• Hope Sandusky

7 Days of Leveling Up: The 7 Podcasts to Help You Grow

Updated: Nov 21, 2019


Between being a full-time student working two jobs and several side hustles, I spend a lot of time in the car. I've got a mindset on always growing, which means I want to capitalize on every minute I can as an opportunity to learn. Enter the wonderful world of podcasts.


Quickly becoming one of the most accessible ways to learn, podcasts can entertain, provoke and provide insight all from your phone. I've curated the perfect list of seven podcasts, one for every day of the week, that are designed to inspire you. Whether you're looking for something to fill the time during your commute, your lunch break or make the time at the gym go by faster, you're going to find yourself leveling up as you gain insight on how to live your most successful life.



Monday - Girlboss Radio

Every boss babe has read, or at least heard of, #GIRLBOSS by businesswoman and self-made queen Sophia Amoruso. Not a stranger to the triumphs and disappointments of being an entrepreneur, Amoruso is building a media empire with Girlboss, and Girlboss Radio is the must-listen podcast to kick off your week. Amoruso is a charming host; her calm and measured speaking brings a sense of peace to any Monday morning drive, which traditionally is always the one with the worst traffic.


From industry titans like Huda Kattan, founder of Huda Beauty, Piera Gelardi, founder of Refinery29, and so many more, there is a guest that covers just about every industry possible. The questions are thoughtful, it never feels like a cookie-cutter interview and I always walk away with a nugget of wisdom from every episode.


Tuesday - The TED Interview

If there is one rabbit hole I can easily wander down, it’s that of watching TED Talks. So it was with the utmost excitement I felt when I discovered The TED Interview podcast. Hosted by the head of TED, Chris Anderson, each episode feels like listening to a TED Talk on steroids. Anderson is able to go more in-depth with his guests, and he has an impressive array of them to talk to. Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill Gates, David Brooks, Amanda Palmer... the list goes on. This podcast challenges and provokes in a way that very few are able to pull off. You’ll leave with a little new insight every time with your #TuesdayswithTED (not a hashtag yet, but I think now’s the time to make it one).


Wednesday - Almost 30

Inspired by the transition from your 20’s to your 30’s (oh, the hands of time), Almost 30 covers everything you’re thinking about when it comes to big life transitions, and the things you didn’t even know you were thinking about. Hosts Krista Williams and Lindsey Simick are focused on intentional wellness and living a mindful lifestyle, and are able to pull it off without seeming snooty. The perfect balance of laugh out loud funny and insightful, they aren’t gurus and they don’t presume to be.


You get the raw, real conversation that you would probably have with your friends over coffee. I like listening to this one on Wednesdays because I get two episodes instead of just one (Almost 30 releases two episodes a week, Tuesday and Thursday) and it’s the perfect double dose to get over any midweek slump.


Thursday - RISE Podcast with Rachel Hollis

If you’ve looked at any “Best of” reading list in the past year, you would have seen Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face pop up over and over again. The New York Times Best-Selling Author brings us RISE Podcast and features some of the most practical and applicable advice from her and her guests. Rather than speaking on theories, the advice each episode feels tangible and do-able. You’re not just talking about what it would be like to build a business, you’re learning step-by-step how to build it. While some criticize Hollis for her lack of experience, her enthusiasm and down-to-earth appeal makes what she says feel a little more tangible. Taken with a grain of salt, RISE has some real gems to get you motivated towards the end of the week.


Friday - Stuff You Should Know

Ah, Friday. The day of the week I wish I could turn my brain off and just be. It’s the end of the week, and I’m at 98% mental capacity, but I still want to learn. Enter the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Stuff You Should Know covers any and every topic under the sun. If you want to learn about champagne and beekeeping and the Civil War and how the interstate works, hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark got you covered. What I love the most about SYSK is that it dives deep into the things you wonder about but would never take the time to learn, and have it still makes sense.


Even when the conversation covers some heavy stuff (like a recent episode they did over the protests at Kent State), Chuck and Josh’s ability to tell a story and riff off each other keeps you engaged the entire episode. This is the show that keeps your brain flexing without having to hear the “You can do this!” mantra ad nauseam. Plus, you’ll feel really cool when you can flex your knowledge to your friends (like, did you know Pez was meant to be a mint to help people quit smoking?! Am I the only one who finds this fascinating? Alright…)


Saturday - How I Built This with Guy Raz

If you’re a nonstop workaholic like me, the weekends don’t mean time off for you (it’s the busiest working day for me - #hustletime) which means lots of commuting and lots of time to keep growing. How I Built This with Guy Raz is one of the top podcasts for a reason. You’re getting to learn the ins-and-outs of how some of the biggest and best-known companies work. From Dippin’ Dots to Bumble to SoulCycle, almost every possible industry titan has an interview on How I Built This. Raz is a fantastic interviewer and getting the insight of some of the most powerful minds in business is a real treat every weekend. If one podcast is going to keep you fed for a while, it’s this one.


Sunday - Work in Progress with Sophia Bush

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.” Straight off my Pinterest board, these words were spoken by actress and activist Sophia Bush, and I can’t think of any other way to end the week than with the podcast inspired by this quote. Work in Progress with Sophia Bush might be my favorite out of this list. Bush’s conversations are frank and personal as she interviews the people that inspire her.


The episodes feel motivating without being redundant; she really allows her guests to express themselves and speak their mind. Bush is able to navigate the line between professional and personal effortlessly, and you feel like you’re gaining access to some of the most exclusive conversations. This is the baby podcast of the group, starting only a little over a month ago, but if the first 11 episodes are any indication (Bush’s guest list includes Katie Couric and Gloria Steinem, just to name a few), this is going to be the perfect podcast to wrap up your week strong.



No matter what your hustle is, everyone can find some inspiration from this list. Sometimes the best motivation I get comes after kickstarting my day with listening to an episode or two. To quote my Pinterest board again, "Get ready to level up - mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, energetically - it's all coming."

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