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Meet Sydney Weiss of Seek The Joy Podcast in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sydney Weiss.

Sydney, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Seek The Joy Podcast is inspired by my journey struggling to find joy and love myself unconditionally. Growing up self-love wasn’t in my vocabulary, and to be honest it wasn’t something that came naturally to me. I never knew how to show myself unconditional love or compassion, and I would say finding joy was the same way. It’s taken me a really long time to figure out what brings me joy, and even longer to be able to connect to that feeling of joy. The truth is I never made space at the table for joy. I made tons of space for anger and fear and very little room for love and joy.

It wasn’t until after I didn’t pass the California Bar Exam the first time in 2016 that I realized I needed to make a change. I was coming off a summer of intense studying and anxiety, and I wore my mind, body, and spirit out. When I found out I didn’t pass the bar I was angry, disappointed, ashamed, and embarrassed. I let myself get caught up in negative self-talk. After giving myself some time to wallow, I picked myself up and dusted myself off. For the first time in my life I made the decision to take care of me.

In 2016 I had a slew of health issues, from shingles to appendicitis, and I was so fatigued that I could barely walk a block. I barely recognized myself anymore. It was clear to me that after months and months of not listening to my body, I had to rest, reflect, and slow down. I was determined not to let 2017 have the same storyline.

Over the next year I made space for myself. I took time to get to know me and I started listening and trusting my gut more. I started to peel back the layers, understand and love who I am, and who I wanted to be.

I sat for the bar exam again the following summer and this time I passed. During the months leading up to, during, and after the bar exam I started to let go of negative self-talk. I made balance a priority, found refuge in mantras and long walks, and I learned how to lean on myself more. I slowly started to shift my perspective from anger to self-love, and by the time I found out I passed the bar in November 2017 I noticed an obvious difference in how I spoke to myself and others. There was more compassion and kindness, and less anger and fear.

While I was waiting for bar results, I was itching for a way to connect with others who have had similar experiences. I wanted to create a space to share our personal stories, explore what brings us joy, and learn and grow from each other along the way.

One night it clicked – why not start a podcast? I started mapping out my idea and before I knew it I had a plan. I hadn’t felt this excited about anything in a really long time!

The name of the podcast, Seek The Joy, was inspired by an engraved bracelet I made in 2014 after a very honest conversation with a friend. He told me that I needed more joy in my life, to which I said: “um, ok?” (While silently thinking he had no idea what he was talking about.) The truth is he was right. I didn’t have joy in my life and I didn’t even know where to begin to start seeking that joy. His words resonated with me, and I decided I needed a permanent reminder to bring more joy into my life and really feel it. I ordered the bracelet the next day.

In September 2017, while I was brainstorming the podcast’s name, the bracelet, sitting on my bedside table, popped out at me. The rest is sort of history.

Six months later, I’m really proud of what I’ve built and created. As a kid who grew up with a pretty strong lisp and embarrassed by her voice, this isn’t something I thought I’d ever do! I’ve stepped further into owning and celebrating my voice and my journey. I can’t wait to see the podcast continue to grow, and I’m so excited to grow with it.

Plus, I’ve met and connected with so many wonderful people. This has been an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Getting here hasn’t been a smooth road, but I’m so proud of the community Seek The Joy Podcast is inspiring and creating. I’m really proud to be able to say I’ve built this all by myself, and it’s taken me a while to really own that and say “I did this! I’m doing this!” From contacting and coordinating guests, editing the audio for every episode, and creating the social media content and marketing, I do it all.

Some days are easier than others and learning to balance it all with everything else that I have going on has probably been the most challenging part. I’m learning to embrace and celebrate the challenges because I know it’s through discomfort and uncertainty that real growth and opportunity arises. I’m learning to strengthen my “trust muscles” as I like to call them.

Every time I question why I’m doing this podcast and sharing so much of myself, I come back to the countless e-mails and messages I’ve received from people all around the world. I recently got an e-mail from someone who connected to my journey and who also had shingles in her mid-20’s. Another recent e-mail came from a woman who shared that Seek The Joy Podcast has helped her manage her anxiety. Every message reminds me why I started, and to say that I’ve been blown away by the response to the podcast is definitely an understatement.

Please tell us about Seek The Joy Podcast.
Seek The Joy Podcast is a really wonderful community of women and men who are willing to step outside of their comfort zones, show up for themselves, and share their personal stories of joy, struggle, and triumph. As someone who knows firsthand that joy isn’t always easy to find (and keep!), it’s been so wonderful for me to hear about what other people do to infuse more joy into their lives. With new episodes released every Tuesday, it’s been even more wonderful to share these messages with people all around the world.

Every episode is a space to connect, inspire, empower and grow, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to chat with people who are willing to step into their vulnerability and share their stories. From empowerment, authenticity, self-love, discovering our paths, taking risks, and following our passions – there’s something here for everyone.

I’ve fallen in love with sharing stories and connecting with this courageous, brave and vulnerable community we’re building together.

What I love so much about the conversations I get to have is that they’re unlike any I’ve heard on any other podcast. This is what makes Seek The Joy Podcast different. Every conversation is honest, vulnerable, unique, uplifting and real. There’s always a moment during every conversation where my guest says something that stops me in my tracks or where a lightbulb goes off in my head. I’m blown away by their insight, and we all have so much wisdom to share.

I’m really proud of the authentic storytelling I’ve brought to life, especially with The Power of Storytelling series I launched in January. So many of us spend our lives running away from vulnerability and connection (me included), hiding from who we are, what we love, and what brings us joy. I’m learning that vulnerability is our greatest asset. It takes strength and courage to be vulnerable and to let ourselves be really seen. With this series I wanted to create a space free of judgment to authentically share who we are. A space that would allow us to own our truth and our journeys by sharing our stories the way we want to share them.

Every month people from all around the world send me their stories. Stories about staying true to themselves, empowerment, self-acceptance, kindness, mental health, wellness, love, loss – the list goes on.

The episodes in this series air the third Thursday of every month, and I feel so honored to be able to share them. Every story is courageous, vulnerable, honest, and relatable. The feedback and response I’ve received has been out of this world, and what I love so much about this series is its impact. It’s been amazing to see how a woman in Germany can relate to a story from a woman in Ohio. You never know how your bravery, courage, and joy will inspire another to stand in their truth and share their story.

I never expected for my ideas to be received the way they have. I have so much more planned for 2018 – stay tuned!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I grew up surrounded by a lot of love, but I always compared myself to my peers. You know how it goes, “she’s prettier than me” or “her body is perfect and mine isn’t.” I’ve always been really academically driven, and for most of my life I defined my worth based on how I did in school. Looking back, I can see why it was difficult for me to really love and accept myself. I spent so many years defining myself based on the external, instead of who I am on the inside. Today, I wouldn’t take any of the hard moments back because they’re what shaped my journey and who I am today. We grow through what we go through, that’s for sure.

I’ll also say this, I’ve always been creative but I seemed to have lost that creativity somewhere along the way. Growing up I loved to draw and paint. I was in musical theater and I would choreograph dance routines to music from the Backstreet Boys and make my family watch me. When I got to high school I lost a lot of that, and by the time I got to college and law school that creativity disappeared completely. It’s been life-changing to be able to tap into that creativity again and really celebrate it! I can sit and work on the podcast for hours – I’ve never had that experience before. I’m going through a bit of a creative empowerment and I’m loving it!

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