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  • Writer's pictureStuart Sheldon

Time to Swan Dive!

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Our dads laughed in college together and later, Ron Rothberg and I giggled side-by-side in diapers. We haven't stopped laughing since. This salt-of-the-earth guy with a rapier wit and a face for radio became the beloved drive-time radio DJ, Captain Ron, straight outta Univ of FL. Captain Ron's velvet cupcake voice delivered daily doses of sketch comedy and college town news, making him a big-fish-small-pond celebrity throughout his twenties. Eager to make actual money, Ron transitioned easily to advertising where, the past couple decades he made quite a name as a deal-closing Fortune 500 media honcho. Still, like many of us circling 50, Ron's been dreaming of a different direction, a return to his first and true passion, content creation.

At a party in December, Ron and I caught up over cocktails. Gazing out over the luscious Miami skyline, Ron told me the time had come. His kids were grown, he had some savings in the bank, and he'd decided to let his chips fall where they may without the big salary and stock options. In fact, his content machine was already whirring, and he wanted to create a podcast about folks with the backbone to make massive life pivots ... just like he was about to do. He beamed like a kid on the Disney monorail, as he said, "I call it Swan Dive." Great name, I thought, admiring his clarity and tenacity. It all made perfect sense. "Let's do it together," I replied, and we clinked glasses. Just like that, Swan Dive was born. Some choices are easy, if you don't make them hard.

Swan Dive co-founder Ron Rothberg
Ron doing what he does best!

A first-rate microphone arrived by Fed Ex a few days later, because Ron is pro. Soon after, we plugged those mics in, mine in Costa Rica, his in Jacksonville, FL. I actually set up in my bathroom to escape screaming children in the house. Before we knew it, we'd spontaneously recorded our first show, Dive Defined, which sets up the entire conversation going forward. You see, Ron was literally a few weeks from walking into his boss's office to break the news that he was done after 16 rock solid years. For the first five episodes, Swan Dive allows us to share, in real time, the momentous events, emotions and psycho-drama that accompany the major life disruption of one average hard-working guy: his second thoughts, boss/colleague reactions, child-like exuberance, spousal terror, irritability/impatience and, ultimately, soul satisfaction. Ron shares all the feels. And even reveals how he got his DJ name (hint - Disney monorail). And, of course, just weeks after Ron begins to bare his soul, the whole world pivoted to an entirely new paradigm of existence (see how out-front we are).

But, does the world really need another podcast right now?

I'll answer with a question. How many times in y our life have you stated emphatically, "One of these days" I'm gonna ........................? And, what exactly were you gonna do "one of these days?"

At this very moment, everyone's looking in the mirror asking, "what really matters?" While we all must pay the bills and productivity can be challenging in this environment, there's never been a better time to get radical in thought and action.

TODAY is "one of these days."

Let Swan Dive and our distinguished guests entertain you as you perseverate on your next major move. After the first few episodes (just as you [and we] tire of Ron and me talking about ourselves), Swan Dive switches from our narratives to yours, delivering community and kinship in your big pivot, whether you've made it yet or not!

Check out five minutes of Dive Defined. I promise you'll love it.

Every Tuesday, a fascinating new guest shares their inimitable life-pivot adventure. Like Autumn Breon (@autumnbeon) - in her episode, Not Rocket Science, this Stanford-educated former NASA astrophysicist reveals her polymathic journey from big science to education reform and, finally, art consulting. She explains success as a willingness to fail but "fail fast." In a few weeks, we welcome three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who unpacks her extraordinary evolution from best athlete on earth (pretty much) to championing women's rights in sport and beyond.

Swan Dive is dedicated to finding folks who are both inspired and inspiring and willing to share raw emotional truths about how they actively pursued their best life. This story is very dear to me, as my own swan dive from Wall Street to art happened exactly 30 years ago, and changed my life completely for the better.

Happy Place 1, Acrylic on canvas, 31.5 x 23.5” 2020
Happy Place 1, Acrylic on canvas, 31.5 x 23.5” 2020

Try this fun experiment out loud right now! Tell Siri or Alexa, "Play Swan Dive podcast."

Did it work? My mom loves that.

SUBSCRIBE HERE at any of your favorite platforms: Apple podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts. .

Seriously friends, we're all frozen in a game of red light / green light right now, so take a few minutes to listen to Swan Dive In the car. On a walk. Whenever you have moments to spare (like all day every day). If you like what you hear (and you will), write glowing reviews and share with friends. Remember, a terrific new episode drops every Tuesday.  

Making magic on the mic!

Finally, we're actively seeking inspiring new Swan Dives to share ... so please send me your incredible story about a profound step you took towards your most authentic self.


Mural by local art students in progress outside Ron's home - inspired by Swan Dive
Mural by local art students in progress outside Ron's home - inspired by Swan Dive podcast

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