“We Can Do Hard Things” is a popular podcast hosted by the bestselling author and activist, Glennon Doyle. The podcast was named after a quote in her best-selling book, Untamed: “We can do hard things.”
As the name suggests, the podcast focuses on how to embrace challenges and overcome obstacles in life. With its upbeat tone and witty banter between Glennon Doyle, Amanda “Sister” Doyle, and Abby Wambach, this podcast has become a source of laughter for hundreds of thousands of listeners.
In this blog post, we will explore the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast, its impact, and what makes it so special.
How Did the “We Can Do Hard Things” Podcast Start?
While it is not known who initially pitched the podcast idea to Glennon, the podcast is produced in conjunction with Cadence13, which is a leading podcast production studio. Initially the podcast started as Glennon talking to herself in a closet, which she laughs about in later episodes—because well, the podcast was a little lackluster at the beginning.
Because Glennon is self aware and an expert at creating engaging content, within a few episodes she invited sister Amanda Doyle to join her on the pod.
“Sister” is Glennon’s nickname for her biological sister, Amanda Flaherty Doyle, who also happens to be her best friend and business partner. The banter between the two sisters greatly enhances the quality of the podcast, providing witty banter, laughter, and of course, twice the insights.
A few episodes later, another plot twist happens when Glennon invites her wife Abby Wambach onto the podcast as a guest. Unsurprisingly, the banter of three hosts—each with a very distinct life perspective—further enhances the podcast quality.
It also created a special opportunity for Glennon and Abby to open up about aspects of their relationship and process them together “on the pod”.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of their relationship struggles are universal, which means that their respectful discussion and ability to take feedback from each other provides a phenomenal example of healthy “adulting”, as well as emotionally mature partnership.
As parents, the hosts also explore difficult and challenging truths about what it means to be a parent today. Perhaps more importantly, they explore how they’re attempting to raise capable, kind, and emotionally resilient kids—without pretending that they’re getting it right.
The Co-Hosts of the “We Can Do Hard Things Podcast
As mentioned above, there are three co-hosts of the “We Can Do Hard Things” Podcast, each with a distinct personality and life experiences.
If you’ve ever listened to the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast, you know that Glennon has as proclivity for creativity and feeling. Self described as a “deeply feeling person”, she is unsurprisingly, an Enneagram 4. This means she tends to experience the world as a creative, sensitive, and expressive person.
She is also introverted by nature and a bookworm who self describes reading as her “inhale” and writing as her “exhale”.
On the pod, Glennon shares her struggles with bulimia and anorexia, which is courageous of her to do. It is also refreshing, given the widespread prevalence of these conditions and the murky relationships that we all navigate when it comes to “having a body”.
Most recently, she has been sharing the “messy middle” in her struggle with anorexia. By this, I mean that she’s sharing her experiences as she actively undergoes therapy and treatment for anorexia.
Glennon has her therapist listen to these episodes and give feedback on them to help her be as valuable (and sensitive) as possible, while still showing up for her “pod squad” in a way that is genuine and doesn’t require parts of herself to be hidden or shut away.
Amanda “Sister” Doyle
In contrast, Amanda leans toward analyzing and doing. Similar to Glennon, Amanda shares that she has had a complex relationship with food at points in her life, but overall, it doesn’t seem to impact her in the way that it affects Glennon on the day-to-day.
“Sister” is a linear thinker, loves spreadsheets, thinks in lists and is the “organized” one of the two sisters. As Amanda opens up about on the pod, she previously went through a difficult divorce and is now is remarried. She also mentions raising two neurodivergent kids with her new partner, John.
Before joining Glennon Doyle’s team, Amanda was a powerful attorney, who dedicated her career to advocating for justice and empowering abused women and children who have been marginalized.
Amanda spent several years as a legal fellow with International Justice Mission, an organization dedicated to protecting the poor from violence in the developing world. In her role as a legal fellow, Amanda traveled to several countries, where she helped train local lawyers, law enforcement officers, and community leaders to combat human trafficking and other forms of violence.
If I had to summarize Amanda, she’s pretty much a badass who can handle anything! Of course, this means she also tends to have a lot on her shoulders, but seriously, who wouldn’t want “Sister” in their life?
It’s the “yin and yang” of the two Doyle sisters that makes the podcast so much fun—and, of course, makes their business alliance make absolute, brilliant sense.
Then there is Abby Wambach, former pro soccer player and member of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (UWNST). Abby does a phenomenal job of providing introspection and balancing energy.
She also offer great humor and love when she shares what it is like to be partnered with the quirky, lovable, and ever so brave, Glennon.
Coming from a large family and having played sports at an extremely high level, Abby offers life insights that are extremely relatable. She too has been courageous in sharing her struggle with addiction to prescription meds and alcohol and her path toward sobriety.
As a visibly queer woman, she also provides deep and genuine insights into what it means to live as LGBTQ+ and how she experiences living in the world as a masculine presenting woman. As a nonbinary person, these topics deeply resonated with me.
All three of the podcast hosts are great advocates for marginalized groups and deeply respectful of human differences. They are also profoundly self aware.
What is the “We Can Do Hard Things” Podcast About?
The “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast is all about embracing challenges, finding strength in vulnerability, and overcoming obstacles. On the podcast, the hosts share personal experiences and offer potential approaches for dealing with the difficulties in life.
At its core, to me, this podcast is about learning how to feel.
As Glennon writes in Untamed, “Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”
Given the distinct personality traits of the three hosts, each listener is likely to resonate with a least one of them—and often all three at once.
The podcast also regularly brings on people to interview, who range from activists, to thought leaders, comedians, politicians, pro athletes, and beyond. Most of the guests are pretty well known names, like Kamala Harris, Reese Witherspoon, and Jane Fonda, for example.
But, from time to time, there are other folks that get featured too, like authors, poets, and therapists.
Personally, two of my favorite episodes are Episodes 130 and 131 with the family therapist and author, Dr. Beck Kennedy. In these episodes, she talks about how to parent your kids, and more importantly, how to re-parent yourself. If you like those episodes, you can also grab her book Good Inside, which I highly recommend.
My other favorite episode was their one with the Nap Bishop, titled “No More Grind: How to Finally Rest with Tricia Hersey.” If you want to have less to do in your life and feel deeply satisfied about it, I highly recommend this episode that discusses “rest as resistance”.
Most importantly, the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast is not a self-help program, because it does not purport to provide answers.
Rather, it offers compassion, inspiration, humor, and perhaps, a few new ways to think about approaching life that could offer you a bit more ease and empowerment.
The Pod Squad
Over time, the podcast also evolved to include “pod squaders” (aka, listeners) calling in with their questions, comments, and stories.
Lovingly, this section of the podcast is not called a “Q&A” because the hosts don’t pretend to have “answers”. Rather they respond to the callers with thoughts, reflections, stories, and of course, a healthy dose of laughter and emotional support.
There are also several excellent episodes where pod squaders call in with “voicemail confessions” and laugh-out-loud tales of their own embarrassing stories.
While many of the episodes dig into “hard” topics, there are also “Easy Fridays” where Glennon, Amanda, and Abby talk about funny, light and easy things. If you want to laugh and get to know the personality of the hosts, I’d recommend these episodes as a great place to start.
Specifically, I’d recommend Episode 116, “Our Most Embarrassing Stories“. I listened to that podcast on a drive to Richmond, VA, and laughed so hard I had tears.
What Makes the “We Can Do Hard Things” Podcast Unique?
There are many podcasts out there to listen to, so what makes the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast so special? Here are some of the things that set this podcast apart from the rest:
1. Glennon Doyle’s Personal Story
One of the things that makes the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast unique is Glennon Doyle’s personal story.
As a bestselling author and activist, she has faced numerous challenges and obstacles in her own life—from alcoholism to infidelity, divorce, and body dysmorphia—and she shares these experiences with her listeners in a relatable and hilarious way.
She also has an unusual ability to laugh at herself, tell a good story, and perhaps most importantly, celebrate her growth.
2. LGBTQ+ and Female Hosts
Another aspect that sets the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast apart is that the hosts are female and two of them are LGBTQ+.
Sadly, among the top-rated Google Podcasts, three out of four (73%) of these podcast hosts identify as men. We need more women representing in the podcasting world and their voices deserve to be heard.
Because the hosts come from a marginalized background, they make an effort to center stories from marginalized groups, such as people of color, queer people, trans peoples, and people living with disabilities, for example.
3. The “Next Right Thing”
The “next right thing” is a takeaway discussed at the end of episodes that gives listeners a simple, easy, and actionable step to take to help them face life with a bit more ease.
Most importantly, it’s supposed to be “easy” and “something you can do from your couch”, per Glennon’s specific request for this criteria.
Given the depth of this podcast, it’s satisfying to end each episode this way. And, more often than not, the next right thing is a mindset or action that really will improve your life.
Listening to the “We Can Do Hard Things” Podcast
With almost 200 episodes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. With a focus on self-discovery, personal growth, and overcoming challenges, this podcast has quickly become a favorite among listeners looking to improve their lives and find joy in the midst of adversity.
It’s also loved by folks who are sick of the status quo and know their life is meant for more. While a large percentage of the listeners of this podcast are women, I’d recommend it to anyone who is ready to feel and who is committed to squeezing a little more joy out of this experience we call life.
Have you listened to the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast? If so, let me know your favorite episodes in comments below.