In episode 395, Megan chats to Cynthia Christensen about ways to deal with and overcome our limitations while growing our food blogs.
We cover information about what to do with limitations in your life, remember to be kind to yourself when dealing with a limitation that impacts your job, don’t compare yourself to others while you’re accomplishing what you are able and create an appropriate goal sheet so you can work to get something done and give yourself credit for what you do accomplish.
Write Blog Posts that Rank on Google’s 1st Page
RankIQ is an AI-powered SEO tool built just for bloggers. It tells you what to put inside your post and title, so you can write perfectly optimized content in half the time. RankIQ contains a hand-picked library with the lowest competition, high traffic keywords for every niche.
Bio Cynthia is a professional baker and cook who has transitioned to running a breakfast and brunch focused blog. She also does freelance recipe development for larger online magazines, runs private chef events, and does occasional food photography.
- Be aware of your limitations without letting it stop you from reaching goals
- Make a fluid goal sheet – things to accomplish
- Make a schedule, then schedule breaks too
- Pay attention to your physical and/or mental exhaustion.
- Space out work – break up sitting and standing activities.
- Write down everything you’re doing in a day for a week and see what you’re actually accomplishing or maybe stuffing into your week.
- Plan self-care activities.
- Don’t compare your situation to others.
Click for full script.
EBT395 – Cynthia Christensen
Intro: Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
This episode, you guys, is so good and so important to listen to. Cynthia talks about limitations. She has a physical limitation, but we talk in the episode about how all of us have limitations on some level and how blogging can be really hard with limitations. So we talk through ways to overcome our limitations and to deal with them and have grace and implement self-care and all the things that we should be doing in order to move forward in our lives and businesses. This is something that we don’t talk about enough. I think this is such an important conversation, so enjoy it. Listen to it in its entirety. It is episode number 395, and it is sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Eat blog Talk is here to support you at every stage of your food blogging journey to help you accelerate your blog’s growth so you can achieve your freedom. We offer many services that will help get you on the right path no matter where you’re at in your journey. Don’t forget to check out our free discussion forum at forum.eatblogtalk.com. Go there to connect with like-minded peers to learn and to grow and to share any wins that you have. Our signature service is our mastermind program. We are currently accepting wait list submissions for 2024, so if you wanna get on the list for this year long experience starting in January 2024, definitely do that now. If you are not quite ready for that investment, the mini minds program, it might be for you. It is a six month program that will help you achieve your goals and overcome any obstacles that are holding you back.
If you’re up for getting together in person with some like-minded food bloggers, consider coming to one of our in-person retreats in 2023. This is a great way to get to know your fellow food bloggers really well in an intimate setting to learn a ton about food blogging in a short timeframe, and to eat some delicious food that you will never forget. Go to eatblogtalk.com/services to get all the information about all of our services.
Megan Porta: Cynthia Christensen is a professional baker and cook who has transitioned to running a breakfast and brunch focused blog. She also does a freelance recipe development for larger online magazines. She runs private chef events and she also does occasional food photography. Hello, Cynthia. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. How are you doing?
Cynthia Christensen: I’m good. Thanks for having me.
Megan Porta: Good. Do you have a fun fact to share with us before we get into this awesome topic?
Cynthia Christensen: People joke that I’ve led such a weird eclectic life that I should write a book, but we’ll start with, I once got to sing with Luciana Pavarotti.
Megan Porta: What? How and when? That’s amazing!
Cynthia Christensen: I was a member of the Junior Opera in Denver, way back in the dark ages, and my choral director took us to see Luana Pavarotti, and he got us backstage. Luciano was just as big a presence as you would imagine, and he asked if anyone wanted to sing for him. I am and have always been that person who will just raise her hand because I’m uncomfortable when nobody else volunteers.
Megan Porta: Yes.
Cynthia Christensen: It’s actually how I met my husband. Not that day, but another time like that. I raised my hand and I sang for him and I did not die and I did a good job.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That’s so cool.
Cynthia Christensen: Sometimes you just have to go in with things and say, this is not gonna be the thing that kills me. Just do it.
Megan Porta: Oh yes. Most of the time it’s not going to kill you and you’re gonna walk away with a good experience, a good story, and all good things, right?
Cynthia Christensen: That’s me.
Megan Porta: Love that. Just so much. You mentioned that you have, I don’t know what you called it, you said your friends say that you should write a book. Is that right? Did you just say that?
Cynthia Christensen: Yes, I have led a life. Yeah. I just turned 60, so I’m also an older blogger, which is something that I actually bring a lot of experience, so I don’t think of it as a detriment. I think of it. Wow. I have so much life experience that I can impart into my blog, and yeah, I just do it all. If I want to.
Megan Porta: Raise your hand when you feel lead. So I wanna hear about your story because I’ve just been literally only talking to you for five minutes, but I already want to know more because you just seem like such an interesting person. I wanna get to know you. So can you talk through your story? So I know that you were a cook and then you’re also a food blogger and then a baker. You have all of this stuff that you’ve dabbled in.
Cynthia Christensen: Also, I was a nurse.
Megan Porta: And a nurse? Oh my gosh.
Cynthia Christensen: I met my husband before I went to nursing school. I was his calculus tutor and he made fun of me for raising my hand, all the time. But then when he needed a tutor, who did he look for? Yeah, that’s nice.
Megan Porta: Yes. Right there in front of him. Okay. So talk through your story a little bit. We wanna hear about all of this awesome stuff.
Cynthia Christensen: I was a nurse and we were living here in New Jersey and after 911, my oldest daughter was coming to college in Oregon where my brother lived. So we said, let’s just all go. So we did. While there, I tried to find what I wanted to do. I didn’t wanna do nursing anymore cause I had been a hospice nurse and it’s a lot. So I became a volleyball coach. I did a medical transcription business, and then one day, I rented an entire storefront and opened a bookstore. I came home, told my family, guess what?
Megan Porta: That’s so cool.
Cynthia Christensen: We did that for a long time and then we moved back to New Jersey to help out with my husband’s family. I was managing a large chain bookstore and one day just, I’d always loved to cook. I had started putting my recipes on a little app that I can’t even remember what it’s called, kitchen something, but my kids could get the recipes with a little online link. Then one day I left the job. I just had an epiphany that I wanted to bake. I don’t know why. I was afraid of it, I was afraid of baking, so I wanted to bake. So I applied at five different places and I got offered two jobs as a beginning baker. So I worked as a night baker at a James Beard nominated Bakery here on the Jersey Shore. Partway through that I found out that I have a condition, and it’s called avascular necrosis. Which literally means I wasn’t getting blood flow to my joints in my hips. So I had to undergo a hip replacement. So I did that, and three weeks later was back in the bakery because I just thought I could do it and I didn’t wanna lose this job. I loved it. I would bake anywhere between 200 and 600 pastries every morning by 6:00 AM.
Megan Porta: What?
Cynthia Christensen: Loved it. Yes, just everything. Cinnamon rolls, sticky buns. Three different kinds of croissants, two or three scones, endless brioche, bundt cakes, full sheet crumb cakes, muffins, frittatas.
Megan Porta: Oh gosh, yum.
Cynthia Christensen: I flipped on the ovens at two in the morning and by six I had them all out.
Megan Porta: Wow.
Cynthia Christensen: Unfortunately, a year and a half in my second hip went. So I stopped the job and I told them I had to go. I was gonna do prehab, which is to strengthen that joint before the surgery. I was like, I really wanna cook again. So on a whim I DM’d on Instagram, a local restaurant called Heirloom Kitchen that is owned by a couple of people, including one person who was Top Chef Dave Viana. I said, I’d really love to cook with you, I want to stagiaire, which is interning. He took me on.
Megan Porta: Wow.
Cynthia Christensen: I loved it. It was amazing. I worked with the pastry chef, I worked with the savory chefs. It was a collaborative environment. All this time I’m still, I’m trying to blog a little bit. I now have gotten a WordPress blog. I’ve started putting recipes online, not knowing anything that I’m doing, just thinking, tell a funny story. Put up a recipe and everyone’s gonna come running. Spoiler, they didn’t. But my kids thought it was amazing. There’s a lot of difficulties with this hip. I continue to work for Chef Dave. I ended up working at the New York City Wanted food Festival with a number of great chefs. Just through not just assuming the answer was gonna be yes. That’s like my motto. So I would just say, Hey, I’m friends with this person and they know you, and I would love to do this with you. Could I join you? Yes. Then next thing I know, I’m doing catering events and I’m doing photography for the Pat Laf Frito website. I’m bluffing my way through this. Yeah. Started really after my second hip surgery and two more revision surgeries I had to have, I decided to take the blog seriously. Maybe I’m not gonna be able to get back on the line again. Maybe it’s too hard to stand there for 10 hours, as much as I love it. So I did an audit with Casey Markee and he told me, wow, this is cute. Here’s what we really need to do. I niched down my blog, so it’s now it’s, butfirstwebrunch.com and it’s breakfast and brunch blog.
Megan Porta: Love that niche. That’s such a great one.
Cynthia Christensen: It came about because of the pandemic. My husband is an emergency room nurse. He was going in and sometimes not coming home for 18 hours, working six days a week. Seven if they needed him.
Megan Porta: Yikes.
Cynthia Christensen: The only time that we saw him was in the morning. So I was never really a big breakfast person, but I was like I need to start feeding him something that we can have as a family meal. It became breakfast. He would leave at 10:00 AM and maybe get home at two, three in the morning and get up and do it again. So every day, our thing was to have breakfast. So that became my blog. So that’s what I do, I blog. Over time as I’ve been dealing with my decreased mobility, through having physical therapy and fatigue and all the things that go along with all of these surgeries that I’ve had, and I have a couple more to do, I’ve developed a set of ways to help me, both mentally and physically to do my job that I love so much. So that’s what I’m here to talk with you about.
Megan Porta: Okay. Your story is amazing. I have so many things I wrote down that I would love to talk to you about. We might not have time for them all today, literally. But I don’t even know where to start. So I just wanna say that you have some physical limitations, but this can also be any limitation. We were talking before we recorded a little bit just how this can be, you have children and you don’t have much time. That can be a limitation. Or maybe you have more of a mental disability or maybe you have, what are some other examples? There’s so many things that this limitation can be, it doesn’t have to be a physical disability.
Cynthia Christensen: There are times when I am going through this process and I am just physically exhausted, but I don’t want to just sit at the same time. I want to do it, but you’re physically, or sometimes mentally, sometimes it’s an issue with motivation or with depression because that can come hand in hand with having physical disabilities or limitations. So I find it has helped me to make a fluid goal sheet. Meaning things aren’t written in stone. I’m not writing in ink. These are the things I wanna accomplish this month. Maybe I’ll get all of them done, maybe I won’t. But this is the schedule, the tentative schedule that I’m gonna follow. I allow myself breaks. I allow myself to take time to schedule actual rest breaks, to set things up, to make them easier for me to do things. I have a whiteboard on my refrigerator to remind me of the things that I wanted to cook this week. What I need to photograph, but I allow myself the grace to not always get that done and it’s taken time, but to not feel guilty about not getting it done. That’s the thing with, I think a lot of people, a lot of women, is that if we don’t get it all done, we feel guilty about it. We berate ourselves and it’s okay to not always get it all done.
Megan Porta: It’s actually good sometimes to not get it all done.
Cynthia Christensen: It is really good. So some of the things I do is, there’s a progression in my recipe writing where there sometimes are recipes that have a lot of steps. I tell you, this can be done in two days. This can be prepared the night before. You can make this and freeze it, and you can have this a month down the road when you’re tired, but you wanna serve waffles to your family. You can freeze them and pop them into your waffle maker, and they’re just brand new. So I try to make my recipes so that if you are physically challenged or you have chronic fatigue or you have children, or you’re busy working outside of the home, you can still have delicious food and you aren’t gonna necessarily feel overwhelmed. I’m trying to break it down and make it achievable for everybody. Because if I can achieve it, I think you can achieve it.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That makes you so relatable. I’m sure to your audience you have limitations and I feel like we all have limitations on some level, so breaking it down like that just makes you a relatable blogger.
Cynthia Christensen: Yeah. I don’t think I have a lot of people who have physical limitations that follow me, but I don’t know. I won’t talk about it. This is the first time I’ve really talked about it. I don’t mention it much on my blog or on my Instagram stories or anything. I have a broken finger right now that everyone knows about because I’ve been seeing how many recipes can I make with one hand. There’s a lot of them.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That too, that just brought something else to mind. So you could have a temporary physical limitation, like a broken bone, or even my husband just went through all of these foot surgeries. He couldn’t walk for periods of time. So that could be a limitation as well. Even though it’s not permanent, it’s real and it’s going to affect your life.
Cynthia Christensen: I’ve gone up with things like shopping is difficult for me. It can be a lot. So I enlist my husband when I can. I shop at smaller stores. I’ll go to Lidle or Aldi cuz it’s a smaller footprint and it’s easier to get through. I have given up the guilt of occasionally using Instacart. I’m okay with it. Sometimes I just can’t. So somebody does for me and that’s okay. I try to do, if I can, the prep of all of my ingredients, if I can, the day before. If not a couple of hours ahead of time, if possible, and then put them away in the refrigerator and rest. I utilize a sheet tray a lot, not just for cooking. If I have to go do shots of something and I need props or I need to do an ingredient shot, everything goes on a sheet tray and goes to where I need to take the picture, where my light is so that I can cart it easily. For a while there I couldn’t carry things, but I have a rolling cart. Things go on the rolling cart and they move. Just determination to get it done. But also to give myself grace.
Megan Porta: Finding those little things that are going to make your life easier, like the tray, that’s brilliant. It’s such a little thing, but it’s gonna be such a huge help. So do you put a lot of thought into the process of blogging, for example, ahead of time? Do you sit down and write out what can make my life easier? Do you just make tweaks as you go?
Cynthia Christensen: Things have progressed over time. My husband can’t figure out why I have certain things in certain drawers at the counter. It’s because that’s where this left hand grabs. This right hand grabs. I don’t have to turn in circles. Blogging itself, I use a template that Casey Markee helped me with and a lot of it is stuff that I did myself so that when I’m actually going in to write the blog post, it used to take me hours. But now, because I used this template that is flexible, I change it all the time for each recipe, it might change a little bit. But I have a basic outline of what I need to do because sometimes brain fog hits you. Sometimes you’re blank. But I have this template so I’m always able to get in there and do it.
Megan Porta: Oh gosh. There’s so many directions I could take this. I’m just intrigued by all of this. So let’s talk about fatigue? Because I think that’s something that a lot of us feel, especially during certain seasons. My mother just passed away a few months ago and I feel like I never anticipated being so tired after something like that. Like how tiring grief can be. I had no idea.
Cynthia Christensen: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: So I feel like I’m dealing with that right now. So I could use your help on that.
Cynthia Christensen: As I told you, I was a hospice nurse and we did a lot of condolence calls. So we would help people. Having someone that you can talk to. I would take, I can’t even tell you how many phone calls at two o’clock in the morning from a spouse or even a child or a mother who had lost someone and just needed someone to talk to. So if you have someone that you can talk to, reach out. I told you before we started recording, I had therapy this morning just before this. So I had a great mind frame when I started. So someone to talk to. Understanding that it’s okay sometimes to be sad. I have sad days. There are days I, poor pitiful me. Why me? I allowed myself that day. I allow myself to have the days where I’m sad. Then other days where I persevere because I know that I can, that I know that my loved one wants me to. Just because you carry on and just because you do things and just because you smile or you’re happy or you achieve things doesn’t mean you’re any less sad that you don’t have that person with you. It’s okay. They would not want you to be sad. But to understand that sometimes you are gonna be sad and that’s ok. Like I said, it’s about giving ourselves grace.
Megan Porta: Especially if you have a business. I have a lot of things that I do in my business. So I’ve had to really be gracious with myself and just say, there are weeks, even now, it’s been over three months, that I just don’t want to do everything to just be able to say to myself, it’s okay this week to not do everything that you normally do. Just chill a little bit and go through the process. I think that’s really important. Even if it’s not grief. Even if it’s just life. If it’s winter and you struggle with depression or I don’t know, whatever it is, give yourself that time that you need and to recognize that sometimes it’s just gonna happen.
Cynthia Christensen: When my kids were small and we owned a bookstore, I was there seven days a week, the first five years from. We had a sign on the door that actually said 9:08 in the morning until 5:10 or thereabouts because it was a family bookstore. For some reason we were always eight minutes late.
Megan Porta: That’s funny.
Cynthia Christensen: So I actually put it on the front door that we opened at 9:08. But I worked every single day except once in a while, and my daughter and I just talked about this a few days ago. Once every, like six weeks or two months, I just couldn’t. I was just sleeping until one o’clock in the afternoon. So we started doing once a quarter to help all of us. Me and the girls would do a Zen day. We would schedule a day off. They would not go to school. I would not go to work. I had a part-timer who would come in and open the store for me, and we would eat ice cream and chocolate and cake and watch Disney movies. Mom would sleep and my youngest daughter would lay across my head because it would help my migraine. We would just, we had a scheduled day. I had to tell you the other day, I did my own zen day. My husband accidentally closed my finger in a car window, so that’s broken. He’s in the emergency room so he was able to fix it in his emergency room. Then he gave me a cold. I’m not covid, I tested. So now, yesterday he was at work. It was my first day since the broken fingers. I was alone. You know what I did? I laid here in a chair. I watched Southern Charm all day. I can’t extol the virtues of a mixture of hot and fiery Cheetos and Cheetos cheese puffs in the same bowl. The combination, perfect.
Megan Porta: That’s so funny.
Cynthia Christensen: I ordered a Philly cheese from a local sub shop and I did nothing and I feel great about it. Zero guilt.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s it right there, is doing that, allowing that for yourself and not feeling the guilt, just letting it go. Not seeing it as something you need to feel guilty about, but seeing it as something that you need. Your soul needs it.
Cynthia Christensen: So I needed that yesterday. Then, I’m ready to hit the ground running.
Megan Porta: That’s a form of self-care. Just giving yourself those days or those even, I swear, sometimes I need a week or more. I just think about my business so much that every once in a while I just need a break, like a long break.
Cynthia Christensen: As someone who owned a small business, I totally get that because it consumes you.
Megan Porta: It does.
Cynthia Christensen: Your every thought. When you own your own business, it’s not nine to five. That’s the same with blogging. I’m always thinking about what am I gonna write? What did I do? What can I update? Did I take these photos? That needs an update. There’s always something.
Megan Porta: There is always something.
Sponsor: Do you need help navigating Google Analytics? Maybe you specifically need to understand how to set up and use GA four and use your Google search console to its fullest potential. Sign up for the virtual workshop put on by Tastemaker that dives into these topics. There will be four expert speakers to provide valuable information that will help you get the most out of GA four and GSC.
The workshop takes place live on Zoom on April 21st from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM EST. Limited spots are available. Be sure to join the waitlist to get first access to these tickets. Go to eatblogtalk.com/resources and scroll down to the orange button underneath the Tastemaker logo for more information and to sign up.
Megan Porta: So what else? What other forms of self care do you implement in your life? So aside from just recognizing those days and taking them, what else do you do?
Cynthia Christensen: My husband and I started going to the movies, which we didn’t do very much beforehand. He claimed he didn’t like movies, to go to the movies. He wanted to stay home and relax because he’s out in the emergency room dealing with human beings all the time. So he wants to stay home. But I joined the movie club at the local theater and I was like, we’re going to the movies. He’s worried about infections. So we go to the 1130 showing and then we go out for lunch. So we always have our Sunday date. We’ll watch shows together that we like. I have to tell you, my relaxation is cooking, but sometimes it’s nice to cook something that doesn’t have to be pretty. I’m not gonna take a picture of this. My husband’s aren’t you gonna take a picture? I’m like, no, I’m gonna eat it.
Megan Porta: I think that’s a huge one right there, because we get so, I know I did for years. I was so into taking pictures of absolutely everything I made because I felt like it was efficient. But that’s why we get into food blogging is because a lot of us love cooking. Then we lose the joy for it because it becomes such a chore. So over time we’re like, wait a second. Why am I doing this? So just to separate yourself a little bit.
Cynthia Christensen: Isn’t it nice to sometimes eat hot food?
Megan Porta: Yes, it is lovely to eat hot food.
Cynthia Christensen: Where the cheese is still melty. That’s amazing. So yeah. So we do that. Having our daughters over. We have two grown daughters that live here, one that’s still in Oregon, so having them over. Yeah that’s pretty much it. There’s not a lot of walking for me. I just had knee surgery in October.
Megan Porta: Probably not walking on that then. But it could be walks outside, if you did have a healthy knee, it could be walks outside. That’s great for me when it’s not winter. You mentioned your daughters as self-care. I love that because sometimes in the evening, if I’m just grumpy or just full of work and just need to clear my mind, my self-care is getting my boys on the couch and sitting between them and just watching a movie. That is huge for me.
Cynthia Christensen: Yes. And whatever food you want.
Megan Porta: Indulgences occasionally are definitely needed. So how do you schedule your weeks as far as your blogging and your work goes?
Cynthia Christensen: I do. So I try to get a blog post up and an email out to everyone every Thursday morning, sometimes every other, like right now I’m doing every other week since the knee surgery. So I try to do my cooking and my photography on the weekend if I can. I also do some freelance recipe writing for a couple of online magazines. So I’ll try and do theirs on the weekend. I do my writing usually on Monday and Tuesday. Editing all the photos is Monday and writing the blog post is Tuesday. So I try to space it out so that I don’t get mentally fatigued as well. Sitting in front of the computer can be just as physically taxing. So I will try to break it up a little bit. So I try to have this little schedule Wednesday, I do the final edit. I write the newsletter, and then I let it go out on its own on Thursday morning. Then Thursday I do nothing. Thursday is my day. I turned in my assignment.
Megan Porta: Yes.
Cynthia Christensen: So that’s my day off.
Megan Porta: That’s great. I think that’s important too. I know it’s hard, especially when you’re trying to get your blog off the ground and get into an ad network and all of that to take a day a week, but to reserve mostly one day I think is good. Maybe you can do work without necessarily scheduling everything you’re gonna do. Do you know what I mean? Like having a loose, I think you used this word earlier, fluid approach to one day a week so that you’re not feeling pressure or feeling that structure.
Cynthia Christensen: So this is the schedule that I try to do. Sometimes the email goes out on Friday. That’s okay. I don’t get upset about it. It’s okay. I don’t think anyone is sitting at their email waiting for 7:00 AM on Thursday to see my email.
Megan Porta: Where is it?
Cynthia Christensen: Yeah. Pop into their inbox. No one’s written to me yet and said, where was it? So I think we’re all gonna be okay. So sometimes it’s a day late. It just depends on how everything’s going.
Megan Porta: Yeah. About a year ago, I just had this feeling like I needed to start reserving Fridays just for that. Just a fluid a day. If I wanna work fine, I sometimes do work. If not, great. So I started taking every meeting that I was scheduling on Fridays and moving it to another day. I never schedule calls on Fridays. I always have it blank. Like I said, some Fridays I sit in my office and I do work. But I do what I want on Fridays.
Cynthia Christensen: That’s important.
Megan Porta: But I had to set myself up for that. It wasn’t like an overnight thing. I had to do that over time, but it’s been really beneficial for my mental wellbeing.
Cynthia Christensen: Absolutely. When you’re dealing with physical limitations, I talked about this in therapy this morning so I always say give yourself grace. I say that a lot to myself, even. I used to feel so guilty about not doing it. I think it comes from having my mother who was a Korean immigrant and never sat still. Was constantly moving. My uncles had two or three jobs. If you weren’t doing, you were lazy so that just sticks in your head that I’m being lazy. But it’s okay to give yourself some grace and say, today I’m just not. I’m gonna do less. I’m not gonna push myself or feel bad about it. Some days I have to tell you I do too much. Then I know that too.
Megan Porta: Same. Yeah, you can feel it, right?
Cynthia Christensen: Yeah. Sometimes I do too much. For some people it’s because they’ve noticed it in stress, they’re stressed out and they’re like, oh my God, I did too much today. So my therapist actually had me start writing down all the things I did in a day until I saw her in two weeks. So I was amazed at how much I actually got done. Because I was telling myself, I’m not doing enough. Especially when you have a physical limitation or a mental limitation, like a depression or something, and you think I’m just not doing enough. So you write down what you did and it could be just feeding yourself breakfast, but the things that you do in the day and you’re like, okay, so I actually did do a lot of things today. Maybe they weren’t all the things I planned on doing, but I did all of these things. So that just really helped me with my mental mindset.
Megan Porta: Yeah, focusing on what you just did instead of what you haven’t.
Cynthia Christensen: Because some days I would do so much, and my body tells me. By doing that, I’m learning to space out what I’m doing. Okay, so you didn’t need to cook four things that day and also take video and photographs of all of it. That didn’t need to happen. Also not including cooking breakfast for you and your husband and doing the dishes four or five times. That all did not need to happen. So that helped me to space things out and say I’m gonna, maybe I’ll just wait and do that tomorrow.
Megan Porta: Having it on paper kind of brings light to ways to change it. Yeah, then there’s another kind of underlying issue here, I feel like, because if you do have a limitation, which again could be all of us at any given time, we deal with competence issues because we tend to think we’re the only ones navigating a business and a life with limitations, and then add to it the fact that we’re all isolated and doing these jobs mostly alone. So what do you recommend about that? Just that competence piece.
Cynthia Christensen: The first thing is to realize everyone on social media is showing the best parts of themselves. So I had to stop comparing myself to other people because I guarantee that if they turn the camera around, their kitchen’s a mess too. Their hair is up in a messiest bun you’ve ever seen in your life and their trash bins overflowing, something. You know what I mean?
Megan Porta: Yes, I do.
Cynthia Christensen: It’s not perfect. I try to show some of those imperfections now and again because I want people to know that it’s not all perfect. So it’s just sometimes it’s not and that’s okay.
Megan Porta: Most of the time it’s not, right?
Cynthia Christensen: Most of the time it’s not. Yeah. I have my Christmas tree. I did put the ornaments away yesterday.
Megan Porta: Oh same.
Cynthia Christensen: But they’re sitting on the floor and the boxes.
Megan Porta: Same. We have our ornaments put away, but our tree is still up. I was gonna say, we’re not on video right now, but you should see my hair. I did not even look in the mirror this morning. I have no idea how I look.
Cynthia Christensen: I thought that I would feel more confident today if I actually put on eyebrows.
Megan Porta: Oh, there you go.
Cynthia Christensen: I’ll have you know, my eyebrows are perfect right now.
Megan Porta: Awesome.
Cynthia Christensen: But that helped.
Megan Porta: Sometimes that does help. Just taking a shower and getting dressed and I hardly ever dry my hair anymore, but blow drying my hair and putting a curling iron through it and like putting on makeup. Sometimes that helps me just feel more confident as I show up to calls or even just sitting and working. It makes me feel more professional. Not every day. I don’t do that every day, but every once in a while that does help.
Cynthia Christensen: Once in a while I’ll put on pants with a button.
Megan Porta: I rarely do that. So you’ve got me.
Cynthia Christensen: I call them hard pants, but once in a while I’ll put on hard pants.
Megan Porta: That’s funny.
Cynthia Christensen: For the most part it’s morning jammies and afternoon jammies. We’re getting by.
Megan Porta: So if other people are listening and they have issues too with maybe confidence or any of the things we’re talking about, they feel like they’re alone and have limitations. What would you recommend that they do? Find support or? Yeah, just what? Anything.
Cynthia Christensen: Find support if you can. Not everyone has a supportive family. I’m very lucky. I have a husband who supports what I’m doing and is my biggest cheerleader. My daughters. I couldn’t ask for better the way that they encourage and cheer for me. But I also, even with that, needed extra help. So I sought out therapy, and I’m a big advocate of that. If other people in your community or even your Instagram community. I have so many good friends I’ve met through my Instagram account that are lifelong friends. Talk to them. They will understand. Or sometimes it’s okay to just be upset one day. Your friends will understand that and talk to you, talk you through it. When something bad happens for me, when I have another surgery or I had a particularly bad day at physical therapy or something, I allow myself, I just get mad. I might text my therapist and say, I’m just really still upset and it’s not fair. I have a not fair moment where I’m pretty much a big baby about it. But I have people that I’ve built a community around me that I can talk to. I don’t always, I’m not perfect. A lot of times I’ll compare myself to others. I’ll say I don’t have an ad network yet. Or I wanted 50,000 followers and I don’t have it and I want this and I want that and I don’t have it and why, it’s not fair and my stuff is great. We all go through it, right? So I have my family say, mom, what you’re doing is great. My therapist said, yeah, but look at all that you’ve accomplished. So if you can reach out to somebody.
Megan Porta: Find those people who will lift you up and remind you of all the things that you have done, because everyone listening has accomplished amazing things, everybody.
Cynthia Christensen: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I think this is such an important conversation to have that we kind of tiptoe around too. It’s such a hustle mentality in not even just the food blogging space, but just being an entrepreneur right now is like, you need to hustle and you need to get as much stuff done as possible. If you’re not doing that, then what are you doing? So I think that this is really, really important to shed light on the fact that we all have limitations that we need to take better care of ourselves and that is actually going to provide us with a more fruitful business.
Cynthia Christensen: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Then Cynthia, there were a few things you said early on. I didn’t wanna interrupt you because you were in such a flow, but I have to point these out because they’re so amazing. I wrote down what you said, I was afraid, so I did it. Oh my gosh, I love that so much. Instead, I was afraid, but I did it anyway. You said I was afraid, so I did it. I love that. That’s so powerful.
Cynthia Christensen: I tend to do that. I used to be afraid. I used to procrastinate. I used to not have confidence and so, the things that scared me were the things that I started to gravitate to. Just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone says no? You’ll never see them again.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s so powerful. Something we can all learn from. Then one other thing you said, assume the answer is going to be Yes.
Cynthia Christensen: I do that. I’m pretty cocky.
Megan Porta: But you’ve, you have done that in certain areas of your life where It has been yes. Maybe it was a little bit shocking, right? But you were like, oh, they actually said yes. Then that led to great things and opportunities and you meeting people and connecting and so many other good things.
Cynthia Christensen: I’ve done so many things since the age of 57, that I couldn’t have imagined doing in my twenties or thirties. So many things because I just decided to imagine the answer was yes, and so I just did it.
Megan Porta: That is so awesome. Okay. I need to meet you in person. I feel like you would be such a good person just to have an afternoon conversation with.
Cynthia Christensen: I think we’re both going to the Tastemaker conference.
Megan Porta: Oh, you’ll be a tastemaker.
Cynthia Christensen: I will, yeah.
Megan Porta: Awesome.
Cynthia Christensen: That’s another thing that was really scary for me. I’ve never gone away at 60. I’ve never gone away by myself. I used to tell the kids I just wanna get a hotel room by myself and not talk to anybody. Eat room service. They’re like, hahaha, mom. Guess what? They were so proud of me that I did it, but I have these physical limitations. I don’t care. There’s Uber, I’m going and my husband was like, fantastic. I booked non-refundable tickets. Oh my God.
Megan Porta: Yes. To say a little bit more about that Tastemaker, or not just Tastemaker, but any conference, it is so scary. Nobody is immune to that by the way. Bloggers who have been blogging for a million years and have millions of page views a month, they’re not immune to it. It is scary going across the country or to a new city and meeting new people, walking into a space where you know nobody in person. It’s scary. So that is valid and real. If you can swing it, do it anyway because it pays off a million.
Cynthia Christensen: I’m excited.
Megan Porta: I’m so excited to meet you.
Cynthia Christensen: I’m excited to do my first grownup trip. At 60.
Megan Porta: Oh, amazing. You’ll enjoy it so much. That will be self-care for sure. You’ll come home feeling so filled up because you’ll meet amazing people and have new knowledge and it’ll benefit you in so many ways.
Cynthia Christensen: Yes. This is my year.
Megan Porta: Yes. We should say that every year.
Cynthia Christensen: This is my year to make it happen. Yes, for sure.
Megan Porta: This has been so fun. Is there anything that we’ve forgotten to touch on, Cynthia, that you want to talk about before we start saying goodbye?
Cynthia Christensen: If anybody wants more information on different things, hacks, organizational things that they want help with, please feel free to contact me. I’ve assisted a lot of people with that. Sometimes just talking to somebody else who’s going through something similar is really helpful. So like I said, I’ve met people that are part of my community. I’m happy to be part of your community and help you because it’s scary. Whatever it is, it’s your thing and it can be scary. So I’m here to help.
Megan Porta: Aw, that’s such a nice offer. I love that you just put that out there. Okay thank you. This truly has been such a pleasure to have this conversation with you today. So thank you for your time today, Cynthia. We appreciate you.
Cynthia Christensen: You bet.
Megan Porta: To end, do you have either a favorite quote or words of additional words of inspiration to share with us?
Cynthia Christensen: I do, actually. You asked me, and I actually have two short quotes that I keep on my phone, under my blog resources on my notes app. One is, “I will not use moving slowly as a way of avoiding moving toward what I actually want. I can move slowly and still take action.” The other is, “people are happier to help than we expect. Asking isn’t always a burden. It’s often an opportunity to help others feel capable and useful. Seeking help is an expression of trust”.
Megan Porta: Oh, those are so powerful. I love that.
Cynthia Christensen: So those are my two favorites.
Megan Porta: Food for Thought, for the day for everyone. Ponder those. So we will put together show notes for you, Cynthia. If you wanna go look for those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/butfirstwebrunch, tell everyone where they can find you.
Cynthia Christensen: I am at butfirstwebrunch.com is my blog. On Instagram I’m at butfirst_webrunch.
Megan Porta: Okay, go check Cynthia out, everyone. Thank you again so much for all of Cynthia, and thank you so much for listening, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.
💥 Join the free EBT community, where you will connect with food bloggers, gain confidence and clarity as a food blogger so you don’t feel so overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS!
Want to achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible? Stop by Eat Blog Talk to get the details on our Mastermind program. This transformative 12-month experience will help you accomplish more than you would be able to in 5+ years when forging ahead alone.
Click the button below to learn what a mastermind program is, what your commitment is and what Eat Blog Talk’s commitment to you is.
📩 Sign up for FLODESK, the email service provider with intuitive, gorgeous templates and a FLAT MONTHLY RATE (no more rate increases when you acquire subscribers!).