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Listen Up: A Podcast Primer

listenupIn my last entry, I noted how I think podcasts make the best running lists. Not only do you not have to worry about shuffling through thousands of songs in your playlist, but they can be quite educational as well. Since I never paid much attention in school, I am trying to do anything to get caught up now. Running also allows you to clear your mind and open it up, so might as well fill it up with some knowledge while it’s open. It’s also easier to regulate your pace with people talking rather than differences in music beats. Going from N.W.A., to Mariah Carey, to Neil Diamond is the sign of one helluva party, but doesn’t necessarily translate to 9 minutes/mile (although with N.W.A. you can regulate in a completely different way).

Also, when you find the right one, they can just be downright entertaining. I thought it would be good to highlight certain ones that I think make for great running companions, and also give you a little backstory on them as well. Some of the ones that I like have to do with running, some professional wrestling (you’ll thank me later), and some with current affairs. My absolute favorite ones, however, have to do with Walt Disney World. It is, after all, due to my love of Walt Disney World that brought me to this wonderful group of people at the Joyful Miles community, and subsequently into the homes of millions of our followers (and by millions I mean the two of you, thanks for following)!  The one I want to discuss today actually came to me from another Walt Disney World podcast that I frequent, the Magic Our Way Podcast (which will get their due someday here, so hold the hate mail).

lee2

courtesy hireauthority.com

Regardless of what your familiarity with anything Walt Disney World related is, you at least have some preconceived notions: superior customer service due to overly perky cast members; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime magical vacation destination; extreme crowds full of some of the greatest examples in the human race that there is; and overpriced everything. Bottom line, Disney is a very powerful brand that almost every company in existence tries to duplicate somehow. Their model of not only the customer experience, but also how they hire, train and retain their employees (cast members), manage the day-to-day tasks, and overall operational structure causes companies to pony up millions to try and study and adapt to their own enterprise (most usually fail). One of those sought after resources is Lee Cockerell.

lee1Lee was once embedded into the Disney culture, and actually was responsible for making sure it was carried out on a daily basis. He is a former Vice President of Walt Disney World Resort Operations, and he now uses that former experience to educate people through a myriad of formats. He has written a few books, speaks publicly,  and now has a podcast, “Creating Disney Magic: Lessons in Leadership, Management and Customer Service” to share that knowledge, and how it can apply to anyone in any aspect of business or life in general. If you want to be remotely successful, the tips that Lee discusses weekly are invaluable. Some examples of his topics include: leading people older than you, maintaining morale, improving customer service and the differences between training and development. The best part of this podcast series? All episodes only run about 15 minutes. This is perfect for the novice runner just starting out, or even the seasoned pro that is doing a short distance. I am going to apologize in advance, as this will be the shortest podcast that I recommend going forward (most of the ones I listen to are in the 30 minute to 1 hour range). This also means that Lee is very good at making a point very succinctly. He can explain in two minutes something that would take a more long-winded, overpaid, blogger…um, nevermind. He’s also a Texan, which I have always been fascinated with. Before I offend my friends south of the Mason-Dixon Line, let me throw down some transitive knowledge: I must remind you that Walt Disney World is in the south, and I love Walt Disney World, so I must love the south. I really do love Texans. They just have the best of the southern drawls, and also have some of  the best expressions around. I mean, “I’m fixin’ to go to the feedlot by howdy,” sounds so much nicer than, “I’m going to the slaughterhouse, be back later.”

In all seriousness, Lee is extremely riveting to listen to. You need not be a fan of anything Disney related to be a fan of his or his podcast. Even if you aren’t career-driven, a lot of Lee’s principles can be applied to the day-to-day. Aw heck, it might even inspire you to climb that career ladder, by golly! At the very least, it’s pretty cool to get an insight into how one of the biggest companies in the world operates, and also how easy they make it all seem. In typical blogger fashion, I’d like to bring it back to me. I just recently started a new career in an industry I have zero experience in, and I’m the boss. Lee has a similar background. The man came up in hotels, was brought to Disney, and all of a sudden was charged with running, not just hotels, but also theme parks. Not just any theme parks, the biggest, most successful in all of the world…without ever having done so before. Just goes to show you, the skills you build today may, very well, translate into something entirely different later. I am very thankful for the help Lee has given me so far, and I’m sure he is very thankful to add you to his followers….both of you!

About the author: Robert is a 35-year-old father of a 2-year-old boy, with another, yet-to-be determined baby on the way! As a total Disney nut who loves to travel, he started running to get in shape, but now he takes vacations so he can run races with the other crazy Joyful Miles ladies! He also loves useless trivia and has a vast knowledge of TV. Go ahead. Ask him anything about Seinfeld!

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