Author’s note: Dallas and I usually collaborate on posts, but this one is just from my (Melissa’s) personal perspective. Dallas, however, is more than on board here – in fact, he’s been encouraging us to head in this direction for quite some time.
We finally received our advance copy of Robb Wolf’s new book, The Paleo Solution. Dallas and I have been taking turns reading it as fast as we can, making notes for our review (coming next week). Last night, while re-reading the section on sleep, I came to this line: “If you do not sleep, you will completely cock-block your fat loss.” And for the third time in as many days, I thought, “I can’t believe he actually used that word in his book. This book is on sale at Barnes & Noble, for Oprah’s sake. Oh crap – Oprah. Robb cannot say ‘cock-block’ on Oprah.”
And then I stopped for a minute and thought, why can’t Robb say these things in his own darn book? And more importantly, would I expect anything less? We like Robb because, well, he’s Robb. We listen to his podcasts and read his blog and attend his seminars because we like his point of view, his material and his delivery, crude as it may be at times. And while he certainly shouldn’t drop the f-bomb during a network TV interview, his sense of humor and tough love attitude is a big part of what makes his message so memorable, and makes Robb so likeable. Let’s face it – Robb’s message without Robb’s voice isn’t anywhere near as appealing.
Which kicked me in the shins again with the fact that here on this blog, we are slowly but surely losing our voice. When I was “Urban Gets Diesel”, I wrote about random fun stuff from a very personal perspective darn near every day. (Are there any UGD readers still here?) I spoke from the heart, shared lots of myself and built an audience that, in part, has allowed us to do what we do here on the Whole9. And while I did give thought to the impression I was making, I also wasn’t afraid to express a whole lot of myself on the page. Reading Robb’s book reminded me that people read UGD because of my message, but they liked it because of my voice.
Fast forward to one year later. Now, the Whole9 blog is a venue for our bona-fide business, not just a fun outlet of expression. And we’ve forgone personal musings time and time again in favor of educational articles, reader-requested content and what my Dad calls “commercials” for our workshops and offerings. This transition happened in time with the growth of The Business, as we became acutely aware that this blog was now an extension of our livelihood. It seemed fair and logical that The Business must be granted at least some time in the spotlight in order to flourish. But that’s not the whole story, and I’m sure every new business owner can relate to the “corporate culture” dilemma we’ve been struggling with all year.
The more The Business grew, the more we (I, especially) felt pressure to conform. To tone down our more wild phrasings, to not rock the boat with our content, to cater to a wider potential audience by making our material more accessible. Which means that in the last six months, thanks to both my self-imposed conservatism and incessant concerns for The Business… we’ve grown a little bit soft. I’m so afraid of offending Mark Sisson fans that we’ve held off publishing what we really think about the “80/20 rule”. I’m concerned about upholding our good nutritional image, so I haven’t written about my recent two day love affair with Michael Mina’s duck fat french fries. (They are heaven on a plate, people.) And I’ve felt so much (perceived) pressure to present ourselves as a Real Business that I’ve completely lost my voice as Melissa. It’s been so long since I’ve actually written anything… and I hate that. Even worse, I suspect YOU (our readers) hate that too.
We will, perhaps, always face the struggle of The Business vs. Dallas & Melissa. How much can we write about ourselves before the business starts to suffer? How casual, comfortable, personable can we afford to be in public before we start coming off as unprofessional? Could we really say “cock-block” in a posted article and not lose a conservative reader or two? (Understand that to us, every single reader matters.) These are the fine lines that we’ll have to walk for ourselves, much like Robb has probably had to tightrope more than one situation in his long and successful business career. But as of right now, I MISS writing. I miss inspiring discussion, stirring up a bit of controversy, and sharing piece of myself with the people who come here every day. And I suspect, as my Dad has also been telling me for months, our readers miss that too.
So bear with us as we figure out how to walk this tightrope. Of course, we need to allow The Business its voice time to time… but please stay tuned as we (Melissa and Dallas) find our voices again, right here on the blog. We’ve got plenty of good stuff in our heads, and it’s high time that our personal thoughts get some time in the spotlight around here.
As always, thank you for reading, and we apologize to everyone following the “80/20 rule” in advance. Post thoughts to comments.
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