Hi everyone! I’m happy to finally be back at my desk, hands at my keyboard with a cup of tea steaming and ready to pour myself into this post. The post is geared at unearthing what really happened in the past year to help address questions I’ve been getting for a while.
Over the past year I’ve been getting a lot of questions from you, from close friends, family, and even recently from colleagues. Yes, colleagues! The nature of most of the questions is – ‘what’s been going on with @inspiredbynick?’
I know that I’ve seemed radio silent at times throughout the last year, and have ‘digitally detoxed’ for periods at a time. In retrospect, I should’ve put up an “Under Construction” sign up on my website, which, is quite reflective of how I had been feeling throughout the year.
This post is long overdue, but it’s here now. 2019 had started out like any other year—surrounded by family, New Year’s resolutions made and time spent planning how I wanted the year to play out. Had it turned out exactly as I’d planned? Not at all.
At that time (January 2019), it had already been about a full year since I’d left my former job to pursue blogging full time. Around then, I’d opened up about some health scares my mom was having, which naturally drew my attention to what matters most—family. Family will always come first for me. I open up about everything that was going on then in this video I shared on my Youtube channel. The big adjustment of moving into a house… having shifted careers to what was no longer fulfilling me in the way that I’d hoped it would… with a tangent storyline of family needing me… the perfect storm was brewing.
After about a year into my blogging gig, I realized that doing it full time wasn’t what I’d wanted it to be. It was a lot of work for little immediate reward, a lot of strategic planning and having to pivot, with forces out of your control that you depend entirely on for your livelihood, contingency plans needed, and a LOT of patience, determination, and perseverance.
I quickly realized what was once my dream to pursue blogging full time, wasn’t my dream at all. The volatility wasn’t suited for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I could have done more, and could have given more of myself, and been more active in “growing the business”, and I could have focused more on the positive side of things. But at the root of it all, I felt that I was focused more on business than passion, I felt isolated, unfulfilled, and conflicted for the better part of my days. The voice in my head telling me to go back to work and seek more stable yet still intellectually challenging environments had been persistent for over a year, so I had to do what was right for me. I went back to work full time in June 2019 and have not regretted it for one second. I love the work that I do in communications and marketing, I love the culture, I love the energy, I love the intellectually stimulating work and environment, and I love the people. I feel fulfilled in that aspect of life right now, and that’s the truth.
Unfortunately, just as I’d gone back to work and this aspect of life was fulfilling me, another aspect was taking an unexpected turn.
Someone very close to me was suffering internally, for a long time, and everything came to a boiling point in the summer of 2019. At that specific point in time, it felt like everything was falling apart, but at the same token, I also felt I had no right to complain because that person had been suffering a greater challenge for far longer than I.
I’m glad they opened up. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open up the doors for our loved ones to help where they can… and often where it’s needed most.
Just like it had been when my mom was in the hospital, I was reminded of my true priorities in life. Family and those closest to us first. Always.
Part of being a blogger—full-time or not—includes some aspect of sharing your personal life. Speaking from experience, it is SO EASY to share everything that’s going on when life is great, everything is amazing, and you’re care-free.
It’s not so easy to share the struggles, and at that time I wasn’t in a place to share what was happening. 90%+ of my time was devoted to helping this close person. It may seem like a unusual comparison but I compare blogging to being on a reality show. However, different from reality TV–where those on camera have agreed to share the good, the bad, and the ugly–as a blogger I can choose what I want and don’t want to share. I chose to spend my time off-camera and offline, devoting all of my energy into nurturing this person close to me. Family and close friends will always be the most important thing to me, and I wouldn’t have changed how I handled that situation any differently. Regarding my blog, however, I could have simply been more transparent with you all in that I had a lot going on and needed to step back a bit. In a nutshell though, that’s what really happened this past year and I learned a lot along the way.
Work was the perfect distraction from the day-to-day struggles. I was able to immerse myself fully into intellectually stimulating work and be around a group of people I truly enjoyed. The offer for me to go back to work was what I needed, and I didn’t fully realize just how much at the time. I’m blessed to be able to work in communications and marketing, two of my passions that intersect nicely with my blog, and still have the flexibility to pursue inspiredbynick at a healthier pace.
Let me be clear, I will continue to share what I love through inspiredbynick, my social media channels, and YouTube, but it will be on my terms, content that I love to share, and at a pace that is more manageable for when I am in this chapter of life.
I want the content I create to come from a place of passion
vs. a place of business.
Looking back, I can confidently say that I wasn’t running from my problems, I was dealing with them head on, it just happened to all take place offline. I want you to know that I wasn’t intending to neglect my blog, I was focusing my time where it was most important. When you’re in a headspace of concern for a person who needs support, ALL you can do is be supportive for that person. Speaking for myself, I couldn’t put on the happy blogger face 24/7 anymore and be positive and “turned on” all of the time. I don’t have that in me when it isn’t real.
I was going through something, and I needed my time to deal with it. Not to put on a happy face and make believe like my life is perfect and visualize that for others online. I couldn’t do that—it wouldn’t feel right to me. The end result was ultimately taking a temporary step back from my blog so that I could refocus my energy and spend my time with my close network.
While all of this was happening, I wasn’t engaging with anything people were posting online.
Me not liking/commenting on someone’s photos wasn’t intentional and it wasn’t personal — it was entirely by default. Put simply: what I had going on in my personal life was more important (to me) than any content being posted to Instagram. The health and wellbeing of the person close to me was my top priority. That’s really it.
I feel blessed to be able to say that this person is doing much better now, and I’m so proud of the progress they made. I’m happy to have played a small part in their journey, and I hope they know I will always love them dearly.
Now that the dust has settled on a few of the other pressing matters in my life, I WANT to focus time into Inspired by Nick in new and challenging ways, and I want to create and share content online that interests me.
The how and what of it will certainly look different, but the essence is unchanged. If I bring myself back to what initially sparked my blog, it was simply to share with others the things that inspired and interested me. Be it a healthy recipe that encouraged me to try something new, or a cool find online, or a trip I took with my heartmate that inspired us. At my core, I enjoy expressing myself creatively, and I enjoy sharing my stories with all of you as my life evolves.
I will continue to blog on Inspired by Nick and plan to share content across a few pillars: healthy recipes, travel, wellbeing, fitness, and personal experiences.
Speaking candidly, my relationship with health and wellness has certainly evolved over time. From being unhealthy and bordering obesity (over 10 years ago) to vegetarian, to vegan, to raw vegan, to keto, to no diet at all…. What I’ve learned from all of it is this; what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all. And what works best for me comes down to a balance of most things in moderation. In the Q&A below—with questions curated from conversations with many of you—I share more about my current diet. Am I the healthiest person on the planet with the cleanest diet? Absolutely not. Am I trying to find ways of living healthier or integrating healthier alternatives into my diet? Always.
When I was blogging full time, I felt this weird pressure from people online to be perfect at being healthy. I noticed this shared idea that wellness bloggers were synonymous with health experts. To be clear, in no way do I want to represent myself as such. I always aim to simply share from personal experiences. That’s what having a personal blog means to me, whatever the topic.
Q: Why did you take such a long break from inspiredbynick?
A: Throughout the year I needed to shift my focus offline to people who needed my support. Simultaneously, I wasn’t deriving the same joy from blogging full time as I thought I would, with it feeling more like a business than a passion. I wanted to get it back to a place of passion.
Q: Are you still vegan?
A: To be honest, a fair estimate would be that I am vegan/vegetarian over 90% of the time. As of right now I can’t say that I’m fully and strictly vegan, though I do believe the future is headed that way. I’m working my way back to it but make allowances for vegetarian options at restaurants and if I’m out with friends. I have no desire to eat animal meat, and veganism is still a core principle of my food philosophy. Over time what I have learned is that I need to listen to my body, first, and give it what it needs. I focus on vegan and plant based options as much as possible. I choose to do so for my personal health, animal rights, and the sustainability of the planet.
Q: What does your diet look like now?
A: Always primarily made up of plants. I focus a lot on making sure I get different sources of plant based protein and always try to keep a holistic approach to getting my macro and micro nutrients from real, whole foods. I need to be realistic with myself that I can’t be “perfect” and fully vegan at ALL times. I do not care to judge other people’s diets, and I don’t care to have mine judged either—what works for one doesn’t work for everyone.
Q: How are you finding being back at work full time?
A: I love it. I honestly, truly, love it. I work with amazing people, I’m respected as a leader and I’m in an environment where I can express my strategic thinking and leadership skills. I’m running projects from the ground up, interacting across all career levels, across multiple countries, with the support of an amazing team of intelligent colleagues. The culture, the energy, the environment… it’s all conducive to a happy and productive Nick. 🙂
Q: Are you going to continue blogging on top of working full time?
A: Yes, absolutely. As mentioned, I plan to always share my personal journey via my blog and social media. Now I plan to do so at a cadence and rhythm that work for my current schedule.
Q: Plans for Inspired by Nick in 2020?
A: I really want to get back into my YouTube channel. I love creating short videos and I love the editing process, the only constraint is time. I don’t want someone else to do it for me because to me it’s part of the creative process. But it does take a lot of time. As for the blog, I’m thinking 2-3 blog posts per month, with regular (not daily) sharing on my social media. I might delete Twitter and other platforms since they really don’t interest me at all and never have, but TBD.
Q: Your relationship with Instagram and take on social media?
A: Definitely in the best place than it has ever been in the past. I really don’t see it or spend time on it in the same ways I used to. There are aspects of social media and expressing one’s creativity via those channels that I enjoy, but equally a lot of toxicity that I choose to separate myself from. I also think we’re experiencing a cultural shift with how we use social media as we swing to the other side of the pendulum; previously valuing over-sharing and caring about the goings on in others’ lives, to now having it be less about what you share and more about what you don’t share—those precious moments you experience with family or on vacation or with loved ones that you want to keep for yourself instead of sharing with the masses. Businesses approach Instagram differently now, too. Take restaurants for example who used to design specifically for photo-takers and making it ‘insta-worthy’ are now designing for dark-lit, intimate, private moments for their guests. The world is changing, and peoples’ attention is being split across so many apps now, not just a few.
Q: Brands you’re enjoying working with right now?
A: There are SO MANY great brands I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years through Inspired by Nick, I truly can’t name them all. Right now, I’m currently enjoying working with Metro (grocers), Rogers Communications, SodaStream, Avocados from Mexico. Others that stand out and have truly had a positive impact on me have been: Botanica, Genuine Health, Royal Nuts, Vitamix, Organic Traditions, and a few others.
Before I sign off from this post, I want to share one last thing—if I seemed absent on social media and engaged far less with your posts than I used to over the last year, I want you to know it (obviously) wasn’t personal. I appreciate the friends/creators who reached out in concern, as well as those who supported from a distance. And if you are someone who’s going through something difficult in life right now, I want you to know that it IS OKAY to take a step back from some of the other things you’ve got going on. It IS OKAY to experience the downs of life because we all have to. Life will never be linear. So if you’re in a down it just means that an up is around the corner, and you can take the time you need and lean on the people around you to get you through it. There is nothing wrong with that.
Alright! I’m going to sign off here, as it’s already taken me quite some time to write this and the length of it is getting the best of me. I hope I was able to answer some of the questions you’ve shared me with over the past year.
Here’s to an amazing, healthier, happier, more enlightened, and overall better year ahead for everyone.