In episode 389, Megan chats to Christina Jolam about why Christina was held back from blogging and how she overcame doubt, perfectionism and other obstacles that stood in her way.
We cover information on how perfectionism stands in the way of starting new ventures, how to learn to invite criticism in instead of fearing it, how to address your doubts practically and use journaling to determine your feelings and keep moving ahead.
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Connect with The Weekday Pescatarian
Bio Christina Jolam is a communications consultant-turned-food writer and founder of the blog Weekday Pescatarian. She creates easy and impressive fish-forward recipes and shares tips for incorporating more seafood into your diet, all from her tiny sea-side flat in Portugal.
- There’s never a perfect time to get started in blogging and taking your business to new levels.
- Criticism doesn’t have to be a fire alarm. Push publish and then choose to thoughtfully critique your work as you grow.
- Perfectionism tendencies keep us from taking any risks by making a failure seem so great that it can’t be overcome.
- Allowing ourselves to dread some work, we’ll then own procrastination. So find something neutral to be proud of and get back on track.
- The hard parts of blogging will get easier but you have to meet the thoughts head on to not allow something to derail your work.
- Our thoughts create our feelings. Journal it or think through how you go there. Don’t let your feelings control your life and live in fear based thoughts.
- Repetition is how you can work towards growth when you start making positive thoughts then choices.
- Go through the motion of answering the hard questions of what if I fail and realize that it won’t be as bad as you’re setting it up to be.
Join Christina for a Fish Forward Year
Book: Elisabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Kara Lowentheil’s podcast episode on Perfectionism Fantasies
Life Coach School podcast
Click for full script.
EBT389 – Christina Jolam
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.
You all are going to love this episode. I have Christina Jolam with me from Weekday Pescatarian in this episode. She talks about how she was held back for so long from blogging because of a few things, such as perfectionism, and we’ll get into some of the other things in the episode. But I think that a lot of us can relate to this. She talks about strategies for overcoming the things that hold us back in such a real way and you are going to be really inspired by this. This is episode number 389, sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk. Scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review, this will only benefit this podcast, it adds value. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now onto the episode.
Megan Porta: Christina Jolam is a communications consultant turned food writer and founder of the blog Weekday Pescatarian. She creates easy and impressive fish forward recipes and shares tips for incorporating more seafood into your diet, all from her tiny seaside flat in Portugal. Christina, hi. How are you today? So great to have you on the podcast.
Christina Jolam: Hey, Megan, I’m great. Great to talk to you.
Megan Porta: Yay. I’m excited. This is gonna be a great conversation. But before we get into it, you know it’s coming. We wanna hear what fun fact you have to share.
Christina Jolam: Okay. My fun fact is that travel and exploring the world has been a really big part of my story and also my cooking experience and perspective. So one of my favorite adventures came in Paris several years ago. I was taking a series of courses from a French chef. So one day we made baguettes, and one day we made croissants because of course we did. We were in Paris. Then on the last day we made French sauces. So we made eight different sauces, like rich, creamy, buttery French just deliciousness. When we finished, They brought in warm baguettes from the kitchen and we all stood around the island with our ramekins full of sauces and just tore off big chunks of baguette and dipped and ate until we couldn’t take another bite. Truly, it was one of the most magical days of my life. My wedding day was pretty great, but there was no red wine in shallot reduction sauce there.
Megan Porta: Oh, you okay. It’s really early in the morning here, but I am dying to be in that scene that you just described. That is so delicious. Oh my gosh.
Christina Jolam: It was amazing.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love it. We’ll talk a little bit about your travels and where you are. Some people might be surprised where you’re from, where you’re talking from today, so we’ll get to that in a little bit too. But thank you for sharing that. So you’re here today, Christina, to talk about some things that have held you back from growing and how maybe we can help others from being held back as well. So do you wanna start with just talking through your journey a little bit with blogging?
Christina Jolam: So like a lot of people, I think food is a huge part of my history and my memories, and so when I travel, it’s the first thing I think about. How do I learn about this place through their food culture? I’m a former journalist and marketing professional, so storytelling is also a really big part of my life. So this idea of bottling some of that food magic and creating stories around it was really appealing to me. So I had actually considered starting a food blog for about 12 years before I actually launched Weekday Pescatarian last year. Yes. Clearly I didn’t wanna rush anything, Megan. That was leading up to my launch.
Megan Porta: That is a long time. Okay. Can I ask you, what was going through your mind when you were deliberating over this for so long?
Christina Jolam: To be fair, I was also building a career in living. So it wasn’t a 24-hour seven contemplation, but I think most of my career was spent in marketing helping clients launch or grow their businesses. So I knew what it took to create something new. That’s a really long list and it can be really intimidating. One of those foundational requirements from a marketing perspective is having a unique product or service, something that really differentiates you from the rest of the field. So for a potential blogger like me, that differentiator could be like a specific food niche. I really felt like I didn’t have a niche that would differentiate me because I like to eat, and didn’t seem unique. That seemed like a pretty universal reaction to food. I think the second factor, and probably really the core of my procrastination was a tendency towards perfectionism. So starting, anything new brings risk. I might make a mistake. Certainly, I’ll make a mistake. Someone might criticize my work or question my expertise and I just didn’t know that taking that risk was worth it. You ask yourself, what if it fails? Every time you consider something new, if you ask yourself that, that can really stop you in your tracks. So I just kept traveling and reading and taking cooking classes all over the world. I guess I believed at some point I would pass through a magic portal when I would be expert enough to start a blog. Spoiler alert, there was no portal, turns out.
Megan Porta: So what was that tipping point for you when you finally did crossover and start your blog?
Christina Jolam: Yeah, in 2021, my husband and I moved from our home in Tennessee to Lisbon, Portugal. Later that year we moved just outside Lisbon to a little seaside village named Kiske. I’m originally from Chicago and then I lived in Tennessee for most of my life, which are two great areas, but neither one of them is anywhere near an ocean. So I was super excited to be near the water and to have access to such a variety of fresh seafood coming out of the Atlantic every day. So on January 1st of last year, 2022, I started eating pescatarian Monday through Friday just as a way to try all of the local seafood and find new ways to prepare it myself. I’m always of course trying to eat healthier like most of us, and cut back on red meat, and I knew seafood would be important to that effort, but I also honestly wasn’t ready to say I had eaten my last cheeseburger or Thanksgiving turkey or Sunday roast. So creating the self-imposed boundary around weekend versus weekday eating felt like a good fit for me and where I was geographically. So I joked that I was becoming a Weekday Pescatarian and the name and the practice really stuck. I intended to just do this for the month of January, and by the end of the month I felt great. I had found so many new types of seafood that both my husband and I really loved. I was really excited to keep exploring. And that’s when it clicked that maybe I had found my niche.
Megan Porta: It is a unique niche and I think that you’re probably the only one. Have you come across any other weekday pescatarian blogs?
Christina Jolam: Not a weekday pescatarian, but I do think that there are some really great pescatarian blogs and bloggers. People who really focus on seafood and coastal living. While I do eat things other than pescatarian on the weekends to date, I don’t blog about those. I really focus on a kind of a plant-based, supplemented seafood recipe on the blog. Obviously between my January revelation and launching the blog in May of last year, there was a lot of work and research and planning that went into that. In doing research, it was so fascinating. I found out that about 80% of the seafood that’s consumed in the US is actually eaten in restaurants. So people love seafood and they want to eat more fish, but they just don’t feel comfortable preparing it at home. I felt like I was in the same boat. I was a super confident cook. I loved cooking, but prior to moving to Portugal, I had maybe three or four go-to seafood options. Mostly, your basic shrimp, salmon, maybe scallops, but I would say cooking seafood was the area that I felt least confident in. So for me, weekday pescatarian felt like an opportunity to fill a gap and help folks who already probably enjoyed cooking, tackle this kind of last frontier of home cooking, which is preparing easy and impressive seafood in their own kitchen. So that’s my goal.
Megan Porta: It is funny how often I find that people avoid cooking seafood at home. You never go to, I shouldn’t say never, but it’s so rare that you go to somebody’s house for dinner and they’re serving, I don’t know, shrimp. It just doesn’t happen. So I guess I never actually gave thought to that until you said that, but it is so true that restaurants are really the place to go if you are going to eat and enjoy seafood.
Christina Jolam: You’re exactly right. I just feel like there’s so many great options. Something I hear from a lot of folks is, well of course, you live next to the ocean. It’s easy for you to eat seafood. But I think something that I also really wanna help people understand is, yeah, I live next to the ocean, but a majority of the fish that I buy is also frozen. Because they freeze it out on the boats and bring it in. So whether I’m buying it in Portugal, frozen, and it was caught two miles offshore, or whether you’re in Tennessee and you buy it frozen and it was frozen on the same boat, that still gives you a really wonderful product and something that you can be proud to cook and serve.
Megan Porta: I was gonna say something about your niche. Something that I love is that it is filled with balance. It’s not an extreme concept. Like I feel so many blogs are, which is fine. That’s fine if that’s where the route you wanna go. But I like that you are about balance and enjoying certain things and having boundaries, but also having balance. So I love that.
Christina Jolam: Yes, that is for sure my goal, and it’s something that I think in this weekday pescatarian mindset, I’m certainly not trying to convince other folks to make this commitment. I just hope that you can find some great seafood recipes and pick one or two and add them to your regular rotation every week, and expand your cooking skills and feel good about what you’re feeding your family.
Megan Porta: I wanna get back to the perfectionism thing, but first I would love to know more, a little bit more about Portugal and why you guys moved there and has it been easy, has it been difficult?
Christina Jolam: Like we talked about, we’ve traveled pretty extensively through Europe and Asia and lots of places around the world. When we first visited Portugal, we were blown away. The food scene is amazing. The weather, honestly, in this part of Portugal is just the loveliest. The people are so warm and wonderful. So when we did a little research, we found that Portugal is super welcoming to expats, particularly remote workers and folks, if you have passive income. My husband and I have a small real estate portfolio and my husband manages the rental properties. So Portugal is very welcoming to folks with passive income. So we were able to secure a residency visa through a pretty simple process. So once we decided to move and you know, make the leap, Portugal was a pretty easy decision for us.
Megan Porta: So how long have you been there? Remind me.
Christina Jolam: So we are coming up on two years.
Megan Porta: Oh wow. Do you have any plans of leaving? Do you wanna stay for a while?
Christina Jolam: So originally we said it was gonna be a one year adventure because that was really all I could wrap my mind around. But we’ve been here almost two years with no plans to return at this point. It’s just such a lovely place. I would say there are differences culturally and life is different here. We don’t have a car, you have public transportation. There’s just, there’s a lot of differences. But most of them have been such a joy to discover. It just has added such richness to our lives. Certainly the most difficult part is, your friends and family being a world away. And that’s a challenge, but we make a point to visit several times a year back to the States and keep in touch, obviously with all of the technology tools we have available to us. But overall, it has been just the most lovely adventure.
Megan Porta: I love hearing that because in my mind I think of it being just so hard leaving your family and loved ones and completely immersing yourself in a different culture and food. I bet you just have to relearn everything about how to navigate grocery stores and just everything in your life. So it’s so great to hear you say that it’s been such a lovely experience.
Christina Jolam: It really has. It really has.
Megan Porta: So would you encourage others to do this? I’m just curious. I know this is a little off topic, but.
Christina Jolam: Yeah, I think I would, but it also really depends on your situation in life. We don’t have kids, so if I was bringing young kids to a new country where English wasn’t the primary language, that would certainly be more challenging. But we have lots of friends from the States who have young kids here, so it’s obviously doable and they have found a great landing place. I think where we live outside Lisbon, Cascais, the vast majority of the people speak English, the locals do. So there’s very little time. We’re trying to learn Portuguese as well. Not the easiest language to learn, I’m told, but you really have to go out of your way to find people who don’t speak English here. So I think that has made it a lot easier because the communication component isn’t as challenging as it might be in other places.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that makes sense. Then I have to ask about the food in Portugal, because obviously you’re a foodie.
Christina Jolam: Yes. It’s amazing. Seafood’s a big part of it, but also pork is a big part of this scene here. Probably the things that Portugal is most known for are salt cod, bacalhau, and then all of the fresh seafood that comes outta the ocean here. I think culturally it’s, you have a lot of seafood markets. You have spice shops and bakeries, and you’ll have fruit stands, specifically fruit stores. You’ll have specific vegetable stores. So you have, the supermarkets, I wouldn’t say exactly Walmart style, but something where it’s basically a one-stop shop. But culturally it’s just much more accepted that if you wanna do grilled fish, you’re gonna go to the fishmonger and pick that up. You’re not gonna go to just a general grocery store all the time. So it’s a little bit different and really fun. Something that also has added a layer of adventure to the blog and to being in Portugal is my understanding of SEO and how much that’s grown since I started the blog. I’m a really devoted user of RankIQ. I would call myself a super fan even.
Megan Porta: Yes.
Christina Jolam: So that’s how I’m building out my recipe calendar for upcoming posts. So now that I’ve got about a hundred and fifty, a hundred fifty five posts on the blog, I’ve started really digging into fish that I can’t get in Portugal, so that when I travel, whether it’s to the states or somewhere else in the world, I always rent an Airbnb with a kitchen so I can take advantage of their local seafood and knock out a few of the low competition, high traffic keywords, even when I’m on the road. So for instance, when I visited my mom back in Illinois for Thanksgiving, I made three recipes using walleye, which is a super popular fish where I’m from in the Midwest and something,
Megan Porta: Yes, Minnesota fish.
Christina Jolam: I was gonna say yes. But it’s not available in Portugal. So I made three great recipes with walleye, which of course you could also use with cod or haddock or any number of substitutes. In Paris last year, I made a beans and greens recipe with Escarole because Escarole is much more widely available in France than it is in Portugal. So it just adds an extra layer of adventure and fun to traveling when you get to plan your recipes and shoot around the local foods, wherever you’re visiting.
Megan Porta: Okay. So I love all of this. I love hearing about your experience in Portugal, how it’s related, how you’ve woven in your food, your love of food, and then how that ties into your food blog and all of this. So you started your food blog about a year into your Portugal journey. So you’re a year into your food blog. You admit that you’ve had some things that have held you back and you mentioned earlier perfectionism. So let’s talk about that a little bit. I think that is something that a lot of us can relate to. Just not wanting to hit publish because we want it to be perfect and not wanting to put our photos out there because we want it to be perfect. Not starting the blog because we think we need it to be perfect. Yeah. Just gimme your thoughts on perfectionism as it relates to blogging.
Christina Jolam: So I honestly wish I could say that I had this one solved and licked for good, but certainly it’s a huge focus for me and something that I had to do a lot of work on to be able to launch Weekday Pescatarian. Then, as I go, to your point, every time you hit publish, you have that little conversation with yourself about, is this good enough? Is this an A plus? Or is it good enough to hit publish on. So I think I see, at this point, I see it for what it is, which is my perfectionist brain, my perfectionist tendencies, or as I like to call myself, recovering perfectionist. We really want everything to be perfect so that we can’t be criticized because our brains read criticism as just a four alarm fire. Brene Brown, if your listeners are familiar, has done some really amazing work on perfectionism and vulnerability, if anyone has an interest in going deeper on the topic. So for example, when I had mentioned this earlier, when I would consider starting the blog in years past, I would think, what if I launch a blog and it fails? That thought really led my brain to send these really loud, dangerous signals. So as a mindful kind of self-aware human, it’s my job to answer the question, what if it fails and not just let it linger in the air and create this existential dread about my choices. So, if I say what if it fails? Then I have to think through and say okay, I would probably be embarrassed. I might feel bad about myself for a while. I might have to go back to full-time consulting. But none of those experiences or possibilities are a fate worse than death. It’s just part of the human experience. But our perfectionistic tendencies really keep us back from taking any risks, and they do that by making our failure so great, we feel like we can’t overcome it. So for me, as I started understanding myself and my own thought patterns, I was able to work through the thoughts and the tendencies and really make conscious decisions around risks that made sense for me. We can dig into some of that more if you’d like, Megan, but I’d also love to hear from you. I know you’ve talked before about perfectionistic tendencies. Is that something that you’ve found some good resources on?
Megan Porta: I think just time honestly, and maturity and experience has helped me with that. But I would say definitely in the beginning I had struggles with that. Like photography and every piece of food blogging brought about exactly what you’re talking about. Is this good enough? What if I fail? Are people going to criticize me? All of those things came up, but when you do the repetition so many times, I think that eventually, for me anyway, I just got used to it. I wouldn’t say that I’m healed from perfectionism or anything like that. I don’t think that we ever are if we experience it at all. I think we’re always dealing with it on some level, but I would say that I’m so much better. I now am just like, whatever. If people want to criticize me, that’s fine. I feel sorry for them. It’s on them. Yeah, I think that repetition is a huge piece of that.
Christina Jolam: That’s such a great point because it feels like in my previous life, and for a lot of us where blogging isn’t our first career, you had achieved a level of mastery in whatever our previous careers were through the same way. We walked in somewhere on our first day thinking, wow, I don’t really know what I’m doing here. Then we became proficient at it and experts and became really confident, and then at some point midlife, or whenever, we start this new blogging thing and we’re beginners all over again, but hopefully with a more mature mind. So that’s a great point. If we can remember what we did the first time to build and to get through all of those obstacles, it can help us here. That’s a great point.
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Megan Porta: Doing things over and over and over is going to build your confidence and it’s going to make things better. It’s going to make you feel less perfectionistic. So I think if anyone struggles with that would be my advice, would just to keep doing the things. Keep pressing publish. Keep taking the pictures, keep writing, keep doing your research over and over. And over time you’ll look back and say, oh my gosh, I’m actually not feeling the need to be perfectionist anymore. I’m curious about other things that you feel right now, in this moment maybe holding you back. So I know that you waited a lot of years and you did thinking and researching and all of that, but is there anything right now that you’re like, oh, I still feel like this is holding me back?
Christina Jolam: So I think it’s the same concept, but it’s applied differently in a lot of different ways. You and I, Megan, have talked about this offline. Just the challenges that I have with marketing my work even though I was paid to help other people market their work previously marketing my own work for me is really challenging. I would much rather be in the kitchen creating recipes or writing blogs, doing SEO, editing photos. All of that is super comfortable for me, but actively marketing the blog. Honestly, it makes me break out in hives. It’s just not comfortable. When I get up in the morning and say, I’ve got marketing tasks on my to-do list, whether I’m needing to build up a media kit or pitch a blog or something like that, I’m gonna probably take a minute and journal. I really recommend journaling as a tool that I’ve found to be really helpful. Not journaling like a dear diary, here’s what I did today. Although that would also be fun, but more along the lines of, Hey, what am I thinking? Literally like five minutes. What am I thinking about my tasks for today? What is creating this like low level hum of dread that I’m feeling about it? Is there a better way to think about it? So with marketing my blog, if my go-to thought is, it makes me break out in hives because it’s so uncomfortable, I’m probably gonna wear that dread for the rest of the day. Usually dread leads to procrastination. So if I can see that automatic thought and find a little bit more neutral thought, it doesn’t have to be like unicorns and roses. I’m not gonna tell myself marketing, my blog is truly changing the world and I love every second of it. Something neutral Hey, I’m proud of my blog and marketing my own work may be uncomfortable, but it’ll get easier as I practice. So today I’m gonna practice. To the point you were making earlier, Megan. If we know when we can tell ourselves, Hey, this will get easier with time, this isn’t always gonna be this difficult. But for me, if I’m not journaling, if I’m not catching that thought, I probably don’t even realize that this thought is creating my dread and potentially my procrastination. So just journaling has been such a helpful practice for me, particularly around marketing, which is something that, starting late last year, I’m really trying to shift my focus for the blog from just, massive content creation to starting to market it more so that will be a space for me to watch moving into 2023 as well.
Megan Porta: I feel like what you just said, Christina, holds so much power. You didn’t say many words, but they were so powerful. Just the whole dread leads to procrastination. That is huge. Because we all have that on some level. Not probably, hopefully not every day, but we all get up in the morning sometimes and think, oh my gosh, I have to do this. That feeling of dread is horrible. On those days, I sit down at my computer and I do anything but focusing on that task. I will do anything. I’ll be like, what am I doing? I’m suddenly on Amazon looking at floss sticks or something like.
Christina Jolam: Clean teeth are important.
Megan Porta: Yes, they are. Exactly. I need to prioritize this at eight o’clock in the morning. But yeah, that’s so cool. So anything you can do to diminish that dread. For you it’s journaling and getting to the bottom of what is causing it really. What are some other ways you feel like people could maybe squash the dread before it blows up into pro procrastination?
Christina Jolam: So building on that theory that our thoughts are really creating our feelings. If dread is a feeling, then I wanna trace back what is the thought that’s creating that. Another concept, and I think I learned this first from a woman named Brooke Castillo. She has a podcast called The Life Coach School, but she talks about equal airtime. So equal airtime, kind of building on the idea of journaling and noting our thoughts and not just letting them control our life. Equal air time’s the idea that even after you journal, if you take the time to jot down your thoughts and come up with a more neutral thought, our brains are gonna continue to tell us the worst case scenario, right? Because it’s just what they’re wired to do. I see this in myself on a regular basis. So practicing equal airtime means that throughout the day, as my fear-based thinking throws me curveball after curveball, I’m gonna continue to choose my thoughts, not just let those automatic kinds of negative or critical thoughts run away with me. Like the example I gave a minute ago about marketing leading up to this podcast interview. Megan, I know you can’t tell, but I’m a little bit starstruck because I’m such a fan of this podcast. But my brain told me over and over again, Hey, you could really mess this up. I get pretty excited about seafood and I could just get into the weeds about the benefits of Portuguese Sea Bream versus the Great Lakes walleye fish. Who doesn’t wanna hear 30 minutes of a fish monologue? But every time my brain offered up that sort of depressing possibility, my on purpose thought was, I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned from Megan’s podcast. I’m proud of my work, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with her listeners. Now, again, that’s not a unicorn and Rose’s thought that’s pretty neutral, Megan’s done a lot. I’d love to contribute to her work, kind of statement. But it’s so much less emotionally charged and it leaves me with a feeling of willingness to put myself out there and do a podcast interview and talk about what kind of got me started and what was holding me back in hopes that it helps somebody else who maybe has been developing their blog for three years and is just afraid to hit publish. There’s a way through that. So for me, those two kinds of twin concepts of journaling as a way to catch my thoughts and then practicing equal airtime, using those on purpose thoughts throughout the day as my brain continues to throw up potential worst case scenarios. Those two concepts for me have really been game changers and not just in blogging and starting the food blog. But just in my regular life where you can imagine, I was also somewhat risk averse. So being able to practice this in different areas of my life has just been, it’s been a really great evolution for me.
Megan Porta: That is so cool to hear you talk through that, and repetition seems to be a theme. So we’re talking about when you’re getting over perfectionism, repetition is necessary. Also when you’re trying to manage your thoughts, repetition is so important because your thoughts are, man, our brains are so powerful, right? They can talk us into some serious crap. Like we have to wrangle them sometimes and just say, look, you are not the boss of me. I can do this. I think repetition is the answer to that. Just doing it over and over. Then over time it seems to get easier.
Christina Jolam: You’re so right. Having started the blog, having launched the blog, I’ll have a lot of people say to me gosh, you came from a marketing background, so you already knew how to write and media relations and you know how to take pictures and edit things and do Canva. So this must have been a no-brainer. Of course you’re gonna be good at blogging. I look at it and think, my brain told me every day that I wouldn’t be able to make this work. I think part of it was because I did have expertise in marketing, and I know how difficult it is to make a venture successful, but your brain really does, to your point, it has a way of making you believe even your strengths aren’t good enough. Still, no you’ve studied this and done this for 20 years for other people, but you probably can’t do it for yourself. So having the courage to look at those thoughts and being willing to say, I bet I can. If I can’t, again, failure is not a fate worse than death. I would rather say that I tried and put out some great work and learned and improved than to live my life and never have tried.
Megan Porta: Oh, this is so good. I wrote something down a little bit ago that I wanted to just touch on because I can’t not. But you talked about asking yourself that question, what if I fail? Then you followed that up with, answering the question. I think it’s so easy, but, oh my gosh, do we ever think of that? To actually answer the question, what if I fail? Okay, let’s go there. If I fail, I have to go live in my mom’s basement or whatever. Fill in the blank. How bad is that? Then if you can handle that, which spoiler. You can handle anything. Then you do it and if you fail, then that happens. Okay. Then you build another business or whatever. But I just love that it’s so simple. Answer the question.
Christina Jolam: I mean that again goes not just to blogging, but to anything. To ask yourself, I think a lot of times professionally, women in particular, I think there’s studies that say this is held back at times because we are more risk averse. So we tell ourselves like, gosh, if I go for this promotion, if I pitch this idea, what if it fails? Okay, what if it fails? I might lose my job. Okay, then what? If we can keep asking these questions and then answering them. If I swing for the fences and I get a double or a triple, in baseball terminology.
Megan Porta: I was following.
Christina Jolam: Okay, that’s cool. I’ll take that. But Babe Ruth, the best player in the world, struck out a lot as well. So I guess to your point, if we’re not willing to answer the question, we just live with this dread that for many of us leads to procrastination, and then we’re not living the life we want. So if we want to live the life of our dreams, not to be corny, but if we really want to take the risks that build the life that we want, for me, I have to examine all of the possibilities, including the negative ones. But then be willing to make a plan mentally and say, okay, but I could handle that. I’ve handled worse things than that. I can handle that. I think that’s something that can help us kinda bust through some of these obstacles.
Megan Porta: We all have those things that we’ve gone through in our lives that are, that have been really difficult, but we’ve survived them. So I like to go there sometimes and just say okay, I’ve made it through this and I’m still standing. Our oldest son, we’re coming up on almost a year now where he had a really big open heart surgery. So anytime we deal with anything negative, I just question my whole family. I’m like, you guys, we got through that and we are still happy, we’re still smiling, we’re still alive, we’re breathing. We can do this. So I like to just go to those hard places sometimes and just compare. If you can do that, you can do anything.
Christina Jolam: That is so beautiful and such a great point. It does feel like for a lot of us, we want to run away from those hard places, but we can use it to our advantage. We can say, I survived that. Good Lord, I can do this.
Megan Porta: I think that’s all we need is just to give ourselves a little dose of perspective once in a while and remind ourselves what we’ve been through. Because we all go through tough things occasionally. We all just made it through a pandemic. We’re all still alive and breathing, if you’re listening to this, you’re still alive and breathing. So you’ve survived it. So just remind yourself of that once in a while when you feel like I can’t push publish, or I can’t put these photos out into the world. Compare that to what you’ve already been through.
Christina Jolam: That’s such a great point, and it’s something that, listening to podcasts like yours has helped so much for me because when I’m able to hear other successful bloggers that I have admired for years, people who are newer to me, but who are just knocking it out of the park, to hear them tell their story and to hear them talk about how they felt before they hit publish. From the outside I look at their work and I think it’s flawless and they say oh gosh, I’m still really working on my photography. That’s an area I really wanna improve this year. I think like what? I just assumed you were like sitting pretty and thinking everything was perfect. So I think that it also helps to reflect, not only on our own hard times, but to listen to other really successful folks that we admire and listen to their stories. I’ve not heard a single podcast on here where somebody says, and then I got it all figured out and I started my blog and I lived happily ever after. Nobody says that.
Megan Porta: Doesn’t happen.
Christina Jolam: No.
Megan Porta: I think that’s such a good point, Christina, to just listen to others too and know that nobody nails it ever. It’s all a journey for all of us and to understand that it is so easy to listen to somebody or to read someone’s content or to look at somebody’s social media feed and assume that they’ve just got it all figured out. That’s our minds playing tricks, again.
Christina Jolam: Exactly.
Megan Porta: They’ve got it figured out. You don’t. You’re not good enough. They’re perfect. That’s so not true. So get into that repetition that we were talking about like this is reality. We don’t have it figured out, but they don’t either. This is a journey for me. It’s a journey for them. This is such a process, and it’s such a huge mind game at times because of our minds. Add this fact that we’re all doing this alone in our homes, most of us, and we feel isolated and lonely at times. That doesn’t help either. So it’s a perfect storm.
Christina Jolam: It is. But also that’s where your podcast, masterminds, finding your right group of folks can be so helpful. My husband has been, I call him my volunteer COO. I think at some point he’s helping to be a paid employee, but he has been such a great resource for me and he’s so clever and smart about so much of this. So I do feel like I have somebody by my side. This is my passion, like I love it. You’re right. I live in a one bedroom little flat with a small kitchen and this is my workspace and this is what I’m really devoted to and I want to make successful. That can be a challenge. For all of us, for a lot of us who have kids and, have play dates in school and covid classrooms and all of that, that can be a lonely experience. So finding your group, whether that’s on Clubhouse or here or and in a Mastermind can be so powerful and valuable.
Megan Porta: Oh, it’s so valuable. I’ve taken a few weeks off of Clubhouse and it’s funny, I’ve actually noticed that in my demeanor, I started getting really grumpy. Clubhouse was like my weekly place to go where I could just collaborate, talk to people, like-minded friends, peers who are becoming closer friends. We’ve taken, I think, three weeks off now. The other day I was like, why am I so grumpy? Nothing else has really changed, and I’ve been spending time with my family. I love that. So I realized that I’m missing my friends. I’m just so excited to talk to them this week on Thursday. So yeah, there’s a lot of power there.
Christina Jolam: I think maybe Clubhouse is the grown up play date for all of us.
Megan Porta: Yes, it is. It is. It’s so great. Okay. You mentioned finding people to talk to, and you mentioned RankIQ a little bit earlier. Do you have any other tools or resources that you would recommend for people who maybe are feeling held back who just want that growth.
Christina Jolam: Yeah, and I mean I can send things over for the show notes, Megan, but I think from technical component and mindset, both, I think this podcast obviously Eat Blog Talk and then Food Blogger Pro have both been really helpful for me. Again, hearing other people’s stories and realizing that I wasn’t alone in my struggles. But also that when I started considering this seriously, I didn’t know a lot of food bloggers, right? The Pioneer Woman and Rachel Ray or something. But when you listen to these podcasts and you realize they’re literally thousands of food bloggers who have made this their full-time gig and have defined what success meant for them, it’s just really inspiring. So I think tools like that are helpful. Then specifically from a mindset or entrepreneurship angle, Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote, of course, Eat Pray Love. But she wrote a book called Big Magic, which is for anybody who’s working in a creative venture like food blogging, it’s just a great book. It was life changing for me.
Megan Porta: Love that book.
Christina Jolam: Yes. Brene Brown, who has two podcasts, Unlocking Us and Daring Greatly, those have both been really good for me around perfectionism. Carl Lowenthal and Brooke Castillo both do coaching podcasts around performance and thought work, and I’ve a lot of the concepts that I work on around journaling and thought management come from their teaching and it has been really helpful for me. So I know that’s a lot of resources and we’re all pressed for time, but those are the resources I go back to on a weekly basis to keep me going and remind me of the processes that are so helpful.
Megan Porta: I love it and we’ll include everything that you mentioned in the show notes, so you don’t have to write these down furiously. You can just go to Christina’s show notes and get those there. Thank you for sharing all of those. I know a lot of those. Some of those I didn’t know, so I’m gonna check them out myself. Okay. I feel like we’ve covered a lot and we’ve given a lot of encouragement and inspiration for people who do feel like maybe they too are being held back by whatever, perfectionism or something else. Is there anything you feel like we forgot, Christina, that you wanna mention?
Christina Jolam: I would just say that, an example of how these things have really come to life for me is that late last year I learned about Google Web stories, which I probably should have learned sooner. Instead, my go-to process is just to really kill myself with research on a topic before doing anything about it. And I didn’t. I listened to a Clubhouse tutorial and I chatted Megan with you very briefly, and I made a web story that day and I hit publish that night. I’m sure it wasn’t perfect, but it was progress and that was such a big moment for me to know that I could take action and not let my perfectionistic thinking get the better of me. So my brain still does just a fabulous job of warning me of a potential danger, real and imagined. But I can see it for what it is and really give myself some positive possibilities to consider. It’s just, it’s a super satisfying evolution to witness in myself.
Megan Porta: I love that you shared that about the web stories thing, because it is so empowering sometimes to just quickly take action and do something. It’s almost surprising to ourselves even oh my gosh, I actually just did that. I just pressed publish and just did it without researching and talking to a million people. So that is encouragement for people listening who are considering doing web stories or whatever. Like getting on Clubhouse or whatever it is. Just don’t think about it today. Just go do it.
Christina Jolam: Just do the thing.
Megan Porta: Just do it. Yeah. I love it. This is so inspiring. I feel like I could talk to you forever and ever. I’m gonna invite you back for part two because this is a topic that I love so much. It’s been so great to connect with you, Christina. So thank you so much for joining me today and sharing all of this value.
Christina Jolam: Oh, it’s been my pleasure. I’ve loved it.
Megan Porta: Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?
Christina Jolam: I do. Back to Ms. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic. She says in that book, I want to live a life more strongly driven by curiosity than by fear. That is my quote.
Megan Porta: Oh, that sums up our chat perfectly, right?
Christina Jolam: It does.
Megan Porta: Be curious and ignore the, or stomp on the.
Christina Jolam: Stomp it.
Megan Porta: Yep. Stomp it out. We’ll put all of your amazing resources that you mentioned in your show notes, and you can find those at eatblogtalk.com/weekdaypescatarian. So go check those out. Now, Christina, tell us where we can find you everywhere. If you have anything to offer my listeners.
Christina Jolam: Sure. So on the worldwide web, you can find me at weekdaypescatarian.com. I do have a great freebie you can sign up for. It’s a shopping list that gets your fridge and pantry ready to cook easy and impressive seafood dishes in your very own kitchen. We’re also doing a really fun fish forward January or fish forward year series right now where we tackle some seafood dishes that you can add to your weekly rotation, whether that’s easy weeknight meals or fancy dishes for entertaining. So if you have a goal to eat more seafood in the year ahead, sign up and I will get that in your inbox today. Then for the socials, you can find me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook at Weekday Pescatarian.
Megan Porta: Amazing. Everyone, go check Christina out. And thank you again for being here. 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.
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