspire, empower and grow. It’s really comforting to connect with someone who has been there and understands what you’re going through, and over the last year and a half it’s developed into a really wonderful community of people who are willing to step outside of their comfort zones and show up for themselves in ways they never thought possible. My hope is that someone who tunes in will connect to what brings them joy, leave feeling inspired, and remember that they’re not alone.
In your podcast and overall messaging, you talk a lot about joy. In your opinion, why do you think as society, we have this unstable relationship with joy?
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that so many of us don’t know what brings us joy (and I’ve certainly been there!) because there’s so much noise and pressure in our society. We’re expected to look a certain way, think a certain way, choose a specific profession etc., and along the way we often lose sight of who we really are and what we love to do. We spend so much of our lives trying to live up to someone else’s expectations and pressures that we forget to choose the path that will bring us the most joy. It can be really overwhelming, and with all of the stimulation around us it often doesn’t leave us any space to get to know ourselves in a way that would allow us to cultivate a relationship with our joy.
I also think it has a lot to do with the fact that we get so distracted and caught-up in our to-do lists and this constant pressure to be busy. When you’re stuck in the overwhelm and trying to keep up or stay afloat, it’s easy to lose sight of your passions and what you love. When we take time to get to know ourselves, to get quiet and tune out the noise, we allow ourselves the space to tune in to what our passions are and what we need. When we do this, we allow ourselves to grow into the person that we want to become and choose what brings us joy.
For anyone that might be struggling with figuring out what brings them joy, my biggest piece of advice would be to spend some time journaling. What ideas, people and places inspire you? What were you like as a kid? What did you enjoy doing? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? In my experience, the answers to these questions really help to reconnect to our joy, and cultivate a relationship with it.
On the creative side, what is your advice to anyone who is looking to start their own creative project whether it is a podcast, blog, or another medium?
This is going to sound so cliche, but my advice would be to just start. Whenever you’re starting something it can feel really scary (been there!) because there’s always this lingering fear of failure or voice in our head that says we can’t do it. It can be really intimidating, and sometimes we fear failure and rejection so much that it paralyzes us into inaction. It’s almost easier to stay in a space of fear than it is to allow ourselves to take that leap forward into the unknown to follow our passions and our dreams.
When you’re starting a creative project of your own, start small and break it down into steps so that you don’t get stuck in the overwhelm and fear. I’ve learned that we have to start somewhere to allow ourselves to build momentum. Fear and doubt will pop up, because it always does, but it’s about recognizing it when it does and putting it back in the box it belongs in. Start where you are today, because you never know where it might lead you!
What’s next for you Sydney on a personal and professional level?
I’m so excited for 2019 and what’s on the horizon. My hope is that this is a year of greater collaboration and opportunity to share and showcase more stories and voices through my platform. I’m really passionate about changing the world through creating connection and community, and I want to continue do so through creating and producing content that resonates and inspires.
I have a few different projects in the works this year that I can’t wait to share. In January I launched my first new project, Joy Corner - a new interview style blog series that features inspiring souls, moments that bring you joy, products we love, and so much more. The response to the podcast and its message has been nothing short of incredible, and I really wanted to create a way to feature more inspiring people. I’m so excited and overwhelmed by the response to this new series, and I can’t wait to watch it continue to grow.
Later this year I’m planning to publish my first book, which is something I never saw myself doing! It’s a compilation of poetry and prose taken straight from my journals. This collection will encourage us to wake up to our joy within, all while staying true to our authentic voice. I don’t have a publishing date yet but I’m aiming for Summer 2019!
Creating and launching Seek The Joy was a huge step outside of my comfort zone, and starting and running a podcast was never something I saw myself doing, but it’s truly the best decision I ever made. Working in an intentional media space is the direction I see my career going, and I wouldn’t have known that if it weren’t for the leap of faith I took to start Seek The Joy. This podcast and community has completely altered the direction of my life and career, and this year I’m officially starting my career in entertainment and media. I couldn’t be more excited!
The opportunity to provide a platform and a space to share our stories of vulnerability and courage through Seek The Joy Podcast has been incredible and I cannot wait to watch this next chapter unfold.
To learn more about Sydney and Seek The Joy Podcast, visit the site here. Want reach out to Sydney directly? Send her a note to her email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect on social media @seekthejoypodcast. You can find the podcast on iTunes and Spotify.
Interviewed by Chary
*Thank you, Mai for referral