Don’t blame us, reality made us do it.
It was all going so well.
We had settled into a groove of weekly podcast production. I had standardized the audio production workflow and Kelly had crafted some gorgeous social media templates. We had no trouble securing guests and they all loved being on our show. We were getting really positive feedback from listeners and our listenship had suddenly doubled.
But something wasn’t right. Something was off. There was, what Kelly describes as “a wobble” between our branding and what we were actually delivering. The “Rocket Feather” name and visuals didn’t tell the true story of what the podcast had become. The name didn’t really honor the beauty and truth that our guests were providing. Something needed to change, and we weren’t about to change the kind of conversations we were having and releasing.
To be fair to Past Charles and Past Kelly, they had created an enticing name and brand for what they thought they were doing in 2019. Back then, there was lots of zooming energy and shiny newness. There was this delicious tension between the natural world and the attraction of accessible tech. We were loving both our garden and our microphones. Back then, we had the powerful naivete to think our voice is what mattered and that we could tackle all the topics. Bless those kids and their shiny new logo. They didn’t know what was headed their way.
It wasn’t Covid, exactly
Right from the start we were having conversations that went way deeper than the typical podcast interview. Tony Himes made us cry in Episode 3 when he facilitated a gestalt experience for us right on the recording. Claire Louge opened up her own beautiful can of pain and healing in Episode 16 when we thought we were there to talk about her nonprofit leadership.
The emergence of the pandemic and the eruption of pain and protest around George Floyd’s killing did change our podcast. Everything got more important, more consequential. In Episode 35, Hayden Gebler took us into the moment he decided to take a vicious beating so he could leave the white suprmacist gang. While protests were filling the streets in Portland and Phoenix, Rowdy Duncan enlisted us in a collaborative storytelling process that envisioned a future of abundance, health, and peace.
Our little hobby podcast had become a platform that elevated critical stories and crucial ideas. Guests were telling us they felt brave and open in our presence. Both guests and isteners were telling us that the pod was helping them understand themselves and their relationships better. A community began to form around the podcast. It started to belong to others, not just the two of us.
So Kelly and I were feeling the shift of ownership, the change in focus. So we took a couple of cold-brew coffees and a couple of notebooks to the lake. Our original agenda, that caffeinated afternoon, was humble and limited, though. I think the plan was just to work on some new social media templates and languaging; there was no intention to re-brand the whole project. But as the breeze blew off the water and the kayakers came and went, an alignment emerged simply and easily. I think Kelly proposed the new name within minutes. We felt no anguish, nothing but excitement, as the new name and brand emerged. That night Kelly developed the new logo in the time it took me to cook dinner. Something was right about this.
So, to be clear, the name of the weekly podcast is now the HERE.together Podcast. The dot between the HERE and the together represents the pause between the two words that emphasizes them both.
The HERE.together Podcast is part of community of people who are craving:
Rocket Feather Podcast is Gone - Long Live Rocket Feather Creative
Rocket Feather Creative remains the official name of our business on all the relevant state and federal documentation. And it remains the name and brand of our production company. We will continue to produce other podcasts and live streams for our business and nonprofit clients under that name. I will continue to wear my Rocket Feather cap with pride.
What This Means for You
Although the rebranding is because of you and for you, you don’t have to do much. If you are subscribed to the Rocket Feather Podcast, you’re automatically subscribed to the HERE.together Podcast. No big deal.
However, we invite you to accept the rebrand as a call to action. The recognition that the podcast is bigger than the two of us, that it belongs to you and is based on a sense of community and purpose puts, frankly, a bit more opportunity and responsibility in your lap. This rebranding calls on you to engage as much as possible with this project to make it lively, relevant, and sustainable. Send us suggestions for guests and topics. Rate and review so others find and listen. Give us feedback about how we can serve the community better. Because we are 100% HERE.together. We might as well get something done.
MAKE HABITS THAT MATCH YOUR RELATIONSHIP VALUES
In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of developing and articulating a set of shared relationship values. Values are the concepts, qualities, or ideals that we're just not willing to forget or forgo. When a pair of people recognize, share, and talk about important values, hard decisions get easier, more trust emerges, and a sense of teamwork develops. But all that goodness doesn’t show up automatically, we have to work at it, intentionally. It is all too easy to forget our values and stray from them.
A few months ago, Kelly and I spent a morning choosing and honing our current relationship values. They are:
So now we set aside every Wednesday night as Enrichment Night. We still sit on the couch, but we leave Netflix off and instead spend time going over our spending and savings goals. (We use a program called You Need a Budget and we recommend it highly.) Part of that budgeting work includes deciding how to distribute our charitable and political donations (an action that helps us live into another value of Giving). If we finish the financial work, we enrich our relationship further by either playing a card game or watching educational videos.
I admit there are many Wednesday nights that we both wish we could just watch another episode of Queer Eye and call it a night. But because this new habit is linked clearly to a relationship value, we acknowledge its importance and give ourselves to it.
The regular habit of Enrichment night means that we never neglect our finances (which we know is one area that lots of couples fight over) and it means we are supporting each other in being our best selves, most aligned with our lofty values. We encourage all of you to establish concrete habits tied to your values, whether or not you are in a relationship.
What is one habit you will try one that will engage your values? If one of your values is health, will you walk everyday? If your relationship values include intimacy, will you make a practice of breathing together? If a value is beauty, will you commit to going to a museum or gallery every month?
Let us know in the comments what habit you aim to create.
APOLOGIZE FOR THE RIGHT REASON
We are born to screw up. No matter how careful and conscious we are, our clumsy attempts to meet our own needs will combine with our low-grade selfishness and distractibility to cause harm, anger, or frustration for the people around us.
And, because we want to get out of trouble, minimize the damage, and move on, we apologize. We say, “I’m sorry.” We may even do so sincerely. But we notice that the words that we were trained to use from toddler-hood don’t have the magical power we thought they did. The other person is still angry, arms crossed. So we try again with emphasis, “Jeez! I said I was sorry!” Still no good. Partner, sister, or BFF is still hurt and withdrawn.
I’ve made some mistakes in my relationships. I’ve been inattentive, messy, forgetful, and, occasionally, mean or nasty. And I know how quickly I want to get out of the doghouse and back in the good graces. I want to minimize my bad behavior, make it clear that it doesn’t represent me and move on to forgiveness and forgetting as soon as possible. So I apologize quickly.
But I’ve learned how hollow and ineffective apologies are when they come out of my needs to escape shame and blame. All of the apologies that are motivated by my needs are centered on the wrong person. They almost always start with the word “I” and then go on to ask for more emotional work from the person I hurt. “Please understand my intentions, please trust me not to do that again, please forgive ME.”
Fortunately, I’ve found what really works is to apologize with a focus on the person I hurt, attention to their experience and needs, and a determination to lean in and support them. And if you can do the same, even a little bit more, your relationship will repair more quickly, will contain more trust, and be more resilient.
Next time you mess up and realize you hurt or angered someone you care about, go ahead and notice any feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment that come up. Notice any impatience or anxiety that arises. Those feelings make sense - no one except a sociopathic narcissist wants to cause pain or mistrust. Go ahead and validate your own feelings but keep them to yourself. Take a deep breath and ignore them. If you can’t manage this step, go for a walk, talk to a friendly third party, or journal until the intensity of your own defensiveness or fear has lessened.
When you are ready to apologize for the right reason - because you want to understand and be present for the one you hurt - go ahead and give it a try. Then focus on the feelings and needs of the person you hurt. Do your best to make a guess about what happened and how it landed on your friend, sibling or lover. “I’m guessing you’re feeling really X because I did Y. Is that right?”
Your guess might be wrong… you might think your sister is mad because you forgot her birthday when she’s actually really scared about how you swing your niece around the living room. It doesn’t matter that much… In most cases your guess will show your intentions to be present for her and her experience.
When you feel like you understand what is really going on for the other, then you can apologize. “It sounds like it really frightens you when I swing little Josie around the living room. You’re scared I’m going to let go and you imagine her hurtling through the window into the cactus outside. I get it. It would be terrible if Josie got hurt. Thank you for telling me how you feel. I am so sorry what I did scared you. I’ll stop swinging Josie inside.”
Notice that the apology came last, after you made it really clear you understand your sister and her concerns. It doesn’t matter whether you intended to scare her, whether you're sure you have a firm grip on Josie, or whether you think the window is thick enough to prevent Josie from ending up the cactus bed. What matters is that your sister now knows that you know her, that you don’t want her to be scared, and that you are on her side again.
Next time you mess up, do your best to apologize not because you want to get out of your shame, but because you want to understand the other person and want repair the relationship by leaning in and empathizing. Don’t forget to breathe.
Dig Up and Share Your Values
Here's another way we use to make our relationship rock solid
-> Find, dig up, unearth, articulate, your shared relationship values. Values are the concepts, qualities, or ideals that we're just not willing to forget or forgo.
The relationship values we are working on are:
We know we have more thoughtful work to do to always
What are your relationship values? If you are single, do you have other non-romantic relationships that have bedrock values underneath?