Are you feeling stuck in life and don't know where to turn?
“You know it's all of these moments that you it's when you don't think, and you don't over process that life tends to take you in the craziest and most amazing direction.”
Are you feeling stuck in life and don't know where to turn?
“You know it's all of these moments that you it's when you don't think, and you don't over process that life tends to take you in the craziest and most amazing direction.”
When Liam was younger, he was too scared to get on a bus to school in the morning due to anxiety and insecurity. This caused him to miss a lot of school during important exam years. Eventually, Liam had a moment where he realized that he needed to make a change and decided to look up university applications at midnight on the day of clearing. This allowed Liam to apply for last-minute places on courses that couldn't be filled by universities through the normal application process.
Liam shares a few other instances where a little late-night curiosities and impulses led to big changes in his life. Through hard work and determination, he was able to find his place in the world.
This story proves that it's never too late to make a change and find your purpose. With the right mindset, you can take control of your life and create the future you want. So don't wait any longer - take that first step today!
Liam is an award-winning freelance podcast producer, Audio Director at The Podcast Boutique, and co-creator of Emmeline, a brand-new podcast network supporting female and non-binary podcasters. His passion for audio began in hospital radio, which remains to this day as he volunteers for the Hospital Broadcasting Association in the UK. In a past life, he was an Oscars expert, film critic, and banker, but now he is a proud husband and dad of two fur babies, looking forward to starting a human family as they go through the adoption process.
LinkedIn: Liam Heffernan | LinkedIn
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[Matt Gilhooly] I'm Matt Gilhooly, and this is the life shift candid conversations about the pivotal moments that have changed lives forever. Hello my friends, welcome to the Life Shift podcast. I am here with Liam and I think you're in another country. [Liam Heffernan] Yes, if the accent doesn't give it away, I'm all the way over in the UK. [Matt Gilhooly] Well, welcome to the life shift. We've been talking for a while to get you on the show and and our connection actually started on LinkedIn and I I guess I was just following you because you are in the podcasting space and I saw you make a post saying I want to. Essentially, it was like, I want to be more vulnerable or I want to get out there and just start sharing my story in front of the microphone, you know, like or not in front, but I guess behind the microphone and kind of put yourself out there. So I was like, hey, come on over. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah. And do you know what it's, it's such an isolating career working in podcasting. And often, you know, people think because it's podcasting because it's broadcasting that. Anyone who works in podcasting is so comfortable and so, so good, you know, in front of the mic and, you know, public speaking and and and all that jazz and that's, you know, that's not the case. Most of us who work in podcasting are actually very quiet introverts that just like to sit in a dark room on our own all day and not talk to anyone. [Matt Gilhooly] I I agree. And I think a lot of people don't really realize that, right? They think that they open their podcasting application and they play it and they're thinking it's just someone sitting in front of a microphone just talking to someone else. There's a lot of work that goes behind a podcast. [Liam Heffernan] There's so much work. And you know, kudos to everyone that works in podcasting. You are unsung heroes for all of the the hours of just sifting through arms and arms, and no doubt that you're going to have a lot of that in this episode as well. Which the listener. Obviously one here, but you know, I think as well hosting a podcast, it's such, it's such a talent and people don't realise that because generally podcast hosts make it look so easy, you know? And and you as well like the the episodes of, you know, anyone that's listened to this podcast before, it probably sounds so seamless and just so, so natural. And that's mainly because you get some awesome guests on, but also because of all the work you do to make it sound like that. [Matt Gilhooly] I appreciated that. And for anyone listening, I didn't pay him to say that. So this is this is a really good a boost, an ego boost. But anyway, so I'm so glad that you came on today, because I think that your story will resonate with a lot of people, or it will help people that are still searching, right? Because you know, your story is really about falling into something or finding something that really just lit your fire and filled your cup and kind of changed your entire life. By finding that. So before you you know, kind of hint us in on that can you give us a little bit of of kind of like what your life was before you you hit that life shift? [Liam Heffernan] Yeah of course. I mean I guess I've I've always defined myself by the fact that I'm I'm an introvert. I'm, I'm painfully shy and quite quite socially awkward and quite anxious and that's really how I remember my childhood and all the years before you know, this, this shift. And I remember being this kid who was too scared to get on a bus to school in the morning. So I would, you know, I was, I I was quite truant. You know, I missed a lot of school during sort of really important exam years because that anxiety just took hold and I was too shy and I just for no reason besides the fact that I just, I felt very insecure in myself. I couldn't get on a bus, you know, and and just go that half an hour journey to school and and that, you know, that that was quite a big deal and. And it got to a point in my life, and I think it was when, you know, everyone around me had had had left secondary school or or high school. You know, they were going off to university and college and doing their thing and kind of making their life for themselves. And I was sort of stuck. At home in the same town, just kind of working at a bank that my mum got me a job at because it was, you know, better than not having a job while I figured out what I wanted to do and there was just. It got to a point where you kind of realise, OK, like something, something has to change and you've you've got to it. It reaches a sort of impasse where you've got to force that change and even if you're not comfortable doing it, you've got to pivot and just go in another direction. And see where life takes you and and that's really. The purpose of that's that's really what informs that, that that big shift in my life [Matt Gilhooly] was there like a moment where it was like this is enough where you cause I mean growing up if you're you know so anxious to the point of not going to school and not doing the things that maybe everyone else around you is doing, not that you should have to do what everyone else around you is doing. I'll put that out there but was there a point where you were working at this bank day in and day out doing you know just kind of. Going through life as it was. Was there something that like triggered you to be like OK this is enough. [Liam Heffernan] I I think you know it's I love hearing about these big stories where people have these like huge epiphany moments and like suddenly life makes sense and they have this clarity and and like that's amazing for people that have that experience. But I I really didn't. It was it's more of a cumulative effect. You know you get stuck in this rut and before you know it you know a year has passed and you sort of have this moment where you take. ******* think you know what is happening and I think for me where it really started to feel like something had to change was. You know, I I didn't just get the job at a bank where my mum worked. She ended up being my supervisor for a period. So it's like. I just felt still like this little kid who got, you know, sort of hand held through through life by his mum. And, and I didn't want to be that person. I didn't want to be 40 and still like living with my parents and, you know, wondering what happened in my life. And I think that's when I realized that, you know, those, those changes had to be made. And, and in my case, you know, it was something quite unplanned. You know, I, I had a few days off of work, so I was set at home and I don't know how it works in America. In the UK there's a results day when everyone who's finishing school gets their exam results and. It's at midnight on that day that there's this process called clearing and the organization that manages all of the university applications and acceptances, they, they release a lot of like last minute places. So it's basically all the places on courses that couldn't be filled by by by universities through the normal application process kind of get put out there and you can just apply like last minute. And so I was off work, it was midnight, I was out and I thought OK, let's just. Have a little look, see what's going on, see what kind of weird courses are out there. And, you know, I was looking for things like like, you know, golf course management, sort of really crazy stuff like that. And just to amuse myself and then. I I noticed the course that I applied to a year earlier, which was film and TV production in New York, which is an amazing city. If you're in the UK, go to York. It's lovely. But this course was available and I I I got rejected from it a year earlier. Because I I just didn't have the grades, you know, I was, I was always playing catch up after, you know, being off so much. So I thought OK, let's just chance it apply through this clearing process and within sort of 24 hours I've been accepted and I was getting ready to move kind of 300 miles away and within a month there I was, I was in York starting uni and it was all just, it was all very sudden, very last minute, no real planning and I guess that was the start. [Matt Gilhooly] That must have been an experience in itself, [Liam Heffernan] yeah, because [Matt Gilhooly] the way you described yourself like that. That's a lot of anxiety. Like to pick up and move somewhere else to start something brand new. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah, it's, it's a big change. But I actually, I feel like this would apply to a lot of people out there who are quite, quite anxious and overthink things that I only did that because I didn't have a chance to process what I was doing. And I can say that about several moments in my life. I mean, Fast forward like five years and I kind of booked a plane ticket on a whim went backpacking around the US for three months. I wouldn't have done that if I'd have actually slept on it and thought about it the next morning. these things. I think sometimes you just have to kind of go with that spontaneous instinct and and it can change your life. And, and in my case, moving up to York was the start of that. [Matt Gilhooly] And you were going into radio and television or was that more on the production side? [Liam Heffernan] Yes. So I I was studying film and TV production. So I was always looking for things I could do, you know, little work experience, odds and ends. And I was an introvert, but I I like to keep myself busy. And so I was sort of looking for things that I could do and places I could apply to. To. You know, start getting work. That's really what led to I guess, the life shift moment for me. And it's a funny one because a lot of the guests on your show are quite jealous of because they have these big moments and I'm like that's amazing. They have these great lives and these huge like shifts and and like, I'm, I'm, I'm quite envious of that. For me it was more. This incredibly innocuous thing, but I think it highlights the importance of that butterfly effect and have just like you know, you, you don't realise the tiny moments that end up defining who you are and what you do 1020 years down the line. [Matt Gilhooly] Yeah, this one I mean and and you falling into it too, like if had you not been up at midnight. Right at that moment in time. And then thought, oh, well, maybe I'll just look to see if there's some golf course management courses that I could take or program or, you know, like had you not even done that piece right, the butterfly wouldn't have taken you to to this moment in which you discovered like, wow, this is the thing that I want to do forever. [Liam Heffernan] Absolutely. And like, why, why stop there? We can go further back. You know what? What was it that made me think? Yeah. Do you know what? That's that's the week that I'm gonna have off work, even though. They have no plans whatsoever. What compelled me that day to to and request that time off work. You know what are the events that led up to that. You know it's it's you know you can go back and back and back and back and get so carried away. But I think all of these huge moments when you really like dive deep and and and and trace it back start from this like massively insignificant moment. [Matt Gilhooly] Yeah I mean I think you know it's it's similar to this journey into podcasting. For me, it really stemmed from, I mean, if I kind of trickle it back, just being really bored during the pandemic and and not in the way that other people have started a podcast, right? So I was bored and I was always trying to find something to do. So I started doing digital art and I created a bunch of coloring books and I was like, well, that's not very fulfilling because, you know, there's a million books on Amazon. So then I was like, well, I'm still bored. So I signed up for another graduate degree because I just needed something to do. And then, sure, I could take whatever classes they told me to, but I made a point to choose the classes that scared me the most. And so early 2022, I picked the art of podcasting and we just had to do an assignment. And I was like, well, I'm just going to launch it, right? So it's like all these little things really stem from me just being bored. And now I'm having like the most fulfilling thing that I've ever done in my entire life. So I I get that, you know, those little little moments that, like, what if I had taken a left? Exactly. And [Liam Heffernan] I I loved the fact that that this whole podcast sort of stemmed from a a university project. And I also love that you were able to take the art of podcasting as as a module like I do you know what as a bit of a tangent I'm so baffled that kind of admire the the the US like college system because you guys kind of pick a major and then just kind of you can do whatever you want like over that. Then three years like the UK is so much more rigid like you pick a course and and that's it. That's what you study for three years like you you go there to do whatever and you can go off and and. And do like the art of podcasting as like a side thing. Like that's amazing to me. [Matt Gilhooly] Yeah. I mean, I think there's good and bad to it, right? I mean, we have typical university age. You're, you know, you go in at 18. What do you really know? What do you really know about what you want to do except for what you've seen your family members do or the people that you idolize do? And then you get in and then you sign up for a degree program in hospitality management and you're like, I don't want to do this, right. And so, yeah, we do have these choices, but sometimes it takes us in like we have, you know, 20 different classes that don't relate to anything. So when we get out, we're kind of screwed as well. So there's a there's a good and bad to [Liam Heffernan] it. Yeah, I guess. But I, I love that, though. I love that you have that choice up to like that late in life because like over here, like even by 16, once you do that first set of exams, you then have to narrow your academic studies to like 4 courses. And some people pick like, you know, maths, English, chemistry, whatever other people might pick, you know, business, media, but you're narrowing already at 16. When I really don't know if we're like like self aware enough at that age to know exactly what path we want to go on. I don't know if we should be narrowing our academic options down to just like 4 subjects. [Matt Gilhooly] Yeah, and I can imagine like Someone Like You described your childhood. There's a lot of anxiety in that because I think, you know, having had anxiety throughout my life and always thinking what if or what if this happens, you know, and so I'm, I'm imagining at 16, they're like, OK, pick what you want to do for the rest of your life. Good luck. I would be like, well, what if I did this and then this happened and then this happened. So you're right. That's that's really challenging. And we do have the freedom here to kind of choose and change. I think I changed my major. My first my bachelors degree. Like four or five, six times because you don't [Liam Heffernan] know. Yeah, that's [Matt Gilhooly] amazing. You also waste a lot of money doing a lot of classes. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah. I mean, we do have the luxury of of not having tuition fees as high as you do. [Matt Gilhooly] Well, there's that too. Yeah, we have some good options. I will say when I was going to school 20 years ago. It was. I was, it was free for me because I I was the student that did as as well as they could on everything to get the free ride. So thankful for that. This one I paid for. But I'm older now. I can do that. That's fine. But we'll go back to your story because because I want to hear like how you fell into what fills your cup like what really just drives you every day and and kind of has changed your life. Right. [Liam Heffernan] Yes. So I guess this feeds into. That, that, that, that sort of life shift moment for me was because and you know, as you know as a kid, very anxious, very kind of unsure of myself, really lacking in confidence and moving to uni was the 1st. Step for me to to and this is gonna sound very kind of emo very teenage angst but I didn't know who I was you know and it I I think going to university was as much a process of me kind of figuring out what I wanna do as it was you know trying to get a job you know first year of that I was I was terrified you know every every day I'd go back to to to my bedroom and and I'd just be kind of sat there like what am I doing like I don't belong here. Everyone else is like making friends and and you know building these big support networks and here I am like going back to my room on my own every night and and you know I I felt so out of place and I'm sure that I'm not an exception. I'm sure so many people who who make this big change you know at 18 and and move away from home and start this life at college or university or or wherever have that moment and you know I guess partly it's imposter syndrome. You know you're there when you're studying and you're suddenly given this independence you know. Academically and financially to kind of manage your own life and you just think like wow like I've I I can't handle this. I am not meant to deal with this right now. And so it's a huge learning curve and there were times when I definitely felt like I just, I'm not meant to be here and I'm going to go home. And I came very, very close to just packing up and and coming home during my first semester. What really changed for me was a pretty. Innocuous e-mail that I sent to one of the faculty members. He worked in radio. He he was sort of quite active in the media and he sort of he's one of these more of a part-time lecturer. He'd come in and do some practical sessions with us. And so I dropped him an e-mail and I you know I said Roy Roy player was his name. And if he ever listens to this or someone who knows him ever listens to this then Roy needs to know that that this guy has basically changed my life and he doesn't even realize it. I sent him an e-mail and. I just said, you know, have you got any suggestions? I wanna, I wanna do something. I wanna, I wanna just try and get some work or keep myself busy or something. And he emailed back and said, I know a couple of guys who run the local hospital radio station. Why don't you get in touch with them and see what you can do. And I don't know if hospital radio is a thing in the US or anywhere else in the world, but they're, they're essentially not-for-profit volunteer driven radio stations that broadcast to a very small area. In this case it was to the local hospital. So it was very local, very, very good cause, you know a lot of volunteers. Would go there not because they they wanted careers in radio, but because they just wanted to do something good for their local community. So hospital radio is an amazing thing to do. You know people you know go around the wards every evening collecting requests from patients so we can give them a a shout out on the the live show in the evenings. It's a really, it's a really amazing way to kind of connect patients with the outside world and it's got a lot of bad stigma because it's like quite you know badly funded and generally the the quality can be you know questionable. But during the pandemic you know when everything was locked down a lot of the time you know people in hospital couldn't see their friends and family. So services like hospital radio became so valuable in in just connecting people in the hospital with their loved ones outside the hospital. So it's it's such a such a great thing. [Matt Gilhooly] Is it more like a talk radio or is it also music and stuff like that or how or is it like a podcast it's [Liam Heffernan] kind of it's so it's it's radio and it's it's most of the time it's. It's 24/7 and it broadcasts a mix of everything. So every, every station has its own kind of identity. But generally it's you know a mix of music, radio, talk radio. It's very much led by the volunteers that are there and and and the content that they want to produce you know and it's such, it's such a great cause and there's there's a real kind of institution around it in the UK and it's a really good springboard for people to get into into radio as well. And that's really I guess kind of goes back to my story. Because, you know, this this little e-mail that I sent to a lecturer thinking, ah, you know, like last ditch effort to kind of do something. You know, that triggered an introduction to the people at York Hospital Radio. And. I, you know, I was saying earlier how people, you know, have these big kind of epiphany moments, and I didn't think I did, but I guess I was partly lying there because when I when I first walked into that radio studio. I did have that clarity. I did have that moment of. Yeah, this is, this is this is where I can shine, and this is where I can really. Be me and and get the best out of myself and and that's where it all changed. You know it was because of going into that local you know hospital radio studio that I kind of stayed at university. It's because of that that I then got work for the BBC a year or two later. It's because of that that I then you know started exploring audio production and a few years down the line moved into podcasting and made the connections that I did and had the career and the life that I have. And when I think about it, it it all just started from that one little e-mail that I sent from my bedroom at 11:00 o'clock at night after a couple of glasses of wine thinking, what do I do? [Matt Gilhooly] Right, what's next was did it, when you walked into that studio, did you feel like a sense of like home, like you belonged there, this was a space or was it more the technical aspect, like you were excited to do that, whatever they were doing? [Liam Heffernan] I think it was. It was definitely the environment, you know, it's. It's hard to explain and I don't think any of us can really put our finger on it, but when you sometimes just walk into a room, you enter just an environment, work or personal or otherwise. And you just, you get it. You just know that you feel comfortable there and there's something about it that just speaks to you. And for me, walking into a radio studio for the first time, that was, that was that moment and I I suddenly knew that that's that's where my life was going to go somehow. [Matt Gilhooly] That's me. I mean that is a big, that's an epiphany moment. That's like. We go back to this butterfly effect, right of like had you not looked up stuff at midnight had you not sent that e-mail when you were just feeling super desperate and like I'm done. I I don't belong here. This I haven't found my space yet you know whatever that means have it. I don't know that I have either but you know like it's that's had you not sent that e-mail, had he not [Liam Heffernan] responded [Matt Gilhooly] like what do you ever sit back and go like where would I be right now had. This gentleman not responded to this e-mail. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah, I mean, it's, it's crazy. And we can, I mean, we we can all just, you know, step back and just take a look at the lives that we have right now. You know, good or bad and just. Kind of think the chances of everything in the universe playing out over the history of time so that every sequence of events happens in such a way that we are here right now doing what we're doing. I mean that's like that that's mind blowing to think of and I don't think we we step back and and and appreciate enough that sometimes we can get so fixated on these these little problems and and our sort of our first world problems. Of you know that the supermarket doesn't have the the right kind of pass that I want for tea tonight and that we we do lose sight of the big things like that. [Matt Gilhooly] And I think it's a it's a lot harder to in situations or in experiences like yours that's a lot harder to to find those moments to see like where each door opened for you and closed. Whereas someone like myself you know I experienced a great loss as a child and that was like. Like, clearly my life was going to change from beginning to end. And that's how I thought. But then I talked to a friend of mine who lost his mother, like around 12, and his experience was completely different, you know? And you're like, OK, it's what we do in these moments and how we look back on them and and what we we find grateful from those moments. And your story is very similar. I don't know if you listen to an episode with my friend Shantall, but she was having a bad experience in school and she was ready to drop out. And she told one of her instructors or one of her teachers, and he pulled her in and was like. You can't do this write 3 poems. We're going to submit that and like just that conversation had he not been there that day she probably would have dropped out of high school. You know so I I love that that you're I mean really your life changed because of that e-mail. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah. And you know what Chantelle story really I I I can relate to that so much. I loved that episode and it just I think speaks volumes about how you know we can we can reduce these big moments in life to to the idea that you know it's it's you make. Get what you what you choose to make of it. But sometimes we we don't know what we're capable of of making out of situations. And, you know we need someone to take us aside and tell us that we've got this or that we've we've we're better than we believe we are in that moment. And you know, I can say that as a terrified teenager who who honestly felt like I wasn't worth as much as the other people in school because they were getting better grades and they just seemed to get things more. You know that. Had better social skills, you know, I felt like that person who wasn't. Capable of the things that I wanted to do, and you just sometimes need someone to say, yeah, you are. [Matt Gilhooly] And here's what you should do. Go, you know, here, let me open this door to the studio for you. What did you do when you first started there at the studio? [Liam Heffernan] I like, like any of the volunteers at our first job, was to go around the hospital wards in the evenings and collect requests, talk to patients. And I mean, that in itself was really humbling because, you know, you talked to people who some of them have just, you know, broken a finger and others are, you know, in more vulnerable situations. Hands, you hear a lot of stories when you walking around the hospital when you're your only job is to talk to the patients. That really kind of brings you down to Earth. And then I take the song requests back from the patients to the studio and we we then find the songs. We had this big kind of a whole wall of vinyl records because it was all these you know donated records, you know these EP's and and it's crazy like people don't appreciate a good vinyl now but we had this whole wall of. Like and I don't know how much those records are worth but they we had like like originals from you know Led Zeppelin and The Beatles and all all these crazy crazy records. But we you know at the time I mean we're talking 2000 and six, 2007. You know radio and podcasting and you know the whole audio industry wasn't just wasn't like it is now. We can make this podcast from our homes now because we have the technology to do so but. Back then, you know, even keeping a radio studio offline, you know, we had, we had a little computer, a couple of vinyl players and we were like, we had to get the record out of the library, we had to queue it up, we had to press the button to start it. You know, everything's like digital and easy now that, you know, running a radio station, even just a small one like that was, was a huge task. And people did that and kept it going for 50 years before I even walked through the doors. And that's that's just just amazing that people do that for free and and spent their time just so they could provide a personal service to the patients that that needed it and and then you know over time they would train me up to do more and and I'd learn how to operate the the radio desk and I'd do some sort of Co hosting duties as and when I I needed to and then eventually I have my own show which was a disaster because I I'm a terrible presenter but I really enjoyed being there. [Matt Gilhooly] Well, and that's nice too. Like something small like that gives Someone Like You the opportunity to learn all these ins and outs, whereas had you got like an internship of some sort or apprenticeship at a big studio, you might have only been. The person that you know takes out the trash or whatever that you know like just a tiny little job but it's like a startup almost a startup environment of like everyone jump in it's time to help [Liam Heffernan] exactly and you know I just a couple of years you know after that point I got a two week work experience placement of of of a huge you know a radio production company in London and it was you know it was unpaid obviously. But I went there and I was basically just running errands for two weeks. You know, I didn't really learn how to do anything. I was just making tea. I was keeping, you know, guests happy. I was running around London delivering flowers to people. [Matt Gilhooly] Right. You weren't doing anything in audio. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah, exactly. And, you know, I think really for me, you know, the lesson that I got from that and I'm, I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to to go into hospital. Radio, because it really taught me that no opportunity is too small. And sometimes it's those, it's those small things that seem not worth our time or just, you know, there'll be no, no value in that and it'll just, you know though that would be boring or pointless or whatever. They're the things where we can find the most value. And, and often, you know, it is better to be a big fish in a small pond because you can make more of a difference and you can. You know, you have more of a chance to do all of those things that you think you're going to get the chance to do at these huge companies. And you know, I think often we, we rush, we want to complete our career and all our life goals so quickly that we we forget to just take those little steps. [Matt Gilhooly] And those little steps are the ones that make that success later on so much more valuable, right, because we've experienced all these things along the way. And I was also thinking when you were telling the story. About like kind of your first task of going to the hospital and talking to the patients? That was probably a learning experience in itself as well, right? Because you were such, you know, were you, you know, as an introvert, like now you have to go to these strangers that are in vulnerable positions, right? And show compassion and empathy and talk to them about, you know, whether they're going to tell their story to you or not. You can't really predict that, I'm sure, right? Some of them don't want to share, and some of them might want to. But did did you learn a lot from just that experience? Did that make, did that change you? [Liam Heffernan] Absolutely. And. Yeah. Just being face to face with people. You know you can't just you can't just walk into a hospital stand in front of a patient and just not say anything. I mean they're like OK who is this guy? He's not wearing a he's not wearing scrubs. I don't know what to make of this. And so you know you gotta say something. You gotta start a conversation and that's that's on you as the person approaching. So yeah it it teaches you a lot of skills and I guess it's much the same for anyone that that that does any sort of live broadcasting as well as you know the the following few years taught me. Is that you know when the mics on and people are expecting you to say something, you know no one's gonna save you so that it's it's on you. You've gotta fill that time. You've gotta start that conversation and say something. Um, so yeah, it's it's it's a steep learning curve. Well [Matt Gilhooly] and so nice it's but in the sense that you're in this almost [Liam Heffernan] safe [Matt Gilhooly] space because as you described this hospital radio, it's you know underfunded and volunteer based and so like. If you're going to make mistakes, I mean, it feels like that's the place that you're allowed to kind of find your way without. Huge consequences. Not to diminish anything that you guys are doing, but it's kind of more of a safe space. Had you gone directly to BC, yeah. You know, absolutely. [Liam Heffernan] There [Matt Gilhooly] probably be a different experience, right? [Liam Heffernan] How did [Matt Gilhooly] you get to kind of where you are now in the in, in what you're doing and share a little bit about, I know you just launched something big in your world, so I'd love to hear more about that because selfishly, I'm super obsessed with the podcasting space. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah. And it was, it was a a long and definitely not straight road to get from from my hospital radio days to where I am now and you know a lot of it involved you know, working back in finance. I left university, I graduated in 2009 and you know, you're coming out of university 21 years old. The, the global financial crisis is just like destroyed everything, you know. There were no jobs, there was no opportunities and suddenly this this idea that we could go to uni, get our degree, come out and just have the career of our dreams. It it it didn't happen. And you know, I'm not alone there. There's thousands of people that were in the same boat and it was tough. It was a a harsh reality check that life doesn't work out the way you expect it to, so. You know, I, I did a bit of traveling. I did a masters degree. I went back to university to do that and did a few jobs along the way. I worked in marketing, I worked in retail. I, I, I spent literally 2 hours working in a call centre and then thought, Nope, that's that's definitely not [Matt Gilhooly] for me. Smart choice. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah. Yeah, there was there was a lot of twists and turns and and but I always knew that I wanted to to to be doing something in the media, ideally in radio at the time. But it was tough the you know the jobs weren't there the money wasn't there and it it's it's hard to get your foot back in the door but I I guess I can never I can never regret that journey that I went on and all those you know odd jobs and those you know sort of maybe choices that I sometimes regret a little bit and think you know as sort of delayed my my career progression because you know again you know going back to these innocuous moments it was it was moving back from university it was going back home and it was you know. Helping my dad on a boring Wednesday to take up the tiles from one of our rooms so we could re floor and and deciding after three hours that we were going to have a break because we were both bored and we like coffee so. We went to the local coffee shop and that's where I met my wife. So, you know, it's had I had I got a job at the BBC straight from university, I would have stayed in York. I might never have met my wife and had the family that I have now. So, you know, life has a habit of just throwing you a curveball and and you don't know that it's actually going to work out for the best. [Matt Gilhooly] Do you think that, I mean, I know you say like you don't regret any of those. Do you think those moments were just helping to confirm what you actually wanted to do like going through finance and marketing and all the things that just? We're just a paycheck to you probably right and reconfirming like I got to find that that feeling that I had at the hospital radio again. [Liam Heffernan] I think we all wish that we can just fall into our our dream job and you know be happily ever after straight away. But for most of us that doesn't happen and I I don't regret that and I don't think anyone else should regret that. You know we're we're going to do some things that we don't particularly want to do and we're going to have some bumps along the road but you're right. This character forming and it gives us the reassurance that that end goal is worth it. And you know, had I not had those challenges along the way, I, you know, maybe I wouldn't appreciate doing the job that I do. [Matt Gilhooly] Yeah. So what are you doing now? [Liam Heffernan] So now I'm a full time podcast [Matt Gilhooly] like that. Loved [Liam Heffernan] it, loved it. You're a natural. Yes. And now I'm a podcast producer, an audio director at the podcast boutique. Must get that little plug in there for my CEO Lindsey, she'll appreciate that. So we've just launched a new podcast network as well called Emiline, which is specifically aimed to represent female and non binary podcasters, which has sort of come at a really good time. You know in the industry, you know we, we, we, we recognize this about a year ago anyway because a lot of the clients that we have at the podcast. They take our women. They're generally entrepreneurs or, you know, business owners. And we kind of realized that there was this big gap in, you know, the podcast charts specifically for female podcasters. You know, you see them a lot as Co hosts, you know, or and you, you particularly see women podcasters in the kids and family section, right. You know, every other genre science, there's like no women sport, there's no women kids and family, all women. So there's this real kind of gendered sort of divide in in the industry. And I don't, I'm, I don't think that's intentional. I don't think any of us, you know, meant for that to happen, but. I think it really highlights how we as listeners. Probably have this still have a very ingrained bias towards the people we trust about certain subjects. And. We really wanted to try and do something about that and sort of level out that gender gap in in the industry which is why we launched Emmeline and there's a lot of other companies out there that are doing similar things and we I think you know credit to the to the podcast industry as a whole. You know I think it's a massively supportive and collaborative industry and I think we're all still. Kind of. We're going through this journey in an industry that's had a spotlight sort of put on it. When we're still very much in our infancy, we're still working out kind of this, the sort of the nooks and crannies and sort of the the sort of the all the minutiae of how the podcast industry is actually going to work and we're still in this massive process of sort of innovation, so. I think one of the natural issues we have in podcasting which we're now trying to address is that of you know fair representation and diversity in the industry and that's something that I think affects every industry but is one that podcasting is particularly keen to address. And I guess we're doing our little bit with Emmeline in in providing a network and a space for female and non binary podcasters to to collaborate and support each other and we've. Keen to find podcasters in those genres like science and sport and business and tech, where women are underrepresented so that we can help them grow and monetize? And that's something that you know, other networks are not really doing at the moment. [Matt Gilhooly] Yeah, that's, I mean that's a, it's a great thing to elevate. Those voices that are not represented, I mean, you look at this podcast, the podcast industry, Super Collaborative. It's just also really interesting because. There's not enough that I don't know enough about it, but it's just like, you know, you can go to 50 different places to listen to the same podcast and like. Only the Super popular ones are the ones that get, you know, the monetization in some capacity that will allow you to pay a bill and but I love what you're doing and what you said was interesting to me that I've never drawn these dots in my life before. So you said, you know, kind of we're drawn to the voices that we trust, right? And so in certain areas. [Liam Heffernan] You [Matt Gilhooly] know, my mom died when I was eight. And I remember distinctly in my teens, my dad came to me and he was like, why do you only listen to music by women artists? And I never really thought about the connection to my mom passing. And like, why I most of the podcasts that I listen to are women LED like all the true crime that I listen to. All women run, you know, hosted, produced those kind of things. I guess I'm just drawn to that. And I think the connection is the loss of my mom and kind of finding that voice or that comfort. So it's really interesting and I and and I like that. You know you're creating a space where these people that are, you know, where people can find these trusted voices a lot easier than kind of lost in the mix, right? You know, because these podcasts exist, but by you creating this network and pulling them together and helping them grow. Then they're at equal playing field. So that was interesting to me to think about that. [Liam Heffernan] Yeah. And I you know that's that's precisely why we're doing it. You know we there's there's a lot of female podcasters out there with some amazing amazing content and I I still think there's a gap you know I think the recent study by sounds profitable which anyone who works in podcasting I'm sure has heard of. So they did a report earlier in 2022 that identified. Only 29% of podcasters identify as female, only 2% as non binary, which means 69% of podcasters identify as male. Obviously that's disproportionate. It should be 5050 and. I, you know, I, I, I think one of the problems is representation. You know, opportunity as well, definitely. But podcasting is so accessible now for people to do that, I think it really comes down to support. And representation, you know, helping those people who are new to podcasting, to develop content that works and to give them the support and the tools they need to grow their show and get it found. Because, you know, discoverability is a buzzword in the industry at the moment, and rightly so. You know, we're at this point where, you know, there's millions of podcasts. So the question isn't can I podcast, it's it's how can I get heard? And and this is where we're seeing this disparity in the industry where you know typically the male podcasters are more established, they have existing audiences and fan bases. So you know they they get picked up by the bigger networks, they get that support that the smaller podcasters, generally women and other non male non white groups. Don't have. [Matt Gilhooly] And now you're creating this space and you just recently launched us towards the end of 2022, right, September. Yes, we [Liam Heffernan] launched officially in September. [Matt Gilhooly] You know, and it's, it's interesting because. You've now created this network where you're helping underrepresented people that have amazing content, probably amazing shows to be seen and heard and it all if we look back. It all stems to. You know, sending an e-mail late at night, it's at all centers around like late at night. It seems that you're late at night looking for for your university position spot, and then late at night sending that e-mail out. Had you not done those things, had you not, had you fallen asleep a little early or had an extra glass of wine? You know, like you wouldn't. This, this life has taken you to help these underrepresented people like. Yeah, crazy making those connections. [Liam Heffernan] I mean, it's, it's mad. Yeah. And, you know, we can think what if? And yeah, you're right. Like if I just went to bed a bit earlier that night. Could have happened. And I'm also very conscious. You know, obviously we're talking about Emmeline and you know, I'm. I'm incredibly grateful for for the position I'm now in in life for doing a job that I really love and for having the opportunity to to to pass that on and help others get their chance in the industry. But I'm also very conscious that you know, I'm I'm a straight white male and you know I I certainly there is a there is an element of privilege in that you know and I I'm I'm conscious that I've worked very hard and I'm very proud that I've worked. Very hard to get where I am. But there's a lot of other people in this world who have to work a lot harder than I've had to just to even get an equal footing. And you know that's something that I think we can all address and we should all be working to change that and that's something that I've I've I I think really informs the work I do [Matt Gilhooly] now. Well you you're you're doing good things and I love that you wanted to be more vulnerable and and Share your story. I think what's great about it is there are so many people that are searching or they don't feel like they belong in a certain space, they're still haven't found what. Excites them. And what I get from your story is like just. Do the little things, do the next best thing that the next thing that interests you. Some of the things that are not going to serve you in the way that you want them to, but they are part of your journey and they're going to help you in some capacity. So I think, I think it's great and it's inspiring that you you are where you are because where you started the story and talking about you know how you wouldn't even get on the on the school bus. So going back to that, I like to end the episodes with like a question, so I'd love. To think about. If you could talk to Liam that you know was skipping school because he was just so not ready to to go to school, what could you say to him now with with all the journey that you've been on? [Liam Heffernan] You know, I think the one piece of advice that I would have given to to that younger me would be that. Nobody else cares as much about me as I care about me. You know, so I can be anxious about getting on that school bus, but. You know why? Why? Why was I scared? There's no need to be scared. You know, I'm the only person who thinks that everyone's looking at me when I get on that bus. And everyone else is equally as self interested as I am, you know? So if I'm scared. Other people are going to be scared of other things, maybe not of getting on the bus, but they're going to have their own concerns. They're gonna have their own problems, you know, so I think. It's so easy to. Get lost in in in your own kind of, you know? Lack of self worth sometimes and your own lack of self-confidence and on all these issues that are going on in your head. That you lose sight of the big picture sometimes. And I think also more succinctly, I would tell younger me to just say yes, you know, get on the bus. Just, just just say, yeah, I'm going to do it and get on the bus and say, yeah, I'm going to talk to this person. You know, it's it's those moments which I, I, I wasn't consciously thinking of where I was like, yeah, I'll just send this e-mail. Yeah, I'll just book a flight. Yeah, I'll just go get a coffee. You know that's that's when you know I I found the career I loved that's when you know I I I went on you know a life changing experience. That's when I met my wife. You know it's all of these moments that you it's when you don't think and you don't over process that life tends to take you in the craziest and most amazing direction. I [Matt Gilhooly] mean I don't know how to end the podcast after you saying that. I think it's it's so profound and something that we all could do a better job. That and I think sometimes we just get way too caught up in our head and worried about what other people are saying when like you point out, they probably don't, they don't aren't even thinking about you you know, and you getting on the bus. So thank you for being a part of the Life Shift Podcast and for being a listener. That's super awesome. I'm. I love that you recognize some of the stories. So thank you for fulfilling my journey and and. Like I said before, this is I've never done anything that's brought me so much joy. So I understand your story and finding that spot. So thank you for being a part of it. [Liam Heffernan] Thank you, Matt. And you know, it's a pleasure being on the podcast. I, I, I don't consider myself a presenter, so I'm sure I've dragged the calibre of your showdown. But I would encourage everyone to listen to every other episode. It's a wonderful show. [Matt Gilhooly] I appreciate that and if you are enjoying the podcast, I would love a rating and review from anyone listening. Apple podcast. That's the best place to write a review. I don't know if it means anything but it sure boosts my day when I get one. So thanks again for listening and we will see you next week. For more information, please visit www.thelifeshiftpodcast.com.