New podcast encourages listeners to ‘Stretch’
Alison Kuhlow’s podcast “Stretch” just wrapped up its first season. For episodes and downloadable apps, visit stretchpodcast.com/listen.
It takes time and effort for some people to touch their toes. They don’t wake up one day and do it in one fell swoop. They work at it by stretching a little every day.
That’s the idea that inspired Park City resident Alison Kuhlow’s new lifestyle podcast, “Stretch,” available on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast apps.
The weekly podcast shares stories of the changes people make in their lives and the challenges that they face during those changes, Kuhlow said. The goal is to give listeners a new perspective that will help them realize that while their challenges may be scary, but not as scary for as long as they thought.
“That’s why it’s called ‘Stretch,'” Kuhlow said. “We have challenges we feel like we can’t face, and I want people to stretch their mindset and move past their limiting beliefs or surroundings.”
Kuhlow’s guests tell their stories, and then she provides a narrative within those stories.
“If someone talks about hitting something like resistance, I will then talk about how resistance is important in life, and how you can move past it,” she said.
The first season, which launched Sept. 25 and wrapped last week, contains eight episodes.
“These are not stories by people who build million-dollar companies or things like that,” Kuhlow said. “These are stories told by parents whose son wants to wear a princess crown to school.”
Many her guests are Park City residents, people she recently met and old friends.
“The premise for the podcast came to me after I experienced numerous changes in my life over a period of three years — divorce, job changes, moving, starting a consulting business and returning to school for a master’s degree,” Kuhlow said. “Since then, I’ve been making other changes in my life that make me happy and inspire me to do more.”
Kuhlow grew up in the Midwest, the oldest daughter in a Catholic family. Throughout her life, she strove to meet and exceed her family’s – and society’s – expectations.
“I went to school, got a job, got married and followed that track that society tells us to follow to find happiness and fulfillment,” she said. “The thing was after I did all of those things I didn’t feel fulfilled. So I looked at everything in my life; I made changes because I wanted to be sure everything I did was all my choice.”
Many of Kuhlow’s friends supported her throughout this time.
“The stories they shared helped me get through my struggles, so I asked them to share their stories with the world on my podcast,” she said. “These are all stories that I new I had to share when I heard them.”
After her friends stepped up, Kuhlow knew she had to finish the season by telling her own story.
“I couldn’t ask my friends to bare their souls and then not bare mine,” she said with a laugh. “When you listen to my segment, you can hear pieces of all the stories that came before mine.”
The challenge of creating “Stretch” surprised Kuhlow, because the aspects she thought were going to be difficult turned out not to be.
The recording equipment was checked out from the Park City Library, and Kuhlow called in an editor to tighten up the interview audio.
“I have had to redo whole interviews because the audio was bad, but even going through that was doable,” she said.
The areas that caused Kuhlow stress all came from within.
“I kept thinking, ‘Who am I to have a message to get out there?'” She said. “‘Who am I to pull apart these stories and give insight? What makes me able to have that role?'”
While these questioned nagged at her, Kuhlow came to her own conclusion.
“I realized no one was going to ring my doorbell to tell me I have what it takes,” she said. “So the only way to get over that was for me to just do it.”
With that challenge conquered, Kuhlow faced another — building and sustaining an audience.
“When you start looking at the percentage of how many people listen to podcasts versus how many people you want to affect you realize you have to navigate social media,” she said.
She turned to Instagram and recently started a “Stretch” YouTube channel. She also has a website, stretchpodcast.com, as well as a newsletter.”I want as many people to hear these stories,” she said. “I also want audiences to know that sometimes they will hear some things that will make them feel uncomfortable. They will be challenges, and that’s one way they will be able to stretch.”
Utah’s Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal will perform her book-length work ‘West: A Translation’ Thursday at the Kimball Art Center