On the evening of the 1st September 2023 I went to prominent YouTuber Ali Abdaal’s house to record an episode of the Deep Dive podcast. We had connected via a mutual friend about a year before, and I had let him know I was in London when he mentioned arranging one.
Having seen other friends go on the podcast, I knew it was a big deal and was determined to make the episode happen.
The Deep Dive interview is now live on YouTube and via your favourite podcast app. In just under two hours we cover everything from how to unlock your full potential, the qualities of a top team member, how to avoid falling for addition bias, the four business games you can play, and much more.
I’ve received hundreds of messages from people who watched or listened, telling me which parts resonated. We’ve signed up new creators for my software business and my social media accounts have never been busier.
When you see the video it looks so polished. It’s perfectly set, shot, and edited. Ali is well-researched, incredibly engaging, and he asks great questions. But the interesting part is what you don’t see. The behind-the-scenes chaos that I’ll share with you now.
I shouldn’t have been in London on the evening of the 1st of September. I should have flown out to Fuerteventura that morning for a sports and masterminding trip. When Ali organised the episode for the 1st I changed my flight last minute, to 6am the next day.
I turned up at Ali’s house with everything I owned, planning to shoot the episode and take a 90-minute taxi to Gatwick afterwards, then hang out in the airport until my flight. Luckily, Ali kindly let me stay in his spare room until my alarm at 2am, where I dragged myself up, ordered the taxi, and boarded my flight half-asleep.
Removing brain fog
We started shooting at 6:30pm. I normally go to bed at 9pm. I knew the evening wasn’t my best shot at a great interview. Managing apprehension, nerves and a little stage fright plus a less-than-ideal shooting time meant I had to manage my energy. So I switched my phone off for the entire day. I journaled, napped and meditated. I walked around Canary Wharf, I got my hair cut and sat in silence as the hairdresser did his thing.
I wanted to give my brain the best chance of retrieving stories and making connections on the spot, not getting distracted or forgetting my train of thought from spending the day in emails or on Twitter.
A long lead time
When people I know saw I was on Deep Dive, they asked what strategy I was following. They wanted to see the cold outreach email and find the podcast guesting formula. They wanted to hear the hack. But there is no hack. I met Ali via a mutual friend – an author I’d emailed five years earlier and kept in touch with. The other friend who put me forward was someone I’d spoken at an event with in 2012.
I can’t say that one single email opens big doors, because I don’t think that’s happens very often. Instead, it’s a long time of putting one foot in front of the other, reading books and meeting people, generously keeping in touch and trusting it will lead somewhere.
The surface-level of a stage performance by any athlete, leader or entrepreneur is rarely the full story. The behind the scenes is probably messy as hell, full of lucky breaks, chance conversations and whole lot of consistent action with no promise of reward. But that’s where the real magic takes place.
If it’s not happening already, one day you will feel an intense sense of gratitude to your former self, for putting the work in when they did. You’ll be at complete peace with who you are and what you bring to the world, because you now trust that the results are coming and in one way or another they will find you.