We Can Do Hard Things The Podcast (2021)
by Glennon Doyle
We Can Do Hard Things the Podcast with Glennon Doyle debuted in May 2021 and is a masterclass on self-love. The podcast created by Doyle is a follow up on plans laid in her memoir Untamed (2020). Untamed inspired people to find their inner “cheetahs,” and its release created a moment of inspiration in a rather dark year. Doyle began a movement with Untamed, and her podcast feels like a natural follow up. If Untamed peeled back the curtains of Doyle’s life, her podcast completely rips the curtains from the wall. Doyle and her co host/sister Amanda Doyle do not hold anything back, and the result is powerful yet relatable. Each episode is centered around facing hard things, a mantra from Doyle’s Untamed. Topics covered range from anxiety, sex, addiction, and more. While the topics vary, each episode seems to be woven together with the common theme of self-love creating a season of episodes that feel cohesive. While Doyle’s talent as a writer goes without saying, the podcast highlights her innate ability to connect with people. Each week Doyle and her sister create a welcoming environment with their unwavering honesty. They share their struggles, battles, and fears with their listeners and the result is a podcast that feels much more like a conversation amongst friends.
While the disarming style of the podcast is refreshing to listeners, its structure is rather familiar. Each podcast opens with an introduction from Doyle, followed by a segment where Doyle and her sister (or any guest) speak, then the show ends with a Q&A portion from listeners. The format eases listeners and creates a familiar environment week after week. If the show has any pitfalls it would be the advertisements. Doyle does her best to weave them into the podcast with her excited take on each one, but they never seem to fit and just seem to take the listener away from the experience. While the format is predictable in a comforting way, the show’s topics are completely unpredictable.
Nothing is off limits; Doyle tackles each topic with a raw humility. Doyle and her sister choose to share instead of preach resulting in a podcast that feels like a weekly talk with friends. Like any good friendship, some weeks the conversation is light like the episode “Fun: What the hell is it and why do we need it?” which dives into the complicated relationship many women have with fun. Other weeks the tone is heavy, yet necessary like “Queer Freedom: How can we be both held and free?” which features Doyle’s wife Abby Wambach who shares the lasting impact growing up queer in a religious family had on her. Of course, the best talks seem to do both like “Silent Sex Queen: Why aren’t we walking about sex more?” which has both hilarious and deep discussions about sex. These talks no matter how personal still feel inclusive.
Doyle and her sister manage to include the audience each week through the Q&A section at the end of each podcast. As each episode ends, Doyle challenges her listeners to do a “hard thing.” The hard thing portion of the podcast shows the connection Doyle has with her audience. Each hard thing is carefully selected and each episode leaves the listener feeling rejuvenated enough to tackle said hard thing. Perhaps what feels most inclusive about the podcast is Doyle’s genuine care for her audience. Doyle is wholeheartedly invested in the wellbeing of her audience and their relationships with their own selves. She tailors each episode to fit audience needs and she replies to her questions passionately. One season in and Doyle has created not just a podcast but a community.
Doyle’s podcast might have been inspired by Untamed but the podcast is for all listeners; Untamed is not a necessary precursor to listening. Doyle’s podcast is entertaining and engaging on its own, but its legacy might lie in the communal acceptance it creates for listeners. Each week Doyle reminds listeners the power of words, especially hearing one’s deepest insecurities verbalized by others. Doyle’s openness and her sister’s thoughtfulness together gives listeners a safe place to unpack struggles that are often made to feel too shameful to admit. The podcast gives listeners a sense of peace with the knowledge they are not alone in their struggles. Doyle does not have an answer for every hard thing she presents, but she gives listeners something much more important. We Can Do Hard Things the Podcast with Glennon Doyle is a true masterpiece in introspection giving listeners a chance to practice the truest form of self-love—self-acceptance.
- Autumn Andersen
California State University, Stanislaus