Wishin’ & Hopin’

John Alexander Ball
7 min readApr 8, 2022

Why are so many of us hoping that what we are doing will generate results instead of knowing that what we are doing will generate results?

Last week I confessed to my love for dogs and those cute dog videos that often fill up my Twitter feed. Probably not so unusual to be an animal lover but this week’s confession (and don’t worry, it’s not going to be a regular feature) is perhaps a little more embarrassing as it’s way more on the nerd side of things.

Growing up, one of my favourite things to do as an introverted child who liked to play by himself, was to buy and read comic books. Not any old comic books. I wasn’t into scary stories, cowboys or army comics like my older brother was. For me, it was all about superheroes.

I can remember at about 8 or 9 years old being obsessed with Spiderman, Superman and The Flash. They were my top 3 favourites and I would regularly retreat into my imaginary world where I was a superhero and could help to save people and do good in the world like they all did.

I would wish and hope that one day a radioactive spider might bite me and give me spider-powers rather than blood poisoning, or that I would get struck by lightning and become super fast or better yet discover that I was really an alien from another planet and develop superpowers. All pretty cool stuff when you’re a kid, heck, even when you’re an adult. Guess what? No matter how hard I wished or hoped for superpowers, they never arrived.

When I got older and life started getting a bit more complicated and challenging I would wish for someone to come and rescue me from it all. A millionaire friend, a celebrity boyfriend, a generous distant relative who decided to leave me a small fortune and a private island. Guess what? Those things never happened either.

I used to be pretty bummed that none of those things happened. Now I’m really pleased none of them did because I learned that we all have superpowers that can change the world and that self-empowerment is far more valuable than someone else swooping in to save the day. I wish I had learned those lessons as a kid instead but… I’m happy I learned them at all. I think those lessons are a big part of why I got into coaching, training and even podcasting. I love empowering myself and I love helping other people to empower themselves.

I was running a group coaching call a few days back on the theme of entrepreneurship and the challenges people face as entrepreneurs. One of the things that came up was something I have been guilty of many times myself, being busy on business things and business-related activities but not actually seeing results from them. Doing the things I want to do instead of the things I need to do and hoping to see results. Being busy and in motion and thinking that I deserve results because I’m doing so much. Guess what?

There’s a theme, right? If ifs and buts were candy and nuts and wishes and dreams were peaches and cream then surely we would all be very well fed. Being busy does not equal being successful. You can work all the hours of the day and still fail miserably. Your work ethic isn’t the problem unless you’re being a lazy so and so?

It’s more that you maybe don’t like certain parts of what you need to do to get success. You don’t want to make the calls, you don’t want to ask for the sale, you don’t like doing marketing, you don’t like hearing or seeing yourself for podcasts and presentations. The list of why not’s can go on and on but you need to get clear on your why not because if you’re only doing the things you like doing or the things you are good at, who’s doing the other important bits? If there’s a team doing them, how do you know if they’re any good if you never do those things too?

Hope is a terrible strategy, I think we’ve established that by now. Hope is really not a strategy at all. It’s a dream that we can get by and get lucky just doing the things we like doing and are good at rather than the things that actually move the needle in terms of results. I see people doing similar things with podcasting hoping that making enough shows or appearing on enough other shows will help you to make it big.

Let me ask you this if your content isn’t great how much help do you think it will be just focusing on making more of it? Sure, you’ll get your reps in and you will improve in some ways but how much is it going to help you to get better at making content that’s only ‘meh’ level? How about this? If you’re appearing on shows but you’re all over the place with no clear topics, no clear calls to action and not delivering valuable content in a way that is interesting and entertaining, how helpful will it be to go on 100+ shows doing the same?

The solution to getting better at something is not always to just do more of it.

If there’s a specific task you want to get better at then practising it often will help. Stage time and podcast air time will help but not if you don’t focus on being someone who people want to follow. Think about the people you like to follow. Are they boring? Do they deliver value? Are they entertaining? Do they stand out a bit from many of the other people out there? Think about world leaders. Why do we prefer leaders with strong charisma over those without, even if the other side has better policies or better values?

When the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was a student of the greatest teachers ancient Rome had to offer, he had a strong dislike for the sophists over the orators. The sophists were the populists of public speaking. They were the ones with the flourishes and the emotional, often made up stories and hyperbolic language. Marcus preferred the orators who were strong in values and information, who were the educators, the truth-tellers and the intelligensia of their era. Marcus believed speeches should be transformational rather than just entertaining.

I agree with Marcus Aurelius to an extent. There’s an important place for oratory in public life. The problem is, earnestness might be associated with propriety and class but it is often less than exciting or engaging. There’s room to take some tricks of charisma and rhetoric from the sophists’ playbook and use a little of whatever it takes to get the outcome approach because an emotional response is so vital. Some people may hate what you do or what you offer but others will love you and there’s no room in the marketplace for bland to get noticed.

You need to turn up the dial a little. Maybe not all the way up to 11 but perhaps a few numbers up the scale from where you are now without being untrue to who you really are. You know that stupid thing Simon Cowell often used to say on talent shows, “be you but more you”? Doesn’t seem so stupid now, does it?

You don’t need to become a contrarian troll to get people to notice you unless you REALLY don’t care about being liked and you just care about clicks? Just turn up the personal energy dials a little bit more and get some guidance on your presentations, some interview coaching and some focus on the metrics that will actually make a difference to your engagement.

If you want to talk to me about how I can help you turn things up a few notches with your presence and content delivery, I’m always happy to have that conversation and all you need to do it hit me up on LinkedIn or Twitter where I tend to hang out the most and a quick chat costs nothing and it makes me happy to hear from people. Podcasting has the potential to turn you from an unknown into an expert in your industry, both through being a guest and being a host and I love helping people on that path. It’s my superpower.

This week I have an episode with another successful podcaster. His name is Adam Adams and he’s the host of The Podcast on Podcasting. He shares some great insights into success with podcasting and where the podcasting industry might be heading, some a little different to last week’s guest Mark Asquith or recent guest Alex Sanfilippo and I think you’ll find them interesting.

I also wanted to give you a special music treat this week in the form of one of the best female vocalists of all time, in my opinion, the late and great Dusty Springfield. Enjoy this blast from the 60’s of Wishin’ and hopin’. I also wanted to give you a special music treat this week in the form of one of the best female vocalists of all time, in my opinion, the late and great Dusty Springfield. Enjoy this blast from the ’60s of Wishin’ and hopin’. Maybe don’t pay too much attention to the somewhat unempowering message about women needing to do certain things to make a man love them but instead take away the deeper message that wishing and hoping are not gonna cut it, in love or in just about anything else.



John Alexander Ball

Host of the Podfluence podcast. Professional speaker & ethical influence coach. The James Corden of podcasting, a chubby British guy who thinks he’s funny.