Five podcasts to leave you feeling inspired in 2019

Ah the podcast hype – the newest way to learn new things, relax and get inspired all at the same time.


I’ll admit I wasn’t convinced at first either.

Firstly, the idea of having to concentrate on people talking, let alone attempting to do this whilst doing something else at the same time, sounded like it would take a lot of energy and concentration.

I struggle to process words very easily. I am that person renowned amongst friends, family and colleagues to hum in perfect pitch to every song that comes on the radio, but not know a single lyric (I must be a fun person to sit next to at work).

Alongside the 2019 societal pressure to keep up to date with the latest books, do well in my job, socialise, exercise and squeeze in that all-important down time to binge watch a Netflix series (Sex Education, anyone?) as well as broaden my horizons with a couple of podcast series, quite honestly felt overwhelming.

However, perhaps one of the reasons I’ve come to love podcasts so much is that they are multitasker and productive freak’s dream. After a couple of times practicing ‘tuning in’ to listening to two people have a conversation and actually process what they’re saying, I’ve actually found podcasts to be the perfect background soundtrack to:

  • life admin
  • quiet afternoons at work
  • cleaning my room
  • cooking dinner
  • solo dog walks
  • solo coffee dates
  • solo shopping

Realising I wasn’t the only one who has recently made way for a 30 min slot in their day to keep up with their favourite podcast, I did some digging into the recent podcast-listening statistics. Ofcom data confirms that podcasts are booming all over the UK, with almost 6 million adults tuning in each week, and the number of weekly podcast listeners has almost doubled in the past five years.

Whether you’ve never listened to a podcast before and are looking for a new show to spark off your inspiration, or you’re a seasoned pod-professional looking for your next recommendation, check out my favourite podcasts to leave you feeling inspired in 2019…

heads up: I realise that being a 22 year old female, not all the podcasts below will appeal to everyone, so I have popped some notable mentions in some  different podcast genres that I have heard so many good things about (and are planning on listening to myself!!!).

Ctrl Alt Delete

I was drawn to this show at the very beginning of my podcast journey, when it kept popping up on recommendation posts as a great podcast for women in digital, and there began my love affair with Emma Gannon.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 09.52.36


Emma’s created over 180 episodes, with a hugely varied cast, meaning I’m still working my way through them. In her podcast eps, recommended particularly for women in digital or creative fields, Emma interviews people she admires about themes such as creativity, the internet, social media, feminism, identity, mental health, careers and everything in between.

This is hands down the most inspiring podcast I’ve listened to, and every time I finish listening to an episode I feel like I’m ready to start writing the next bestseller, lead a new social movement, and write up the business plan for my new startup, all at the same time. It was super hard to pick only 3 starter episodes, so if you’re interested in listening, definitely have a flick through the episodes as you’re bound to find someone you love on the guest list.

Top three eps to start on:

Desert Island Discs

The classic. The universal king of all radio shows. BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs is the absolute gem of British radio show turned podcast, in which guests share the soundtrack of their lives, and reveal which eight tracks, book and luxury they would take to a desert island.

With possibly the most extensive, star-studded guest list I’ve ever come across, I was surprised to hear the deep insights into each guest’s life, from what first comes across as a relatively superficial concept. I absolutely adore music, and hold strong memories and attachments of various albums and songs to periods of my own life, which is why I love hearing of the tracks that have accentuated other people’s lives.

Again, with such an incredible cast and SO many episodes to choose from, it really was difficult to pick only three episodes to start on. However, having forced myself to pick three, my favourite episodes are all with guests that are so different to the stereotypical founder/influencer/girlboss/activist podcast guest I am used to. My top three episodes included guests that surprised me with their life stories and insights, but I’ve yet to find a Desert Island Disc episode I haven’t enjoyed, and for this reason, I would highly, highly recommend listening to this show.

Top three eps to start on:

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. In each episode, guests explore what their failures have taught them about life and ‘how to succeed better’.

In an era of positive curation, where maintaining a flawless impression of our lives (both online and offline) is the done thing, real discussions around failure are few. Having personally struggled with the concept of ‘failure’, as a result of being a self-confessed perfectionist and over-thinker, I find this podcast so very refreshing and humanising.

Listening to successful authors, activists, musicians and more speak so candidly about their failures and regrets, reveals such a personal and human side to the ‘celebrities’ who often seem to be living a life a million miles away from your own. This podcast is also a nice reminder to trust that in every ‘failure’ is a valuable learning, and to not be afraid of imperfection.

Top three eps to start on:

*Side note: I didn’t think that when I put this episode on whilst on my lunch break walk to Sainsbury’s one day, I’d be quietly crying at the salad bar 15 minutes later. Listen with caution (and tissues).

How I Built This

The only US podcast to make the list (I clearly prefer the soothing soundtrack of a stuttering British voice), but it’s a gooden.

In this series, Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s most famous companies. ‘How I Built This’ interviews innovators, and entrepreneurs on their journeys from the initial idea to the movements they’re known for today. This one I find takes a little more concentration to listen to – whether that’s because of the accent, or a slightly more detailed and factual narrative – I find I prefer to listen to this podcast when I’m not distracted by anything else. Despite this, this podcast is a real ‘rags to riches’ inspiration and it’s so interesting to hear the humble beginnings and personal stories behind some of the world’s best known brands.

Top three eps to start on:

Love Stories

Being the biggest Dolly Alderton fan in the whole world, naturally her podcast series named ‘Love Stories’ was going to be in my top list. Originally released to tie in with the release of her debut book (and THE best book I read in 2018), Everything I Know About Love, Dolly talks to guests about their most defining relationships, and the loves of their lives.

(Full disclosure: I also religiously tune into The High Low, Dolly’s other pop culture podcast series with Pandora Sykes, but I thought it would be unfair to waffle on about two of Dolly’s podcasts.)

Anyway, back to Love Stories. The types of love discussed are not limited to romantic; love of family members, friends, careers and so much more are expressed in each episode. This is honestly one of the most heart-warming and uplifting series I’ve listened to, and have adored listening to this on many a Sunday morning to restore my faith, in love/life/human beings.

Top three eps to start on:

What I’m going to listen to next:

Which podcast shows do you listen to? What are your favourite episodes of all time?

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