What do a business coach, a power lifter and a stand-up comedian have to do with food blogging in the New Year? More than you might think at first glance. Hang with me, and see if I can connect the dots.
This time of year, we hear a lot of talk about reducing: lowering intake, paring down, cutting back. The antidote to the excesses of the holiday season and the chaos involved in ringing in the New Year seems to be less of…everything.
But what if “less” is the wrong answer? What if you really need more?
In December, during the height of the holiday frenzy, I hosted a Google+ event called Finding Balance. My guest was business coach and friend to food bloggers: Jackie Gordon. Getting to the heart of the matter, Jackie described the life-cycle of balance as a circle. On that circle there are four processes that need to be maintained in order to achieve balance. When we’re feeling out of balance, often it’s a matter of “beefing up” one or more of the processes on that circle.
After years of trying to accommodate a “teeter-totter” paradigm of balance (always precarious, rarely attainable), this idea of a circle, and the motion and connection between the various touch points, was a revelation to me. And the idea that to achieve balance I might actually need to add attention rather than remove distraction makes good sense.
Like most good ideas, this one started popping up all around me. For instance, in January we are bombarded with weight loss messages (reduce, limit, decrease). And yet, I happened upon an interesting article about one blogger’s journey from weighing 350+ pounds to becoming a power lifter, achieved not by depriving himself, but by adding. Adding muscle mass, adding movement, adding compassion and self-care. (In fact, in his writing, he clearly warns again deprivation, explaining how harmful this is to overall health, especially weight loss goals.) More, not less. Building, not wasting.
And more recently, I listened to successful stand-up comedian and Saturday Night Live writer/cast member J.B. Smoove talk about how he deals with other comics stealing his material (sometimes word-for-word). This discussion particularly intrigued me, as I see my food blogging community struggling with the challenge of content theft on a regular basis. In this interview, JB described the experience of waiting to perform at a comedy club, watching an earlier comedian repeat one of JB’s acts verbatim, as though it was his own.
Did JB take it personally? Did he call the other comic out? Did he stop sharing his material on the night club circuit, to avoid such blatant theft?
No. What he did was to build on it. His exact response was to script, in his mind, an even better set than what he was watching unfold. Rather than let himself get bogged down in the unfairness of the situation, he mentally re-wrote his own material and made it better! In the moment, he gave more. He created. And in doing so, he knew that his power lay in his creativity, his originality. (And this has been his on-going answer to the unavoidable content theft that permeates the stand-up industry.)
Maria Rainer Wilke writes that “for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place.” I encourage you, in this promising New Year, to continue to create. Be present to understand what you need to feel balanced. Add more of that and allow the feeling of balance to become natural, normal. Finally, feel safe that in your creativity you will be buoyed through the pitfalls and challenges of the path you are on. Only you can be you. And this is the answer you’ve carried with you the whole time.
You might also enjoy: