thoughts

#tbt

With the stress of constantly trying to improve and progress and address weaknesses, it’s helpful to think about how far you’ve come since you started.

I came across an early version of our app the other day, which helped put things in perspective!

Adaptive Nutrition app in 2017

Adaptive Nutrition app in 2019

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The mobile app is nearly done, but there are a few things to figure out first. Stay tuned…!

Kia Wright
Books I Read In 2018

I set a goal to read 30 books last year, 10 more than the previous year. I felt like it’d be a challenge, but achievable.

Another goal I had for the year was to prioritize creation, and not just consumption - which reading is - so I tried not to make the number too ridiculous.

I read 29 non-fiction books and 1 fiction book. The non-fiction books were not purely consumed, but were all calls to action in their own way. As a result of these books, I tried a vegan diet, I gained confidence in my abilities as a small business owner, I became more open-minded to differing political and nutrition viewpoints, and I started working with a marketing coach - to name just a few tangible outcomes.

Warren Buffett says he spends about 80% of each day reading. When asked about his key to success, he replied, “Read five hundred pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.

This year I’m making my goal higher. ;-)

Kia Wright
Seen

A challenge I didn’t anticipate before I started on this small business adventure is the struggle with feeling “seen.” I think this is made more difficult being female (a characteristic of feminine energy is wanting to be seen) and my personality type (Enneagram “Achiever”).

I feel pretty whiny talking about it, but I want these posts to accurately reflect the journey, and maybe right now it’s just a big whiny journey.

I didn’t have this “being seen” dilemma at previous jobs, probably because plenty of people around me shared similar problems. There was also a much narrower scope of issues to do deal with.

The scope of issues as a small business owner feels not only much wider, but in many ways more personal.

But, I am working on accepting that those around you don’t have to be able to relate to the things that you feel best define you. There are also plenty of things they experience that I can’t relate to, and that’s okay.

The other day, as I was reading about product ownership, I made a list of the various roles I’ve taken on as a small business owner:

  • Co-owner

  • CEO

  • COO

  • CTO

  • Salesperson

  • Product Owner

  • Project Manager

  • Lead Developer

  • Programmer

  • Lead Designer

  • Designer

  • Marketing Director

  • Social Media Strategist

  • Nutrition Coach

I had coffee today with a friend - a woman who also does weightlifting and is learning how to code. She asked how Adaptive Nutrition was going, and I told her excitedly about our current projects - the mobile app, the online course, the new web app features, the new lessons content and format.

When she responded with genuine excitement, it was incredibly meaningful for me. I saw the awe in her eyes as she herself arrived at the realization of the scalability of our solution and our ultimate vision.

Feedback like this is few and far between. It was one of the few times since starting that I’ve felt seen.

Kia Wright
People Need Buy-in

Lesson #213 as a small business owner: Don’t work with friends for free.

This encompasses two scenarios:

1) Don’t give your product or services away for free.

2) Don’t have a friend work for you for free.

Any friend we’ve gifted our services to has not followed through - through no fault of their own, it’s just that they’re not bought in.

The situations where we’ve tried working with friends for free (to do our marketing, social media, etc) have also fizzled out - again, I think, because there’s no real buy-in. (It’s also probably partly mismanagement on my part...!)

In summary, free doesn’t work. People need buy-in.

On a related note: Ramping up a small business requires an enormous amount of energy and effort. Friends expecting your services for free by virtue of being your friend aren’t showing support for the business.

Kia Wright
New Workflow

I’m trying out a new workflow that I hope leaves me less anxious and more fulfilled. It’s also part of my focus this year to do less and do it better.

Last year I finally landed on a consistent way of creating daily to-do lists. Before, I had tried ToDoist, Evernote, Asana, Notes, and a sticky notes board, without anything sticking for more than a couple of weeks.

The method I ended up sticking with ended up being a 25 cent college-ruled notebook. Writing and crossing to-dos off by hand makes them more tangible.

However, my Type-A tendencies were getting triggered when I made a to-do list. I would treat it like a workout, trying to get through everything as quickly as possible. If, at the end of the day, I hadn’t crossed off every to-do, I’d feel a twinge of anxiety or like I hadn’t done enough. (Yes, it is exhausting to be in my head sometimes.)

So this month, instead of writing down a to-do list to get through each day, I have a big backlog of to-dos in Evernote. I’ve divided each into very short-, short-, mid-, and long-term tasks.

When I’m ready for a task, I’ll refer to the backlog, focusing on the very short-term list and occasionally reviewing the others to make sure they’re up-to-date. Once I’m done with the task, I’ll write it down in my notebook (which also goes along with my goal of documenting more this year).

Picking off tasks one at a time allows me to give more attention and care to that task. Instead of constantly referring to a long list of things I have yet to do that day, focusing only on the immediate next step allows me to give that task the space it needs to properly get done.

At the end of the day, I have a list of everything I’ve accomplished, which leaves me feeling much more fulfilled. Only a few days in, I’m noticeably more relaxed, satisfied, and productive.

Which I hope allows me more time to write!

Also, new workspace who dis:

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Kia Wright
Competition
You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.
— Steve Jobs
Kia Wright
Choose Wonder Over Worry
Because showing up to create anything is an ebb and a flow. A dance. Periods of immense flow are followed by periods of deep questioning. And experimenting. And refining. And editing. And doubting. And clarifying. And internal excavating. All of which is eventually followed again by clarity and flow. What matters is that we continue to show up - whether or not we’re afraid, whether or not we think we’re capable, whether or not we know what’s coming next, and whether or not we have a voice telling us “this is too hard and too intense and oh my god, did I make the right decision?” When we choose to pursue that which we desire, there are so many unknowns, and those uncertainties can be terrifying and overwhelming…

But the process of creation asks something of us first: to get comfortable not knowing what will happen and when. Because creation is messy. It’s raw. It’s foggy. It’s vulnerable…

This is why we must ask ourselves whenever we choose to do something that we feel is worthwhile: Am I willing to get uncomfortable in the pursuit of what is mightily important to me? Because when we are, we will persevere to uncover lessons and gifts. But only if we continue to show up, and take the next step forward and the next step forward and the next one after that. Again and again and again.
— Amber Rae, Choose Wonder Over Worry
Kia Wright
Muscle-up Workshop or Philosophy Course?

We got a lot more than muscle-up coaching from Carl Paoli’s “Master Muscle-up Workshop” on Sunday. While we did do things like spend 20 minutes alone specifically discussing how to grip a pull-up bar, nearly everything he taught us about how to make our muscle-up better also taught us how to be better humans.

A few takeaways:

Take extreme ownership

Instead of relying on others to solve our problems or get us closer to our goals, let’s take responsibility for our outcomes. If you have a problem, it is up to you to actively seek solutions. A coach can give you the tools, but it’s up to you to use those tools.

Have extreme presence

Be aware of how you’re showing up and make sure it’s aligned with your values. Give time, attention, and intention to the actions that you’re used to doing on autopilot. This is where the magic happens.

Raise your movement standards

Being able to do complete a range of motion doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing a movement well, or in a way that transfers to other movements. Spending time on moving better will have a bigger payoff than just completing it. Once you think you’ve mastered something, go back to the basics and do them even better.

Show support

Support others in a compassionate but constructive way. Don’t give praise just to be encouraging - give feedback that will help the person closer to where they want to be.

Share and connect

Collectively we have a wealth of knowledge. Sharing it with each other makes us all better. Connection is why we’re here.

Tyler and I hope to better weave these messages into our work with our clients. Thank you Carl!

Operation Veganism

2 weeks into my month-long experiment of going vegan. Just living my best life, which is now mainly fueled by pea protein powder.

If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be trying veganism, I would have thought you were joking. In 2012 I was eating eight ounces of protein at three meals a day (!), touting the superiority of the Paleo diet (slowly getting fat as I did so).

Reasons for this experiment

  1. I want us (Adaptive Nutrition) to be able to address veganism from first-hand experience. Whether we end up endorsing it or not, I want to be able to explain why.

  2. To possibly develop an Adaptive Nutrition meal plan for vegans.

  3. Adaptive Nutrition was born out of our experimentation with various approaches to eating. Though we’ve created a meal plan that works extremely well for those that try it, I don’t want to become set in our ways and stop learning. There is more than one “right” way to eat.

  4. I just finished Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals, which addressed some questions I’ve had on my mind lately, namely, How is the meat I’m eating produced? and Is the way we’re teaching people to eat environmentally sustainable? The answers pointed to no, so here I am…getting crunchier and crunchier.

Asking the hard questions

Eating Animals forced me out of my blissful ignorance about the way meat is produced, and demanded that I now align my values with my actions: Now that you know how this all works, what are you going to do? Pretend to not know and continue as you were?

I love eating meat and I believe it is natural for humans to eat meat. I believe animals are a necessary part of the land and soil life cycle.

I believe that the way we are raising animals is NOT contributing to the natural life cycle of the land, and that it is in fact doing much more harm than good.

I do not believe in enabling the horrific acts that meat producers practice.

If I knew the meat was ethically sourced, I’d gladly eat it. Unfortunately the book made it seem that that is near in possible when it comes to chicken, turkey, and seafood, and hard when it comes to beef.

Approach

The way I’m approaching this is by continuing to eat my macronutrient ratios, but instead eating only plant-based foods for protein.

Although it’s difficult to hit my protein numbers without also ingesting a bunch of carbs (common protein sources for vegans/vegetarians, such as beans, usually have over double the amount of carbs as protein), it’s been possible.

It’s been useful to Google “vegan bodybuilding”, because bodybuilders take a more calculated approach to their food, understanding macronutrient intake and nutrient deficiencies and more of the science of nutrition. I imagine many vegetarians and vegans don’t pay much attention to these things, so any warnings about this way of eating are taken with a grain of salt.

Besides a variety of veggies, foods I’m eating include:

I’m attempting to educate myself on potential nutrient deficiencies and be aware of amino acid profiles to ensure I’m getting all of the essential amino acids. More to come on this in a later post.

Observations so far

  • I feel more full between meals, probably due to higher fiber content of the foods I’m eating.

  • My weight has remained the same, though I feel like I experience less fluid retention.

  • Surprisingly not gassy as expected from reintroducing beans, likely because the beans I am eating have been soaked in water beforehand which removes some of the indigestible sugars that cause gas.

  • I’m strangely and noticeably less interested in coffee…! My energy at the gym in the evenings has improved.

  • Skin not quite as good as before - slightly more acne.

  • Gym performance (strength, conditioning, flexibility) hasn’t seemed to suffer. I even PR’d my push press 1 rep max at 155 pounds.

  • I feel more open-minded about other diets. I realize there are many reasons for being vegetarian/vegan, and they’re not all against eating meat for the same reasons. If someone were to ask me why I’m vegan right now, I feel I’d have to explain that I’m certainly not against eating meat, just the way most is produced, so they don’t get the wrong idea.

More updates to come!

Kia Wright
Structure

There's so little structure to your work as a small business owner. Literally my only structured times are our two weekly meetings (coaches meeting and strategy meeting), plus weekly phone calls with clients.

I've learned that I thrive with structure. CrossFit made me realize that. You show up to class and get coached. Methods to optimize your performance are mostly well established. There's a clear path forward.

Owning a small business, you decide how to spend your entire day. Literally sitting on the couch all day and watching Netflix is an option.

Even for my personality type - who is extremely independent and values freedom above ALL ELSE - this freedom can be a little unnerving.

I've therefore been forced to explore how to create structure for myself. It's challenged me to better understand myself, because in order to create structure to set yourself up for success, you've got to know how you operate best, as well as how you don't.

I've still got a lot to figure out, but a few things that I've found work for me:

  • Spend 90 minutes first thing in the morning on reading/journaling/stretching. I began this habit a few weeks ago, and it ensures that I get some of my most important tasks in every day. It also allows me to go into work feeling more calm and in control.

  • Don't schedule meetings before 9am. Gotta protect that sleep and morning routine!

  • Mondays are for admin work and freelance work. The more of this I can take care of at the beginning of the week, the bigger blocks of time I have available to work on coding and projects.

  • Create big blocks of time for coding. My favorite thing is having a huge chunk of free time ahead of me to code. I can code for hours straight and get a lot done. Doing a half hour or hour here and there isn't as satisfying or as productive.

  • Stop work an hour before going to the gym. This prevents me from being distracted while seeing friends at the gym and working out, and allows me to go into the workout with more focus.

  • Afternoon walk with the dog. Important so that I occasionally come up for some fresh air, spend time with Kobe, and don't sit at my desk all day. Usually I listen to a motivating podcast, like the Tim Ferriss Show, Chasing Excellence, Girl Boss Radio, Heroine, Barbell Shrugged, etc.

  • Fridays are for client calls, appointments, and errands. Consolidating these tasks into one day means less fractured attention during the other days.

  • Read, read, read! Regularly devouring books and podcasts has been my attempt at figuring out this business owner thing. I'm putting the most valuable books I find here; it's a collection of all the knowledge I wish someone had given me when I quit my job and began pursuing Adaptive Nutrition full-time.

Kia Wright
Performance

Woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't sleep, so I worked on the app.

Yesterday I was asking Tyler how to structure some data for a new app feature, since he has experience with relational databases, which is super valuable. My excuse for not knowing more about them is that I'm a front-end developer, however it's also precisely why I should know more than I do.

He mentioned something about queries, which reminded me that I'd meant to revisit that in regards to the app. Back when I first wrote it and started using Firebase as our database, I didn't understand how the Firebase querying worked in the Ember framework, so I put it off...and just grabbed everything from the database and filtered it client-side... And then wondered where our performance issues came from.

So I read up on it at 2:30 a.m., and for some reason - maybe because I'm more familiar with everything at this point - it made sense. In fact it made so much sense that it was embarrassing that I didn't get it before.

Changing a few lines of code improved app performance significantly. In addition I had the satisfaction of finally completing a task that was painfully overdue.

Kia Wright
High Vibrations
The Universe will match whatever vibration you put out. Which is why when you’re vibrating at a high frequency, awesome things seem to flow to you effortlessly and you seem to stumble over the perfect people and opportunities all the time.
— Jen Sincero

I used to think the whole vibrations/energy thing was new-age hocuspocus, but the older I get, the more opportunities I've had to experience it first-hand.

Recently I was working at LDU Coffee (my unofficial office). A guy came over to the outlet by me needing to charge his laptop and saw me looking at food photos for our website. We struck up a conversation, and I learned that he's a highly trained chef.

Not only that, but he used to be a dietician and is passionate about clean eating; he showed me albums of simple but beautiful dishes he's created from whole foods. We exchanged info to discuss a possible collaboration. Even if nothing comes of it, how serendipitous of us to meet!

There have been several other strange but fortunate occurrences in the past several months:

  • Deciding at the beginning of the year that I wanted to do a little freelance work, and shortly thereafter getting both short-term and long-term freelance gigs.
  • Wanting to know someone who lives in Highland Park so I have an excuse to see how these fantasy people live...and then meeting one and visiting their house.
  • Needing more purpose in my training, and then getting injured the week before the Open began, which made me take a hard look at why I train and eventually served to renew my enthusiasm.
  • Wanting a bike, and then Tyler almost immediately meets a guy who restores bikes and finds me the perfect one.

Who knows, these things may just be coincidences, but it's fun to think that they're happening because I'm more aligned with what I'm meant to be doing.

Kia Wright
Zero to One
A startup is the largest endeavor over which you can have definite mastery. You can have agency not just over your own life, but over a small and important part of the world. It begins by rejecting the unjust tyranny of Chance. You are not a lottery ticket.
— Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Kia Wright
It's Not About You
Your responsibility as a coach is to lead your clients in the right direction. What is the right direction? It’s what the client needs. It’s not about projecting knowledge onto someone. Coaching others is not about you. It’s your responsibility to ask your client the right questions to reveal to you and to your client what their needs are. Your second responsibility is to use the information and knowledge you have to solve these problems to create a path for these individuals to get them closer to getting their needs met.
— Paraphrased from Carl Paoli
Kia Wright
Year 1
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Exactly one year ago I quit my job in order to run @adaptive.nutrition full-time alongside @tnicho1. I’ve thought a lot about food before but especially since.

I’ve thought about how it can be isolating trying to eat healthy in a country where food is deeply intertwined with politics and profit. By avoiding the manufactured “foods” everyone else is eating without question, you’re regarded as high maintenance or fanatical when your dietary preferences differ from those around you.

Add to that that finding joy in food can easily be misplaced when we think of food as a means to an end. We might consciously manage what goes onto our plates, in order to lose weight or optimize training, or cook food in batches to last the week with minimal attention to quality.

But food is a social fabric and can be a profound source of joy. So how do we eat food to create optimal health, while weaving it into our life in a joyful and social way?

Last night I had dinner at a friend’s house with a big group. Our friend, a talented cook, recently started eating according to our basic @adaptive.nutrition meal guidelines, so she prepared a delicious meal of pork tenderloin, rice, salad, fruit, and some red wine. (Since she and her husband, who has diabetes, started eating according to our guidelines, she’s lost 7 lbs and her husband’s A1C has been the lowest it’s been in years.)

We need to overhaul the idea that eating healthy means deprivation, restriction, isolation, eating bland chicken and broccoli out of Tupperware. I think it’s partly because of our struggle to make healthy eating joyful that we fall back, in spite of our best intentions, to eating tasty, unhealthy foods. If we want to make these changes last, we need to find not just utility but joy in them.

The quote below sums up why I believe our health, above all, deserves attention, and why I believe helping people improve theirs is one of the most productive ways to improve their lives:

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” —Herophilus

Looking forward to what the next year brings!

Kia Wright
Alignment

During my first few months of being a full time small business owner, I spoke to other entrepreneurs and small business owners. A lot of them said at some point they became workaholics, some of them hustling so hard that they were hospitalized.

It made me a little self-conscious. Was I not hustling hard enough?😳 I sleep 10 hours a night and relax on the weekend... Am I spending too much time on my physical/mental health and not enough on running Adaptive Nutrition?

Tyler pointed out that I’m walking the walk. I am doing, to the best of my ability, the things that I coach others to do. It was reassuring to hear.

I hope my words are always aligned with my actions, and that my actions speak louder than my words.

Kia Wright
Instaforce

No, followers aren't everything.

BUT. I will say that, as a budding business, finding real followers (thanks to Instaforce) for our Instagram account has helped us develop brand awareness and created sales that more than cover the cost of their service.

I don't have any proof for this, but I also have a feeling it also gives us some credibility in the eyes of people we know who may still think that Adaptive Nutrition is still a little side project whose only clients are friends.

I'm not getting sponsored to recommend them, simply sharing a great tool that I think could be helpful to any growing small business.

If we can make a post that inspires someone to stop and think more deliberately about what they're eating, I'm happy to try and reach as many people as possible.

Kia Wright
Confidence

A nutrition client of mine wants to cut weight for an upcoming powerlifting meet, but was having trouble losing weight despite seeming to do everything perfectly.

After assessing her meals, sleep, training, stress, and blood work, we cut out some foods that can cause inflammation (nuts, avocado), which helped her get leaner.🥑

Buuuut despite looking leaner, her weight didn’t budge.

I started to panic. The meet is a few weeks away. She’s been a client of ours forever and I was terrified she was losing faith in our ability to help her.

So I was thrilled when I checked her weight log today and saw she’s lost 5 pounds in the last 10 days.🎉

What was the issue? The amount of vegetables she was eating. She didn’t realize she was eating a lot more vegetables to offset hunger, consequently causing water retention and stalling weight loss.🥦

Now she's right on track for making her weight class at her meet next month, without having to resort to any crazy weight loss methods in the days leading up to it.👍🏼

This is one of literally hundreds of situations we’ve solved for clients. Doing this over and over and over for all sorts of people (high-level athletes, sedentary people, doctors, new moms) with all sorts of conditions (recovering anorexic, IBS, autoimmune disorders) is why I’m so confident in our program and our ability to help people.🕵🏻‍♀️

Kia Wright
Craft

kraft/ - noun
1. an activity involving skill in making things by hand.
2. skill in carrying out one's work.
3. denoting or relating to food or drink made in a traditional or non-mechanized way by an individual or a small company. (ie. craft brewing)

Because restaurant and store chains are less common here in Melbourne, Australia, the quality, craftsmanship, and hospitality at each place we visit is special.

Ran into a fitting quote yesterday at South Melbourne Market: "Where there is love, there is life."

Melbourne, you are full of life!

Kia Wright
Feelings

The most prevalent emotions I've felt since starting this venture full time are 1) happy overwhelm and 2) defensiveness.

Overwhelm in a happy way - from all the ideas I have and projects I want to work on. I have a long list of things that I actually cannot WAIT to work on. So many new things I want to try...but one thing at a time!

Defensiveness is from feeling that I am constantly having to defend what we do - not only to clients who have feedback, but from friends who have feedback about how we could change the way we're doing things, as well as friends who don't believe our program is really for them (we believe that if you eat food, you will get something from our program!).

Talking about food is like talking about religion. Everyone has strong beliefs. But nutrition is a science, and everyone believes they're an expert.

I welcome feedback so we can create the best products and services possible, but much of the feedback I’m talking about here ends up suggesting doing things the way other companies (that we’ve been customers of) do and are the exact things that we’re intentionally trying to get away from.

The positive spin here is that these difficult conversations with friends have actually served to strengthen my resolve in the way we are going about things.

I'm glad that I can talk through these things with Tyler, who fully understands as an owner of two small businesses. Like anything, unless you've experienced it yourself, it's hard to understand the ups and downs. I can count the people I can talk to about it on one hand.

Kia Wright
Work Vacation

I literally had this thought the other day: I wish I could just go on vacation, away from all distractions, to work. Is that a thing?

Yeahhhh. Googled workaholism and had some concerns... Aware of it now and "working" on it! 

Kia Wright
I learned a lot about solving the problems we all face: fear, lack of confidence, not enough time, money stress, indecision & lack of focus, and the puzzle that is taking care of yourself while building a life & business you love.
— Beth Kirby, Founder of Local Milk
Kia Wright
Why Most Small Business Don't Work

I just finished The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. It is the how-to manual I was looking for on how to run a small business.

In it, Gerber explains that the small business owner should be three people:

  1. Entrepreneur - focusing on strategic, visionary work
  2. Manager - focusing on tactical, analytical, logistical tasks
  3. Technician - focusing on creating and building

It's reassuring that I enjoy all three of these roles (whether I'm any good at them is a separate consideration, but enjoyment is a good start).

Kia Wright
Words of Affirmation

I wish words of affirmation weren't one of my receiving love languages. It feels needy. Like I need external validation.

But, so it is. So I get a little sad when clients don't say anything about whether they like the app. Especially friends who are clients, who I've talked to a lot about the business or the app I'm programming all by my lonesome.

Now that we're simultaneously running three group challenges, the problem is magnified.

Whenever a client begins a sentence with "[X] isn't working in the app...", I have heart palpitations. Oh my god. Is there a bug?! Is everyone having this issue?! My old boss/coworkers are using it...will they think my code is shitty?!

Fortunately most of the time it's been user error (which does at least give me good ideas for how to improve the user interface). It's certainly made me conscious of how I speak to other small business owners. Adding those few extra words "I'm probably doing something stupid..." makes the sentence "[X] isn't working" so much less jarring. Remember, there is a person that created that thing...and you may very well be speaking to them!

As a side note, I've noticed my sleep hasn't been good lately. I used to sleep like a log. Now there are times when I can't shut my mind off, or I'm so excited to do a bunch of things that I can't fall back asleep, etc. I think I'm starting to understand the constant low-level anxiety that Tyler mentioned as related to owning your own business. Will figure out a way to chill...

Kia Wright