For Sam Kleckley, podcasting was never going to be a hobby but rather a mission. Admittedly, he remembers suffering from anxiety as far back as elementary school but was never formally diagnosed. The Greenville High School graduate parlayed his success on the soccer field to a scholarship at the University of South Carolina, only to have his career cut short by injury.
Shortly after moving to New York City to pursue a career in sales, Kleckley was prescribed Xanax to cope with the drastic change in environment by who he refers to as an unethical doctor. But seeking relief from anxiety made ignoring the shady practice easy.
An 18-month addiction battle ensued before he finally made the difficult decision to seek professional help. Ultimately, Kleckley moved back to Greenville to receive treatment. His support network of family and friends proved vital to his growth, which paved the way for an idea to help and motivate others.
The start of Live Life in Motion
“My experience with addiction in a lot of ways is a blessing to me,” says Kleckley.
“I am much better off today having gone through those tough times.
Understanding the fear and power of addiction was a driving force for me to want to start the Live Life in Motion podcast to help share stories and reach as many people as possible.”
His initial idea for Live Life in Motion revolved around raising awareness about mental health and addiction. At its purest form, Kleckley wants to help people feel they are not alone in whatever it is they are battling. And his narrative has evolved into overall wellness, including the paths his guests have followed to success in their respective fields.
“Live Life in Motion conversations educate and help push people to care more about their wellbeing,” says Kleckley.
Live Life in Motion launched in November 2020, and more than 70 episodes into the venture, Kleckley has curated a guest list featuring thought leaders, professional athletes, physicians, and creative minds. Some are childhood friends turned business owners, while others Zoom from across the world to connect.
“I do love guests who have a story that moves me and the audience,” says Kleckley. “But I also want to learn about new industries to help educate others.”
The typical hour-long conversations have featured Greenville natives like comedian Rory Scovel, UFC fighter Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, professional runner Gabbi Jennings, former lieutenant governor of South Carolina Nick Theodore, and professional soccer player and teammate at Greenville High School Sebastian Velasquez.
“Each discussion is unique, and my hope is for the listeners to find something in each episode that resonates with them in a way to improve their life, no matter how big or small that is,” says Kleckley. “It could be them discovering ways to combat depression or simply learning how to sleep better at night.”
He broached tough subjects with former NFL quarterback Brett Favre. The Hall of Famer spoke to Kleckley about his struggle with addiction and overcoming the sudden death of his father with a football career fundamentally intertwined.
“Especially if I’m curious about the subject, I want to have a conversation about it,” says Kleckley. “The podcast forum allows me to open up to be vulnerable, and in return, my guests feel they are in a safe space to connect with me as well as those who will be listening. Overall wellness is part of me,” shares Kleckley. “It hasn’t always been, even though I knew deep down it was when I was at my best. Over the years, I’ve made the changes in my life to make it a priority. It’s never too late to start.”
Now more than just a passion project, Kleckley’s goal is to record 100 episodes. Then he will focus on getting to 200—there’s never a shortage of quality conversations.
Photography by Will Crooks