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James Robert Lay: 

What do you do when the world shuts down because of a global pandemic? And that global pandemic cancels your global speaking tour to launch a new book? Well, you start a new podcast Of course.


Greetings and Hello, I am James Robert Lay and welcome to episode 300 of the banking on digital growth podcast. First off, I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to you my gratitude to you for joining together with me on this podcast journey for the past 300 episodes. In fact, this journey began when COVID Shut the world down back in 2020. And all the conferences that I was set to speak at to launch my first book banking on digital growth. Well, they were shut down, and they were canceled. And so this podcast is really an example of what life looks like. When life gives you lemons, you just make lemonade, or perhaps depending upon the time of day, maybe you make a lemon Martini. So no matter if this is the first episode that you're tuning into, or if you've caught every single episode along the way. Thank you, mom for listening. I want to thank you, dear listener for gifting me with the most valuable resource every single one of us has, which is your time and your attention. And I don't say this lightly because I know there are a million different things that you could be doing different ways you could invest your time spend your energy, different things that you could pay attention to. But it is you you are the reason that I have shown up 100% of the time for the past 300 episodes. Because it is you that we are on a mission here at the Digital Growth Institute to teach financial brands, marketing, sales and leadership teams, how to grow loans and deposits in the age of AI. And it is you that I will continue to show up as we move forward together and blaze new trails with this podcast, and also explore new avenues new pathways of communication.


But first, I'd like to take a few minutes to reflect back on the journey that we've taken so far over the past 300 episodes. Because I'd like to share some lessons that I've learned along the way to continue to guide you, inspire you along your own journey of growth as a financial brand marketing sales leadership team member when it comes to launching what has become an industry leading podcast here and it would not be an industry leading podcast, if it was not for you continuing to tune in and listen. And then from there, I'd like to provide some perspective into the journey that we will continue to take together because I am continuing to commit to guide you to guide your team as you maximize your future growth potential at your bank, at your credit union or at your fintech. So to begin, if you told me all the way back in early 2020, before the pandemic, that I'd be hosting a top 5% global podcast and one of the top five banking podcasts in the world that reaches financial brand leaders in over 150 countries. Well, I am not sure that I would believe you, most likely I would have laughed at you. But it's this limiting thought and this limiting belief that I had about myself back then. And then I'm gonna come back to here in just a moment because at that time, launching a podcast was never really on my mind. I was so busy hopping on airplanes flying from city to city speaking at different conferences, facilitating on site workshops for financial brands and fintechs that I never considered hosting a podcast. And so here's a key lesson. When we look back on 300 episodes. How many times do we miss growth opportunities That could take us to the next level, both personally and professionally. Because we are so busy doing, we're so busy doing that we just simply do not have time to pause, to review to reflect, to learn, to think about how we could do even better going forward into the future. Sure, I've had been the guest on many podcasts leading up to that point. And at the time, I was getting ready to launch my first book banking on digital growth.


But then COVID Shut the world down. COVID forced us all to pause COVID created space, it did create time for us to review to reflect on what we had already done. while also learning and thinking about how we could do even better going forward into what at the time was a pretty uncertain future. And I think that alone is another tremendous lesson for all of us to think about. Sometimes the biggest roadblocks become our greatest opportunities for growth both personally as well as professionally. Our biggest roadblocks can indeed be our biggest growth opportunities if we are only open to transform our thinking and our perspective. Now, this is something Audrey Cannata and I discussed in detail going all the way back to Episode 245, titled The obstacle is the way take back control of your narrative. Taking control of your narrative is another key lesson, I'd like to share, as we reflect back on 300 episodes, because I have been making more and more recommendations for financial brand leaders, for lenders, for advisors, to really think about starting podcast of their own starting podcast to share their knowledge to share their expertise with people in the communities that they serve, to offer help to offer hope, to guide individuals and business owners and entrepreneurs, families beyond financial stress towards an even bigger, better and brighter future. At this point, though, only a very small number of people have applied this thinking they've taken this recommendation and have run with it. The majority push back saying I don't have time, James Robert, I don't have time, I'm far too busy doing to even think about starting something like a podcast. But you know, I see in their objection, around time, something even deeper. These leaders, these lenders, these advisors, they're scared. They're scared of starting something new. They're scared about sharing their knowledge and their expertise, which is so badly needed. And they're scared about just putting themselves out there. Because they're scared of what other people might think. Saying you don't have time to start something new, like a podcast, where you can transfer and share your knowledge, your expertise to help other people is just an excuse that is far more deeply rooted in fear. Now, I know this, myself personally, because even after 300 episodes on this podcast, I still have to do battle with the dragon of doubt in my own mind from time to time. impostor syndrome is real. And I look at growth, whether they be personal growth, professional growth, growth of any kind, is like leveling up. When I was a kid, I used to play a lot of Mario on the Nintendo and Sonic on the Sega and now as a father, I'm getting to share time with my kids doing the same. And the thing is, no matter what games you played, growing up, or even now, as a parent with your kids, each time we get to a new level. There's always a new bad guy that you had to do battle with at the end of that level to then reach the next level. And the same is true when it comes to our personal and professional growth each level. We must defeat a new devil That devil, for many of us, is fear. It is fear of the unknown. It's fear of judgment. What are other people going to think? What are they going to say? It's fear of change, fear failure. This is why one of the greatest lessons looking back on 300 podcast episodes is to simply decide and do it. Don't debate it. If you debate something like starting a podcast, the odds are you're going to talk yourself out of it.


You decide, you do it. And then you debate how you can make that new thing, that podcast that much better. See, when launching this podcast, I decided I did it because I really didn't have a choice at the time, because COVID shut down all of the speaking opportunities that I had. And then we figured out how we could take it and make it even better as we move forward. But I implore you do not let the excuse of not having time, mask an even deeper insecurity, holding you back from unlocking from capturing from sharing your knowledge and expertise, as a leader, as a lender, as an advisor. Don't let your insecurities hold you back from helping others. We all know, money is stressful. And as I've shared many many times on this podcast and will continue to do so. This financial stress continues to take a toll on people's health and their relationships and their well being. People are looking for someone that they can trust. Someone that can guide them, someone that can give them help, and someone that can give them hope and for many people hope must come before they're able, open and willing to receive help. We just completed a research project for financial brand in our private coaching program that was framed around what we have titled the Gen Z financial revolution. And we found that Gen Z is almost five times more likely to obtain financial guidance and advice from social media platforms compared to people over age 41. That's me. I'm now 41. And this is one of the reasons as I teach and coach and I have a written about in banking on digital growth. Consumer personas provide us with an opportunity to gain perspective into the minds in more deeply the hearts of other people because it is their experiences that are different than ours. It's their experiences that we can look at and understand through an empathetic lens.


Coming back to Gen Z tick tock in particular, it's become a popular source of financial guidance of advice for Gen Z 34% of Gen Z years are actually seeking advice on tick tock for money for finances, consider that 34% One out of every three people in the Gen Z generation are going to tick tock looking for answers. But here's the thing is the advice is the guidance that people get from social media, whether that be on tick tock Insta, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, is that guidance? Is that advice helpful or hurtful. This is why I am so grateful for financial brand leaders and lenders like Patty OSI who join me for a conversation going back to Episode 264 where we discuss specific opportunities that leaders lenders advisors can take to help first and sell second, while at the same time building personal brands building their personal brand, through dialogue through discussion through discourse because that's exact actly what Patti is doing, she is sharing her thinking she is sharing her knowledge and expertise to help almost 1 million people who follow her on Tik Tok. This shows the exponential reach that these digital and social channels have to help people in ways that were never possible before. Here's the thing. People are no longer walking into a branch, looking for financial guidance and advice. People might not even be Googling their questions anymore. Because once again, where are they going? They're going to tick tock, they're going to Instagram, they're going to YouTube, they're going to LinkedIn. They are looking for guidance and advice from other people, from other human beings. These social channels are like the new public squares. And we can apply lessons. From the early teachings of stoicism. To this modern day perspective. That's because the stoic school the stoic philosophy was founded around 301 BC. And the teachings of stoicism were taught in the public square.


So my question to you is what growth opportunities are you missing as a leader as a lender as an advisor, because you're not part of the conversations taking place around money in the modern day square. This is another key lesson when we reflect back on 300 episodes. Because at this point, I have literally had hundreds of conversations, to unlock to capture to amplify the knowledge and expertise of other people to help people just like you. And that's the thing, you don't have to do a podcast alone. Just like any epic journey, if you try to take a podcast journey alone, you won't last very long. Think about Frodo and the Lord of the Rings for a moment, he took a journey with a large group of other characters who had very unique, yet complementary capabilities. But they were all committed to working towards a common cause a purpose that was greater than themselves. When you commit to launch a podcast, you are committing to a collaborative exercise rooted in humanity that brings people together for a purpose far bigger, and far greater than the present moment. So for example, if you're a financial brand leader, a lender or an advisor, don't think that you have to be the hero of the podcast that you have to be a no at all. That's because you have an opportunity to unlock to capture to amplify the knowledge and expertise of others, other people, other leaders, other experts in your communities, to help others on their own journeys of growth. Lodging a podcast is truly a modern day network multiplier. Because it provides a very unique opportunity to meet with and connect with people in new ways that were not possible before. This is even more true when you commit to narrow down the focus of a podcast, to empowering to educating to elevating a very specific niche market. Now I've had many conversations on this podcast about the benefits and the value of targeting niche markets. So for example, you could launch a podcast to help local entrepreneurs grow their business like Grace Bruins is doing it Hora con bank had a great conversation about the banking on business podcast, I got a joke. It's like our cousin. Or perhaps you could launch a podcast that helps moms navigate the complexities of money while raising a family because it is typically the the woman of the house who manages the household finances. So no matter who the niche audience is, I can't stress enough the need for niche when it comes to launching a podcast. It's the focus on a niche where you'll find you'll be able to expand your network even that much more deeply within the niche. And as a result create exponential value for yourself for your financial brand, because you're creating exponential value for this particular niche market. I want to stay on the subject of collaboration just a bit longer here because when it comes to launching a podcast as a financial brand leader, as a lender as a as an advisor, Sir, you're sharing your knowledge and sharing your expertise, along with the knowledge and expertise of others to help others. Don't think that you have to produce and edit the podcast yourself. This is another common limiting belief where you can think, who before how. And what I mean by that is, how many times in life? Do we think there's an opportunity? But we stop, we pause. We get stuck by the obstacle, well, how am I going to do this? Or how am I going to do that? When in reality, the obstacle is the way. And the opportunity is to not just think, how am I going to do this? Or how am I going to do that. But who, who do I need to help me achieve X, Y, or Z? Truth be told this podcast would have never made it to 300 episodes, yet alone three, if I did not have a strong production team supporting this podcast, so a big shout out and thank you to Audrey, and to rob, for being such a key part of helping this podcast get to this point. My time is far better invested into finding and facilitating conversations, to unlock, and to capture, and to elevate the thinking of other very smart people to guide you. I wouldn't be doing very good if I was trying to edit this podcast, myself and bring it to you. And it's time, it is time that I'd like to come back to because when it comes to time, there is another great lesson learned when we reflect back on 300 podcast episodes. That's because time or a lack of time is often the number one reason that leaders, lenders and advisors push back on and avoid launching a podcast altogether. What I think back to the past 300 podcast episodes, I cannot think of anything else that I've ever done over the past 20 plus years, that has created the greatest value that has created the greatest return on time when it comes to networking, making connections meeting new people speaking, teaching, helping others. Launching a podcast is truly created an unmatched exponential return on time. And time as I mentioned before, it is the most precious asset. Each and every one of us has to invest in time is the great equalizer. We all have 24 hours in a day when it comes to a podcast.


When it comes to time, you must commit to playing a long game, which is very hard for some people. Because in the early days, you cannot get discouraged. You cannot lose heart when your episodes are only getting a couple of downloads. Be grateful for those couple of downloads, be grateful for the fact that a couple of people gifted you their time gifted you their attention, because they saw something in you that could help them. Time is like money. And because of that a podcast the time you invest into a podcast compounds over time. And like money, how we invest our time is the difference maker. And I say investing time that spending time because with time being like money time should provide a return. Keith Costello, CEO of locality bank, he is maximizing his return on time through his podcast. And I want to give you some context into this what do I mean by maximizing your return on time you see before this podcast, I'd hop on an airplane fly out to a conference share thoughts and ideas with two or 300 people maybe 1000 If I was keynoting event, of course I get paid. But there was also an expense of my time. You know a one hour keynote to share thinking with 1000 People would cost me around two days of time, more or less between travel. But with this podcast, I invest around maybe 1520 minutes to prep for each conversation that I have with each guest. solo shows like this, they tend to take a little bit longer so that I can clarify my thinking, an outline. But all in all, each episode takes an hour, hour and a half of my time to prep and record. So with 300 episodes, I estimate that I have invested around 450 500 hours of time into recording this podcast. That translates into 1920 days, full days, 24 hour days of recording. So a little bit more than half a month of time, over the past three years since launching this podcast in May of 2020. So what you ask, so what you invested 1920 days of your life to record 300 episodes of this podcast. Was that mean? Was it mean to me? What does return on time play into all of this? That's a fantastic question. For starters, in addition to making some great connections with other people, very smart people. This podcast is now pushing 150,000 downloads. With each episode averaging we'll say around 35 minutes per episode, the 1920 days that I invested to record those 300 episodes, has provided an opportunity for me to share over 5 million minutes of time. With financial brand, bank credit union FinTech, marketing and sales leaders around the world. That translates into about 87,000 hours of shared time, or a little more than 3600 days. This is what I'm talking about, about multiplying time about increasing the exponential return on time, I'm gonna walk this back, investing 1920 days of my life to record 300 podcast episodes over the past three years, has provided me with an opportunity to share more than 3600 days of time with financial brand marketing and sales leaders around the world. And when you think there's about 1000 days, more or less over the course of three years, that truly is an exponential return. And these are results from just the podcast alone. Because this does not include all of the additional time that I have had the opportunity to share with people through articles that have come from the podcast, through social media posts that have become a podcast. Once again, a podcast is one of the best multipliers of time when it comes to providing help when it comes to providing hope and guidance when it comes to creating and sharing content content being the fuel of the digital growth engine. So as we start to wrap up our conversation here today, I want you to think, just for a moment, how could you maximize your return on time? Through a weekly one hour podcast conversation? How much more value would that create for other people, other business owners, entrepreneurs, moms, families, in the communities that you're serving. And as a result, when you create value for these people, how much value would that create for you and your financial brand? But you may still be asking why? Why should I commit to something like this? And why now? Well, when we started this podcast 300 episodes ago in early 2020, the world was in a very different place. Of course COVID was right at the very beginning. And then now as we've navigated through that we have another potential roadblock or opportunity, depending upon how you look at things. Because back in early 2020 sure there was talk of AI But AI really had not reached the mass consciousness of humanity. But as of November 30 2022, humanity has fully entered into the age of AI with the launch of chat GPT. And I hypothesize that as we continue to journey even deeper into the age of AI, human centric content, like podcasts, and videos shared through the modern day public squares of social media will increase in exponential value. Because there is an exponential potential for written content, like articles, and blog posts, maybe even social media posts to become a highly commoditized thanks to the generative AI platforms like Jack GPT. Even in the age of AI, people will still want to connect with people. And people will continue to buy from people they know and trust. This is even more true in complex buying journeys like financial services, where trust can take months, even years to reach a point where a consumer makes the decision to open an account or apply for a loan. Trust is the currency in which people trade and do business. And through communication mediums, like podcast, and video. And then sharing those podcasts sharing those videos. Within the public square of social media platforms, you can make micro deposits into the trust fund of people that sits between their ears, as a lender as a leader or as an advisor. In fact, in the age of AI, the personal brand of lenders, leaders and advisors has the potential to be even more influential than the corporate brand of financial brands.


I'd say this is even more true for Community Financial brands where relationships can be formed in real life, in the communities that you serve, and then nurtured and grown digitally, through podcast, through video, and all of the different types of content that can come from these communication mediums. But this will only happen when we share our knowledge and expertise. While at the same time unlocking, capturing and amplifying the knowledge and expertise of others, to guide people to guide businesses and entrepreneurs. Beyond financial stress towards an even bigger, better, brighter future. There is truly an exponential growth potential ahead for you, as a lender as a leader as an advisor in the age of AI to overcome the limitations within your own mind that holds you back from sharing the knowledge and expertise that you have gained through communication channels like podcasts and videos and I'm 100% committed to continuing to guide you forward to my own lessons, through my experimentation through my exploration, with the banking on digital growth podcast. Remember, you do not have to do this alone. There is an opportunity as a lender, as a leader as an advisor to collaborate with your marketing team to maximize your return on time to humanize your digital experiences, to not just join, but to lead conversations around money and finances in the modern day public squares of social media, on Tik Tok on Instagram, on Facebook, on YouTube on LinkedIn and as a result, you will maximize your future growth potential in the age of AI. Now as we continue to move forward on our own banking on digital growth podcast journey, we are transforming our podcast strategy to become video first. Because I am 100% committed to unlocking the human potential knowledge, experience and the expertise of people in the age of AI to empower you to continue to level up your loans and deposits at your bank, at your credit union or at your fintech. So I invite you to join me on YouTube by subscribing to the digital growth Institute's channel, where we're going to be bringing a whole new level of humanity, to the conversations that we have here on this podcast that you can continue to learn, grow, and move forward on your own journey of growth. Now, of course, you can continue to catch all of these conversations, all of the thinking that we share on this podcast on your favorite podcast player, as well. But we're going to humanize this podcast through video, video on YouTube, and video on LinkedIn to begin. But no matter if you watch or if you listen, maybe there's a mix of both going forward into the future. I want to thank you for joining me for the past 300 conversations. It has been a tremendous honor, a pleasure and a privilege to share time with you. So until next time, and as always, be well. Do good and be the light.


Brief Summary of Episode #300

Few people go to brick-and-mortar financial institutions for guidance or advice about their money in the digital age.

In fact, about a third of America’s Generation Z now turn to social media for financial advice.

That’s why the world needs more podcasts from financial leaders.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had to fight the dragon of doubt when I started Banking on Digital Growth soon after the Covid shutdown.

Of course, the process took a lot of my time. But today, as we celebrate our 300th episode, I can truly say that I’ve seen exponential returns on my investment.

And I couldn’t have done it alone.

Podcasts are a collaborative exercise rooted in humanity that brings people together for a purpose far bigger and far greater than the present moment.

You don’t have to be the lone hero. Even Frodo didn’t reach Mount Doom on his own.

But with the right people to walk your podcasting journey with you, you can connect with others in a way you may have never thought possible.

So please join me, James Robert Lay, as we explore why launching a podcast could be just what your financial brand needs to have a voice in the digital public square.


Key Insights and Takeaways

  • Turning the Covid shutdown into a worthwhile investment (3:03)
  • Gen Z’s affinity for turning to digital media for financial advice (11:28)
  • Why collaboration is key in executing a successful podcast (16:14)
  • Building trust through podcasting and video mediums (27:31)

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