By now, most of you have probably caught on to what podcasting is, even if you've never listened to one before. I describe podcasts to people as a cross between a radio show and an audio book, except in conversation form. You'll find podcasts on nearly any topic you can imagine and, with the rapid advance of smart phones, listening to them has become more convenient than ever.

If you're new to podcasting, let me take a quick moment to explain how they work. Podcasts are recorded audio broadcasts that get stored online. They are aggregated by platforms like iTunes, so people can easily search for the episodes and topics they are interested in. You can play podcasts on your phone or computer using dedicated apps such as Overcast. They are then stored on your device and you can listen to them at your leisure, while driving in the car, working out at the gym, or relaxing in bed.

Now that you know what a podcast is, here are four I recommend for the positive impact they can have on your daily life.

1. The Good Life Project

Hosted by Jonathan Fields, the Good Life Project features a different guest each week. During these interviews, Fields asks pointed questions about how the guest achieved success in his or her life, and what lessons were learned along the way. These conversations are upbeat and inspiring, as Fields does his best to elicit takeaway moments that will resonate with listeners.

Past episodes worth checking out include Seth Godin, Mark Nepo, and Brene Brown.

2. Ted Radio Hour

If you check out any list of the most popular podcasts, they will inevitably be littered with NPR shows. You can't go wrong listening to Fresh Air, This American Life, or Prairie Home Companion. But if you're looking for a show that can both educate and inspire, the Ted Radio Hour is the way to go.

Hosted by Guy Raz, the show takes the best TED Talks and adds additional interview material. Each episode is based around a theme, and includes several speakers, so you'll get a well-rounded take on topics such as creativity, animals, and innovation. The show explores ideas such as astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create.

Some can't-miss episodes include Simply Happy, Quiet, and The Meaning of Work.

3. Tara Brach

Hosted, appropriately enough, by Tara Brach, this podcast focuses on meditation, emotional healing, and spiritual awakening. Brach is a leading teacher of Buddhism, and each episode starts out with a 30-minute guided mediation session. She then speaks for close to an hour on key themes associated with Buddhist teachings.

This podcast is especially useful for helping to stay relaxed and centered, if only because of her soothing voice. There's no need to recommend a particular episode. Just start with the most recent, and I think you'll find it easier to achieve peace and mindfulness if you make this podcast a part of your regular routine.

4. Daily Boost

The Daily Boost aims to help you discover what makes you happy, reduce your stress, and become inspired. The show helps listeners to master the life skills they need to balance their life and achieve greater success. Host Scott Smith specializes in motivating people with his straight-talking style that is both fun and effective. The Daily Boost has been iTunes' most popular Self-Help podcast since 2006.

As its name proclaims, episodes are released Monday through Friday. Again, no one podcast stands out, but you'll probably find that its upbeat tone will become an indispensable daily listen.

Whether you are new to podcasts or an old veteran, these are shows you won't want to miss. And don't forget that if you find yourself in need of more attentive instruction, you can contact me about being your personal life coach. You can learn more about my coaching services and packages here, as well as read client testimonials.

I'm surprised how often people say things to me along the lines of "I wish that I had majored in business but I wanted to do something creative," or "Being an entrepreneur won't satisfy my creative side." There seems to be this idea that business and creativity don't mix; that running a successful business requires a good head for numbers and logistics and nothing else.

The opposite is true of course, and you don't need to look much further than Steve Jobs or Elon Musk to prove it. To be a successful entrepreneur requires a variety of traits, including leadership, determination, knowledge, and, last but certainly not least, creativity.

Nicole Fallon, writing for Business News Daily, says,

"Creativity is a bigger predictor of success in life than intelligence. Most educational institutions and businesses still value intelligence over creativity. This may be because intelligence is easier to quantify, easier to manage, and easier to identify, whereas creativity can be difficult to spot because the most creative people often struggle in school. This makes it hard to discern the difference between a potential troublemaker and a truly creative person, who could bring great benefits to a company if their creativity were properly harnessed. A business should consider hiring for creativity in addition to intelligence."

Unfortunately, for many of us, creativity is something that we believe we don't have. We've been taught through years of schooling and social conditioning to conform, and when it becomes necessary to think outside the box, so to speak, we freeze up. It's a common problem, and one that we can overcome. Creativity, much like any skill, is something we can exercise and train. The more we expect our brains to be creative, the better we become at it.

Here are some tips for how to bring out your creative side.

Question your Assumptions

Once cause of routine thinking is allowing ruts to form in the way we operate, whether as an individual, a team, or a company as a whole. A common refrain, when someone asks why we are doing something a certain way, is "Because this is the way we've always done it."

The best way to break out of an organizational rut is to question everything that you're doing. You will probably find many examples of outmoded methods and plenty of opportunities for improvement. This kind of foundational realignment can lead to all sorts of new solutions, often to problems you weren't even aware of previously.

Block Out Distractions

Outside noise can be one of the greatest deterrents to creativity. If you want to unlock hidden reservoirs of creative energy, you need to turn off all the distractions that can stop you from being focused. Whether it's shutting the door to your office, turning off your stereo, or (most likely) disconnecting from the internet and putting away your smart phone, tuning out the noise can allow your brain to wander in innovative directions.

Get Moving

Sometimes, standing up from your desk and getting your blood moving will help stimulate new ideas. If you're anything like me, then your best ideas come at the least convenient times, while riding your bike, out for a jog, or, (this is my favorite) taking a shower. Not only are you less likely to be distracted by your devices (see above), you're also allowing your brain to roam free while your body does all the work. Regular exercise, whether it's a trip to the gym, or just a walk around the office, can often stimulate great thinking.

Keep a Dream Journal

Following the thread of the best ideas coming at the most inconvenient times, I can think of several occasion when I woke up from a dream thinking, "This is the greatest idea in the history of time. There's no way I will ever forget this." Then I immediately go back to sleep. The only thing I remember the next morning was that I had a great idea. I'd probably be a billionaire by now if I had all those ideas back. That's where a dream journal comes in. Keep a notebook next to your bed, and next time you wake up with an inspiration, write it down.

Hire a Life Coach

If you're looking for a creative jolt, sometimes what you need is an outside perspective to help inspire you. A life coach is someone who can help you generate new ideas and assist in training your mind to think differently. Contact me today to get started on a new way of thinking about creativity!