Name: Sydney Weiss
Company: Seek The Joy Podcast
How did you get to where you are today?
Growing up self-love wasn’t in my vocabulary, and 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 external achievements. My “work hard, don’t play” mentality (I’m pretty sure I just made that up) ran me into the ground. I had no idea what I loved or what brought me joy, and for a long time I thought it was something I had to work really hard for. I wanted to live a joyful and balanced life with greater fulfillment, fun, and adventure. I had no idea how to get there, how to access that joy, and how to make it part of who I am.
In September 2017 I realized it was time to figure out my joy, and I created Seek The Joy Podcast while I was waiting for California bar exam results the second time.
In 2016, one month before I graduated from law school, I had shingles. I sat for the bar exam that summer, and after an intense 10 weeks of studying and anxiety I wore my mind, body, and spirit out. Two months later I had appendicitis, and I was so fatigued I barely recognized myself anymore. When I found I didn’t pass the bar exam I was mean to myself, angry, disappointed, ashamed, and I let negative self-talk take control. It was clear to me that after months (if not years) of not listening to my body, I needed to rest, reflect, and change my mindset and how I spoke to myself.
Over the next year I took care of my health and I started listening and trusting my intuition more. I slowly let go of negative self-talk, I made balance a priority, found refuge in long walks and mantras, and I learned to lean on myself more. I slowly started to shift my perspective from anger to self-love, and over the next nine months I noticed an obvious difference in how I spoke to myself and others.
I sat for the bar exam again the following summer and this time I passed. While I was waiting for bar results I spent a lot of time reflecting on the last year. I remember sitting in my room and experiencing this burst of inspiration. I knew I wanted to start a conversation and create a way to connect with others who had similar experiences. I wanted to build a community and a space to share personal stories, explore what brings us joy, and learn and grow through stepping into our vulnerability and courage. More than that, I wanted to create a space to remind us all that we’re not alone.
It all clicked – I was going to start a podcast, and it was going to be called Seek The Joy Podcast. One night I created a plan and before I knew it I was sitting in front of my computer with a microphone about to hit record.
I really believe that getting knocked down, and learning how to pick myself back up, is how I got to where I am today. If I had passed the bar exam the first time I wouldn’t have learned to slow down and be kinder, gentler, and more compassionate to myself. I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have felt the inspiration to start Seek The Joy Podcast. It’s through discomfort and uncertainty that we grow so much stronger than we would without those challenges. I’m grateful for the roadblocks that I’ve turned into stepping stones.
What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
Seek The Joy Podcast is a community of women and men who are willing to step outside of their comfort zones, show up for themselves, and share their personal stories of joy, struggle, and triumph. Through heartfelt storytelling, every episode features conversations focused on stepping into our authenticity, building up our self-love muscles, discovering our paths, following our passions, choosing love, and seeking joy.
How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
For me success is taking risks, putting myself out there, and owning my vulnerability. It’s about being unconditionally proud of myself and not fearing those emotional risks. I’d also have to say when someone says, “I’ve been listening to your podcast and it’s had such a strong impact of my life” or “I recommended your podcast to a friend.” To hear that what I’ve built and created resonates with someone – that to me is success.
What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
First of all, graduating from law school and passing the California bar exam. I’m really proud of those accomplishments. I’m really passionate about our environment and being part of the solution to the climate crisis, and I’ve had the opportunity to work on some exciting and rewarding environmental campaigns and projects. I’m really looking forward to what comes next in that part of my career.
Without a doubt it’s been incredibly rewarding creating, developing, and launching Seek The Joy Podcast. I’ve built this platform all by myself and to do this alone has given me such a sense of accomplishment. I’m really proud of the community it’s inspiring and creating, and I feel so connected to my listeners around the world.
What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
First, making decisions and rushing into things before I took time to evaluate if it was a good fit. Second, not listening to and trusting my intuition. I made both of these mistakes when I first started the podcast. It’s been important for me to slow down so that I can catch myself before I act before thinking or go against that gut feeling.
It’s okay to say no – you can’t please everyone.
Make your boundaries known, especially to yourself.
Celebrate every stage of your journey.
Before making a decision and saying “yes!” take time to really think it through.
Slow growth is growth – always.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone but you.
What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I’m excited to see Seek The Joy Podcast continue to grow, and I’d love for it to become a household name and instantly recognizable. I’m working on creating ways to connect with this community in person, and I’d love to be able to do that through live podcast recordings and events. I have dreams of writing a book, traveling the world (especially Australia, Italy, England, Switzerland, Hungary and France), living and working in another country, learning French, and diving head first into astrology. More than anything, I want to use my experiences and what I’ve learned to heal myself and others. I grew up with a lisp and embarrassed by my voice, and without even realizing it Seek The Joy Podcast has helped me heal. If I can do the same for someone else, that’s the kind of impact I want to have.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
There are so many people who have inspired me, and I’d have to say Brené Brown is definitely at the top of that list. I was first introduced to Brené and her work on courage, vulnerability, and shame in 2012. She pretty much changed my life. Her willingness to dive deep into her own shame gave me permission to do the same. Her bravery and vulnerability deeply impacted me to the point where I was incorporating her research and teachings without even realizing it. I’ve always struggled with vulnerability, and the idea of being really seen and really heard scared the crap out of me. I’ve always been someone who’s sat on the sidelines, poking my head out from time to time when I felt it was safe, but never willing to jump head first into the deep end. Last year something changed, and now that I think about it I really owe that to Brené and the incredible woman who first introduced her to me.
How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
The path I’ve taken with my career has changed my personal life and relationships for the better. Through all of the changes and the ups and downs I’ve learned so much about life, how I relate to others, and how to treat myself with more kindness and compassion. That kindness and compassion has definitely generalized into relationships with family and friends too. Every conversation with a guest or someone who listens to and loves the podcast has impacted me in a positive way. My attitude towards my life has shifted, and I feel more hopeful and more inspired than ever before.
Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count but I’ve never thought about giving up. I’ve had moments of doubt where I question why I’m doing this podcast and sharing so much of myself. I’ve learned to push past those moments of insecurity and come back to why I started the podcast in the first place. Plus, there’s a whole book of my life still to write! I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to stop after the first chapter.
What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
Uncertainty and not knowing what’s next has brought me a lot of anxiety, discomfort, fear, and resistance. I’m learning to embrace and sit with that discomfort instead of fighting it. I’m learning to trust more and to trust that not knowing what’s next is okay, that unease is part of the process, and that I’ll figure it all out. Sometimes we underestimate just how resilient and capable we are, and I’m guilty of that too. The waiting and the in-between all serves a purpose, even when we can’t see it yet. Despite the anxiety and unease, I’m learning to trust the process and celebrate every part of my journey.
What makes you happy?
That feeling when you’re standing on the beach and the waves are crashing up against your feet. I could (and do) stand there for hours, it’s my absolute favorite.
What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
First, breathe. Second, don’t feel so rushed to have it all figured out. It’s okay that you feel lost and uncertain. Take some time to discover who you are and what you love before you make your next move.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
People think that because I have a podcast about seeking joy that means I’m joyful and happy all the time. I’m on a joy seeking journey but I’m human! Not every day is a good day. The key has been learning to embrace and accept those difficult moments and emotions so that I can come back to my joy.
What is your favorite quote?
“Stay patient and trust your journey.” This quote has been my iPhone background since 2014 and it’s my daily reminder to not freak out! Everything will work out the way that it’s supposed to and when it’s supposed to.