2017: Bridging the Gap to a Real Business (Bona Fide, II)

I started to write my business plan yesterday. I holed up at the coffee shop, fueled with an Americano, and made some solid progress in one morning. ( I have no idea if business plans should be finished in one morning, or even one week.) Last November I committed to being an entrepreneur—after years of thinking about it—so, this plan should have been an outline at least two months ago! But, we live and learn folks. And here I am, learning my first lesson in starting a business: HAVE A PLAN. 
I gave myself a 15 minute break from plan-writing to do all the usual internet things. I watched the “Beauty and the Beast” trailer twice (👋), replied to some tweets, and checked Facebook, which told me that “On this Day!” last year, I wrote a post titled “Bona Fides.” That would lead to changing the title of this blog, now Real Talk RDand a few months of consistent posts with a voice that had been trying to surface for a long time.

Real. Authentic. Bona Fide. 

I gave a presentation on blogging and social media to a group of dietetic interns this week. It was one of oh-so-many “Do as I say, not as I tend to do” moments I’ve had recently. I may as well have talked to myself in a mirror for a hour, saying, You know how to do this; you have done this; you can still do this. Because yet again, this space of mine has been relatively quiet for a few months. I haven’t felt tapped out, but rather a little insecure. Unsure. So I back away from what feels hard, or forced, and distract myself with everything else. Then I make a presentation on how to do the main thing I’ve been not doing for a little while, and I’m like OH, RIGHT.  We have to create opportunities for ourselves, not wait for someone to hand them over to us.
In ten years of blogging, I’ve never reposted something. But today, it feels so necessary for myself. Pardon me while I look in hindsight to see the person who felt strong, willing, and so ready to write this and be real with you. I wrote this for myself, to myself, because I know “authenticity requires real work” but I won’t be successful without real, hard work. I need to bridge the current gap between me today and me that wrote this. I need to start this business with a version of myself who’s ready to be real, authentic, and hard working. I need to remember that the creative process isn’t easy today, nor will it ever be. Running a business won’t be easy, either, but it will be worth the real hard work.

Bona Fides – Originally posted January 2016

An irony of creativity is how easy it is to be inauthentic. Something you create straight from your brain through your words, fingers, movements, or expressions can be contrived to fit a mold, match a voice, or blend right in with everything else. While sometimes requiring the same amount of effort as being “real”, it’s far less risky to create something you think people want to see, and/or something that protects you. The real risk in creativity is being authentic; it’s also the only way that creation comes with any true reward.

I’m no artist, but I hope to be considered a writer on some level, and with that comes a lot of grey areas. Over the years of blogging and freelance writing, I’ve realized how scarily easy it is to create what’s expected of my profession (nutrition), to write words the audience expects to read. “Eat more vegetables!” “Choose low-fat {insert food} products!” “Balance your  meals!” “Boost your metabolism!” I’ve never felt authentic when writing “tips” or nutrition tidbits that, quite frankly, are recklessly scattered all over the internet by dietitians and uncredentialed writers alike. But it’s easy, and it’s expected. On the one hand, writing health cliches won’t break through the web noise in any meaningful way. On the other, I believe individuals are far too unique in their health needs to benefit from many of those umbrella statements.

In the times I’ve taken a break from this blog it’s been because I’ve had a lot of writing assignments/work elsewhere, and it felt like my creativity was tapped. I’d come here to a blank canvas and have no idea where my voice went. Truthfully, there were plenty of things I could have posted, but drafts would start with those cliche tidbits or thoughts to follow the trend of what I’d been working on elsewhere. And it would feel inauthentic. Sometimes I’d post it anyway, for the sake of who-knows-what. It’s easy for me to spot those trends. Instead of taking an opportunity to write here freely while I worked with my hard-dietitian-hat on elsewhere, I’d take the lazy, easy road and just stop creating. Inauthenticity is easy; authenticity requires real work.

If you want to find general nutrition advice, guidelines, tips-and-tricks, all you need is a quick Google search, a book, or a 1:1 session with an expert. But if you want to relate to a person who has similar struggles, triumphs, experiments, and successes, it may take a little bit more digging. I don’t know specifically why anyone comes here, but I know why I read and seek what I do — to relate, on a human level, and to grab take-aways that are meaningful to me. Those are the stories that flow easily from my brain to my keyboard, though they can be the hardest to write and push “Publish”. But that’s what you’ll find in this space now.

Real talk, no bullshit. #goals

Comments

  1. Kim
    January 19, 2017

    I’m pretty sure I wrote something similar last year on the original post, but heck yes to authenticity. I feel the same about the obligatory feeling of posting “tips” and “trends”, which I have definitely given into and done. I’m constantly being reminded that when I share the thing that is true and honest and real, THAT is when I get the most interaction and response. Here’s to lots more REAL TALK!

  2. January 19, 2017

    You have always been a planner, maybe not on this grand scale, but I believe you are up for this planning challenge. You’ve got this Heather! Love, Mamacita

  3. January 19, 2017

    I feel your pain. Ask Sue how long I have had the same struggles. Like you, I have resolved to this year put the fear and procrastination behind me. Perhaps we can keep each other motivated! Good Luck!

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