Call in to Designing Yourself

Since the start, Designing Yourself has been a conversation. Season one had two voices in that conversation: mine and Whitney's. We love talking about these topics and could go on for hours — we may do so yet! But we're deeply interested and invested in bringing other voices into our conversation.

Those "other voices" should include yours. So with that in mind, I'm happy to introduce our hotline.

To leave us feedback or ask us questions, just call 404-500-SELF.

We'll be reviewing the messages regularly and will play our favorites as a part of upcoming episodes — both recorded and, eventually, live with some of our listeners. While we will always have a soft spot in our hearts for the written word, we're really interested in your voices.

We're thankful to have you along with us on this journey - and we're excited to hear what you have to say!

Designing Yourself for everyone

When Paul and I started a podcast to publicly explore the often sensitive domain of self-development, we hoped we would handle topics in a way that would appeal to the broadest audience possible. But we made one huge mistake: we didn't make it accessible for all.

We're thrilled to finally announce that all 10 episodes in the first season of Designing Yourself now have full transcripts. Each episode's transcript is right beneath the audio player on its respective blog post.

Reading through these pages of conversation helps us see even more clearly just how powerful it can be to bring our inner experience into the light. We hope you are encouraged to share your own truth, or at the very least know you are not alone.

A brief moment from Episode #1: The Hamster Wheel:

Whitney: So, here we are. We’re starting. You have to start somewhere, right?

Paul: You have to start somewhere. And if you don’t start, then nothing happens. Then nothing happens.

Whitney: And eventually you stop being given chances.

Paul: Yes, that’s true.

Whitney: Then the decision is made for you.

Paul: Yes. And then you start to feel powerless and like you don’t have control.

Whitney: Or you’re gone and it’s all over.

Paul: Yes. And then what? Nothing.

Whitney: We don’t know.

Paul: Well, we don’t know.

Whitney: Maybe you get a chance to do it again.

Paul: Yeah, that’d be pretty sweet. But maybe you won’t. I don’t know. But I do know that we started a podcast tonight.

Whitney: Which is pretty sweet.

Paul: It is pretty sweet.

Read the sweet, full transcript of episode #1 – all about beginnings.

#10: Too Much Past

Thanks to Ryan MacMichael for this week's topic!

Are regrets really all that bad? In this episode Whitney and Paul dive in and get right to it: why we feel regret, how it's triggered, and how to see it as an opportunity. Then we chat about "bucket lists" — often a plan to head off regrets in life — and share our own life plans, encased in amber, from the website 43things.

MP3 | iTunes | RSS

NEW: Full transcript of this episode

Follow the show: @DesigningYou

Follow your hosts: @whitneyhess @paulmcaleer

Links and References in this Episode:




Leslie Jensen-Inman's piece on The Pastry Box Project:  

When I feel in limbo and feel I have no control over anything, I remind myself to be where my feet are.

#9: Embracing the Suffering

Whitney and Paul talk compassion and wisdom in this episode, as it pertains to others as well as the self. Does the way we see others affect compassion? What's the difference between empathy and compassion? We also talk about cultivating compassion and how it can be a truly empowering quality.

#8: Sam I Am

A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker. I am a [blank]. What do we get out of making ourselves a noun? In this episode, Whitney and Paul try to conquer the complexities of identity – what it means, how it's formed, and how it effects our relationships with others. Do we create our identities or do our identities create us? Can we encapsulate all that we are in 140 character bios? Plus puns, pop culture and personas!

Links and References in this Episode:

Panopticon institutional building design

PEZ Candy 

Vintage Ceiling Fan Forums

The Net with Sandra Bullock

Identity with John Cusack

Muji design store

Orphan Black tv series Japanese pens (and here's Paul's favorite pen)

Fountain Pen Hospital in NYC

#7: Nothing Lasts

Nothing in life is permanent and yet, we try to act like it is. In this episode Whitney and Paul dig deep into what constant change looks and feels like - including how it feels to see someone else change long standing beliefs. We also reflect on Groundhog Day, Robert Frost, and Heraclitus. 

Links and References in this Episode:

Groundhog Day  iTunes | Amazon

"Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost


No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.

#6: Being Seen

Is vulnerability necessary for personal growth? In this episode, Whitney and Paul tackle this sensitive topic, revealing their own hurdles with honesty and authenticity. What is the strength in vulnerability? And why is it so hard to let ourselves be seen for who we really are?

Links and References in this Episode:

Empathy begins with vulnerability by Sara Wachter-Boettcher (pronounced Walk-ter Bett-cher – sorry, Sara!) 

The power of vulnerability , TED talk by Brené Brown

New Ventures West, Whitney's coaching program

#5: No Means Yes

 Why do we allow distractions to divert our attention and fragment our time, keeping us away from doing what really matters to us? In this episode, Paul and Whitney discuss what it means to concentrate, to pay attention, to focus–which always requires saying no to ourselves and others. When does a desire for productivity begin to diminish the quality of our lives? And is technology to blame or is it just human nature?

Links and References in this Episode  (yep, just one this week) :

  The Power of a Positive No by William Ury

#4: Good Enough

In this episode, Whitney and Paul talk about balance. Can one ever achieve balance? Is it something that one can obtain over time? Is it ever permanent? And are Gummy vitamins a form of balance? (Spoiler: they are!)

Links and References in this Episode:  

4-Hour Body

Seinfeld Calendar

Lift app


Things app

Gummy multivitamins

Essential Spirituality by Roger Walsh

Ganesha, Hindu god

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

#3: Getting to Know You

Becoming aware of yourself, your body, your surroundings... it's tough stuff. In this episode, Whitney and Paul talk about how they've succeeded and faltered with self-awareness through their lives. Also: empathy for others and for one's self.

Links and References in this Episode:  

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

The Power of a Positive No  by William Ury

Synecdoche New York: Amazon | iTunes

New Ventures West

Whitney's entry, "How We Pose Shapes How We Feel":

The funny thing about self-awareness though is that we all think we have it. We feel so tapped into our own motivations and desires, the modern, intellectual people that we are. But our concept of self-awareness is grossly limited.


Paul's entry, "Head First":

These are the small moves we can make, the small adjustments, that may seem trivial or even nonsensical but really can change our whole selves.


Bodywork / mirror work: Paul referenced bodywork but really meant mirror work , and this entry at Blessing Manifesting is pretty great: "Self Care: Mirror, Mirror":


One of my favorite exercises in [Louise L. Hay's book You Can Heal Your Life is] The Mirror. You take a mirror, look into it, looking at your reflection and you say "I love and accept you exactly as you are."

#2: Too Much Future


In this episode Paul and Whitney talk about one of their favorite topics - no, really - fear. What holds you back, and what keeps you up at night? How do you get past a sleepless night? From there, they discuss living in the future - which may be the genesis of our fear.


References in this episode: 

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment  by Eckhart Toile

 Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind  by Shunryu Suzuki and David Chadwick

Monkey mind: "... a Buddhist term meaning 'unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable'."

Merlin Mann's talk "Scared Shitless"

Your Hosts:

@whitneyhess and @paulmcaleer

#1: The Hamster Wheel

You've got to start somewhere. 

In the inaugural episode of Designing Yourself, Whitney & Paul talk about the separation of one's self. We allow parts of ourselves to post things in various mediums, but does that give a picture of who we are, fully? Can it?

They also talk about to do lists, starting things, and selflessness versus selfishness.

Link to MP3 version 
 The web player requires Flash & Java; try the MP3 version if it is leaving you dissatisfied.

NEW: Full transcript of this episode

References in this episode: 

Whitney's essay, "A New Way to Be": "Just being here."

Paul's 1999 website About page: "...the experiment is: how much of this is 'real'? What defines 'real' anyway? That's a question that will be continually stressed and pressed by this site and your visits to it."

Your Hosts:

@whitneyhess and @paulmcaleer