Pat LaBelle: Student of Life, Creator of "No Names No Numbers"
Pat LaBelle is your average guy. At least that’s what I thought when I first met him. But soon after, he made me realize he was much more than an average guy. To put it simply, Pat is a thinker. He thinks about the things that normal college kids don’t want to think about, or don’t care about. He takes these thoughts, and makes us care about it, through humor and personality. During my interview with him, I asked him how it all started. It all begins with his site:
No Names No Numbers.
“It started in high school in the student’s section with the fans… Our athletic director would always tell the rowdy crew in the back ‘No names and no numbers!’”. The site started as an assignment for a journalism class. Initially, Pat wrote in a structured journalistic style, but at the end of every piece was where his personality came out. His site became like an “Overheard” account from the sports games. He was the eyes and ears for the students section of Canton High, documenting the best catchphrases and chants from the game. For awhile the site remained sports related, but then when Pat got to college the site embarked on a new path with him. Once at UMass he dipped his toes into the podcast world and spoke about the challenges he faced when trying this new daunting thing.
“The scariest thing always-- getting started. It’s because you compare your right now to people who’ve been working on this for 15 years”.
For pretty much all of freshman year Pat continued to work his blog and podcast platforms, and as summer came to an end he posted an article that really stuck out to me. It spoke honestly about his experience with depression in college. In our interview, Pat got very candid about struggling with mental health issues during freshman year, and this led to the change of course his blog took.
“People want real… and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to be real, but at the end of the day, it’s something I’m very proud of”.
Recently, Pat’s content has been comparable to philosophical stand up. Hence his tagline, “Occasionally funny, always real”. He gets the audience laughing, and leaves them thinking.
Talking about politics to comedians to mental health, no topic is off the table for him.
The only common denominator?
“Anybody that has something to say. Welcome aboard. There’s no barrier to entry. If you have thoughts and opinions, you can join today”. Pat’s platforms have become more collaborative, including writers who bring all sorts of perspectives to the table, and podcast conversations with people with atypical experiences. It doesn’t matter what they do or who they are, as long as they bring something unique.
Being a constant student of life, Pat embeds his everyday learning into the content he creates. Everytime I see him, he’s got a book in his right hand, or a new idea or question for me in his left hand. The pieces Pat creates add freshness to “self help”. He expresses his love for self help content, but what makes him different is how he applies self help to his life.
“I’m a big believer in vicarious learning, where you can see what other people did and the challenges they faced”.
Podcast by podcast, post by post, Pat is redefining the genre of self help, to a genre of self think, and self do. “I’m just here producing what I think and believe, and just saying, ‘hey I don’t care what you think, I just want you to think’”.
Pat is unique in his dedication to self progress. What is unique is not his desire to progress, but his desire to learn, and foster a community that will progress with him. In a world where education is at a premium and thinking is a privilege, Pat creates content that serves and betters all people in all walks of life.