084: New Year’s Motivation: 1% Infinity

Welcome to episode 84 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week, Bjork talks about gratitude, constant growth, and keeping blog overwhelm at bay.

In this episode, Bjork discusses:

  • How your past is relevant to your future
  • Examples of using past skills to grow your business
  • How you can contrast negative thoughts with grateful thoughts to stay balanced
  • How you can simultaneously be content, yet still aiming to learn and grow
  • What the difference is between blogs that thrive and those that get stuck
  • Why just creating consistent content is not enough
  • How you can apply 1%∞ today
  • How 1%∞ can keep things from becoming overwhelming

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Hey guys, it’s Bjork. I am back, and maybe some of you didn’t even know that I wasn’t around. I just wanted to take a little moment here to explain kind of what was going on. If you’ve been following along closely with the podcast, you know the past four episodes have been rebroadcasts of previous interviews that Lindsay and I have done. Before we get too far along I wanted to thank those people. It was Kirsten from Creative Writing, Martin from Cleverism, Andrew and his team from Mixer Gene, then Marley from the Chopped podcast. A big thank you to those guys for letting us reuse those podcasts through the money of January so we could keep content published, and to have those interviews available to you even though it was flipped. It was Lindsay and I being interviewed as opposed to us interviewing other people.

What was the reason for it? If you follow along with Pinch of Yum you probably know that for the past few weeks, and continuing on for months and months and years to years, Lindsay and I have been processing, and going through the grieving process of losing our son Afton, Afton Bjork Ostrom. Afton was born on December 31st, and passed away on January first. He was born prematurely, so he was born at a gestational age of 23 weeks and three days, which is really, really early. He was one pound three ounces. Lindsay and I are just torn up about it. We have been taking time to be with each other, and spend time with each other, and have been going through that process.

Looking forward, what does that look like? We’re going to slowly start to, or at least I am with the podcast here, ramp back up and start to do some interviews, and connect with people. Even though it still feels a little bit weird to get back into the rhythm of work, and what was normal. It’s kind of a new normal for us. For those that have reached out, email, social media, messages, sent flowers, whatever it is, we just so deeply appreciate it. Some of you donated too. We had a special page setup for donations, or memorials to Afton at the children shelter Cebu.

For those of you that have followed along with Pinch of Yum, Lindsay’s blog for a really long time, you know that 2012 to 2013 we lived overseas and worked at an orphanage called the, “Children Shelter Cebu.” We set up a little memorial for Afton, and there’s some people that donated to that. If you want to check that out you can go to FloodBloggerPro.com/Afton. That will redirect to that page, and some people have left some really nice notes. We just really, really appreciate that. Thank you guys so much for thinking of us, praying for us, if that’s the kind of thing that you do, sending notes, all of that stuff. It just really, really means a lot.

The podcast episode today actually is kind of interesting. This was supposed to be published at the beginning of January. This was right when everything was unraveling for us, and we were kind of in the thick of it. It’s the only time that we haven’t published an episode here on Flood Blogger Pro podcast. We just press paused, we skipped this. I want to come back around to it, because I think there’s some important stuff that we shared. It’s actually just me, so it’s a solo podcast.

One of the things that I wanted to point out was kind of interesting. Later on in the podcast you’ll hear me talk about one of the ways that I process things. It is trying to find gratitude in things. To not have that replace a negative thought necessarily, or a difficult thing, but to have that held alongside of that. That’s just been so true, and so important in this process of grieving, and losing Afton, has been simultaneously holding that grief and fully realizing it, and being okay with that. Not trying to replace it, or hide it, or store it away.

At the same time in the other hand, holding gratitude. For us that’s been family, and it’s been friends, and it’s been loved that we received from those people. It’s been countless other things that we’re grateful for, while at the same time holding our weighty, and heavy, and difficult grief of losing Afton, and being able to hold him for a little bit, and coming to love him so deeply. At the same time, having to say goodbye. That’s just been such a hard thing for us. As we’re grieving, we’re simultaneously holding some of those gratitude’s for the people that have surrounded us, and the experiences we’ve had as a result of it.

Anyways, I wanted to come back around to this solo episode that I did, and publish this even though it’s a little bit after the new year, and people are maybe after or are through with creating their resolutions and goals for the year. I wanted to share this, and I hope you guys enjoy it. Thanks again for allowing us to step back from the content side of things, just to take time to be together, and process, and all of that. It means a lot. Thank you to all of you, again, that have though about us, prayed for us, sent flowers, sent notes, all those things. It just really means a lot.

All right, I’m going to stop rambling. Then I’m going to start rambling as we intro this solo episode that I’m doing. Thanks.

Hey there everybody, this is Bjork Ostrom and I’m coming to you from the very frigid St. Paul Minnesota today. It is like three degrees outside, so if you live somewhere warm, you should be very thankful that you’re not having to deal with this terrible, terrible cold. We love Minnesota still. If you’re from the Mid West, or if you’re from Minnesota you know that the downside might be super cold winters, but we have these incredible seasons, and incredible people. We love Minnesota, and at the same time if you love somewhere warm, if you could send some of that warm weather up we wouldn’t be opposed.

That’s not what I’m talking about, not talking about the weather today. What we are talking about is entering into the new year. It’s 2017 in case you didn’t know, and I wanted to talk about the new year. I want to talk specifically about how you think about things here in the new year, and how I think about things entering into the new year. Maybe you’re someone that loves to set new years resolutions, or maybe you prefer not to call them resolutions, but you call them goals. Perhaps you’re somebody that just rebels from that tradition all together and doesn’t do either of those things.

Whatever it is, wherever you stand on that, a new year, starting a new year, it’s really good time to step back, and then take a look at three things really. Where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. I think in the new year sometimes what we do is we just look forward. I wanted to do in this podcast is to come to the table, or come to the mic I guess technically, and share a little bit about how we and how I process through thinking about kind of past, present, and future. Where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going.

Specifically I wanted to look in at each one of those areas, and share a little bit about how we think about those things, and how I think about those things, and some of the mindset things that we take on as we process through that. Again, where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. My hope is that it helps to clarify some of the thoughts that you’re having as you move into the new year, whether you’re making new years resolutions, or setting those new goals, or just stepping back and evaluating a little bit.

Let’s go ahead and jump in, let’s look first at where you’ve been. Let’s talk about the past a little bit. More specifically, not just past in general, we can talk about my past, and we can also talk about Lindsay’s past. The interesting about the past is that it always ties into the future, right? If we look at the past there’s always this bridge, and that’s the present that connects us to the future. This is an important concept for you to understand if you’re someone that’s in the just getting started category of building a blog, or building your business. Here’s why this is an importance concept.

It’s important because you can leverage your past in order to build your desired future. I want to explain some really concrete examples using some concrete examples of what I mean by that. Before I get into it, what I’ll say is for a lot of you, you’re maybe looking towards a desired future that’s a little bit cloudy. You don’t have a really clear picture of what it looks like, or even don’t have a clear understanding of the skills you need to apply to get there. Maybe you know what the skills are, and you don’t have those yet. What I want to say to you is that’s okay because you can leverage your past in order to build your desired future.

Let’s look back a little bit at some examples, so I can show you what I mean as we look back at where we’ve been. For example for me, I used to work at a nonprofit. There’s this nonprofit that I worked for here in the Twin Cities, and the name of the nonprofit was, “Youth Frontiers.” There were a couple of things that I did with Youth Frontiers. When I first started though my main focus was I would travel with the group of people, it was usually two or three people total, and we would go to schools. What we would do is we would go to a school, and we would work with a select group from that school. It would maybe be the entire fourth-grade class, or sometimes it would be the entire eighth-grade class, or we would sometimes go to high schools and work with the entire ninth grade, or tenth-grade class.

We would spend the day talking about really important things. With high schoolers we would talk about respect, we’d talk about how do you respect yourself, how do you respect others, what are the things that you can do in a day to show more respect. It was a really incredible organization doing really incredible work, making a big impact on the lives of teenagers and kids all around the country really. You might say, “Well how does that in any way connect to building a blog, or building a business online? How Bjork, has where you’ve been in any way impacted where you are right now and where you want to be?”

This is a great example of something that doesn’t necessarily connect to what I’m doing right now, but it can connect if I’m intentional about crafting out that space for it. Funny enough, the example for that is actually what I’m doing right now. It’s standing here, talking in front of in my mind, it’s a group of people. I’m recording this without doing any editing, so I have to envision that I’m in front of a group of people, that I’m with other people, and that I am talking to you. What I can’t do and what I don’t want to do is go back and edit all these different pieces, or have Raquel who helps manage the podcast, or Food Blogger Pro have to go through and do all of this editing for the podcast.

I have to envision that I’m front of a group of people, or at the very least having a conversation with somebody, and continuing to have a thorough, hopefully conversation that is helpful, and is driving in a general direction. I wouldn’t be able to do that if it wasn’t for where I’ve been, if it wasn’t for my experience with Youth Frontiers. I’ve been able to leverage that past, and really carve out a place online. For me, it’s doing a podcast, that has allowed me to use those skills to build a business, and to build a blog online. It’s been a really important part, and a really important piece of the puzzle for people discovering, and taking along with Food Blogger Pro.

That’s one of the ways where, where I’ve been, my history, my past, has influenced and directed where I want to be. Even though when I was at Youth Frontiers, and doing these retreats, even though that didn’t have anything to do with building a business online, I could take some of those skills and I could find ways that I could apply them, that would help me build a business online. Now, with Youth Frontiers kind of the funny side story with that, or maybe another additional nugget, is I was really interested in IT, and computer, and troubleshooting, and websites, and things like that. There are a few projects that bubbled up, and this isn’t possible at all organizations, I know. If you have a smaller organization where this might be possible, I would encourage you to do this. This happened at Youth Frontiers.

There’s a few different opportunities that bubbled up where they were in the area that I was interested in, and it was a great way for me to learn how to do some things that I wanted to do like develop websites, or learn graphic design, or work on email marketing even in a really small capacity. It was a great way for me to learn that, to apply that to use it in a real life situation when I was just getting started. If you work at a smaller organization or smaller company, or maybe you’re employers flexible with the type of work you can do, I’d really encourage you to do that. To have that conversation, to see if there’s something useful you could do that overlaps quite a bit. That’s one of the best ways to sharpen your ax that you’ll use to cut down trees to build your business, to build your businesses house, is to apply your interest, and your area of interest at the current place that you’re working. Anyways, side note on that.

The big picture here, the important thing to take away from that is even though I had these skills and abilities that maybe didn’t directly overlap with what I was doing at Youth Frontiers. I was able to take those, I knew that I had those skills and abilities, and then I found a way to apply them in what I was dong. Another example is Lindsay. Before we transitioned and started to build these businesses that we have, Lindsay was a fourth grade teacher. You might think, “Well, how does a fourth grade teacher transition into working on a food blog full time? It seems like those things aren’t really connected.” In actuality, a lot of what Lindsay does is teaching. Funny enough, one of the things that she has enjoyed most is actually reclaiming that type of teacher role in the workshops that she does.

If you follow closely along with Pinch of Yum, you know that Lindsay has started to consistently do food photography workshops. If you want to check those out you can actually go to PinchofYum.com/Workshops. That will direct you to the workshop page. We actually don’t have any coming up in the near future, because the ones we just released were sold out. Then we have a baby coming, so it makes sense that those were limited, and that we wouldn’t do them for a few months after. Lindsay’s going to continue to do those if you want to check those out. Again, it’s PinchofYum.com/Workshops.

That’s another great example of somebody using where they’ve been, and in Lindsay’s case it was, she was the teacher. She had this really fine tuned skill in developing curriculum, or developing content, and delivering it in a way that really made sense to people. Where they could take that, and immediately apply it to what they were doing. Lindsay’s really good at doing that with fourth graders, and funny enough that also transfers over to adults, right? Adults will come, they’ll want to learn about food photography, because that’s something that Lindsay’s learned through the years, and she uses her skill, she uses the abilities that she developed as a teacher to apply to this future desired situation that she wanted, which was building her business, which was building Pinch of Yum.

Even if it’s not the exact skill that you used as your previous job, or your current job, there might have been systems, or processes, or concepts that you could apply from where you’ve been, your previous job or your current job, to help you leverage and build your desired future. I would really encourage you to think critically about what that might be. Just as a note, the goal here is not to feel like you’re starting from scratch and building a new skill. There might be a little bit of that, right? Sure, you might be learning photography for the first time, or maybe you’re jumping into understanding WordPress and you feel a little bit lost. There will be new skills that you develop. Those are new skills that you’re learning, but it’s important to think about all of the previous skills and abilities that you’re bringing to the table, and using those to work towards your desired future.

That’s something that I would really encourage you to think about in this new year, as you are maybe feeling overwhelmed by having to learn something new, or develop a new skill. To not feel like it’s something that’s not capable for you because of your past. I would really encourage you to look at your past, to look at where you’ve been, to find the things you’re good at, or the skills that you’ve learned in previous settings. Whether you were working in a corporate setting, whether you were working in your own business that was in an unrelated field, or maybe you weren’t working in a traditional job, but you were staying at home, taking care of your kids. No matter the situation, you have skills and abilities, and you’ve crafted those over the years. You can apply those to what you want to do in the future, even if it seems like it’s not related.

That would be a really important mindset that I would encourage you to develop and think about as you look to this new year, as you look to 2017. That’s looking back, that’s looking at the past, where you’ve been. Let’s take it to present time, let’s talk a little bit about where you are. I’ve realized that one of the most critical factors in success, whether it be success in business, or success in life in general, is your mindset and how you process things throughout what maybe is a typical normal day. I’ll say this, tips, and tricks, and advice, and how to type content, that’s all really helpful, but if you don’t have the right mindset as you’re applying those things, those tips, and those tricks, and the how to content, then those things are pretty useless.

Essentially what I’m talking about here is how you process things, where you are right now in life. The events that are happening to you as they unfold day to day. Your state of mind is kind of like your day to day companion that processes all of the different inputs that come into your brain throughout the day. There’s so many, right? Not only are we fed all of this information from social media, and the different websites. Also, interacting with the people that we interact with throughout the day, whether it’s family, or co-workers, or friends. How you’re thinking about where you are right now in your life is largely due to your mindset, right?

Everything that’s coming in goes through this filter of your mindset, and how you think about those events that are happening around you is largely impacted or largely has to do with that filter. One of the most important mindsets I’ve had to develop when it comes to building a business, is the mindset of simultaneous, okay, so it’s these two things coexisting at the same time. One, gratitude and contentment. Two, this continued desire to learn, build, and grow. Those two things maybe seem like they’re opposite, but what’s important is to hold those two things as equally important. Gratitude and contentment in one hand, and a continued desire to learn, build, and grow in the other hand. It’s a difficult balance, but it’s a really important balance.

There’s a few different ways that I like to do this, and like to develop this mindset. I would encourage you to potentially do the same as you think about how you want to develop this mindset. The first way that I like to figure this out, or I like to dive into this mindset, this balance between the two is training myself to have a running dialog of gratitude, especially when I’m confronted with negative thoughts. Some examples right now could be true, the furnace is broken in studio today, in Pinch of Yum. It’s three degrees outside, but this is also true at the exact same time. I’m so incredibly grateful to have a laptop, right? A really nice laptop that I can take with me and go to a coffee shop, and order a warm drink. What a great experience that is, right? Can you imagine that? Sitting in a coffee shop, it’s cold outside, the coffee shop is warm. You have this great drink, and you’re able to do work that you really enjoy. Man, I’m so grateful that I get to do that.

Maybe it’s something like this, you could think about this. This is true for me. I’m totally overwhelmed by the amount of work that I have around the holidays, and it’s especially true combined with all of the planned events that you have, right? You’re getting together with family, you’re getting together with friends, but it’s not like the work necessarily gets lighter. Especially for a lot of us that are in this industry of website content that’s based around food, and just in general, selling things online. November and December are really important times for that. It can be overwhelming. There’s a ton of work that needs to be done.

At the same time though, I’m deeply, deeply grateful to have family that loves me, and is excited to see me, and spend time with me. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, and feeling like there’s so much work, and feeling like I’m burdened by that, then I can contrast that with the reality that exists at the same time, right? It’s not like it’s replacing that negative thing. It’s just also true, and I want to be really intentional to see it, that I have family and friends around me that love me, excited to see me. I’m guessing that’s true for you as well. As you feel overwhelmed I would encourage you to think about that reality of the good thing that exists as well, and to be grateful for that.

Maybe last example here. True, there are people that have started, built, and scaled businesses really quickly, a lot quicker than we have. When I see them, I can feel less competent. I can look at what they’ve done, and I can feel like they are so capable. They are able to do this stuff that I’m not able to do at the same level, or that I’m not able to do as quickly. It can feel a little bit sad, or I can feel not as competent, and I can kind of start to question, “Gah, am I really the best person to be doing this?” At the same time, what I can do is I can hold in the other hand and be deeply grateful for the progress we’ve been able to make, and the fact that I’ve really enjoyed the work that I’ve done along the way.

Even though this thing is maybe true, I’m not saying that’s not true, that I don’t have this feeling. I’m really intentional to remember all of these things that I am grateful for, and to see both of those things at the same time, and to not focus so much on the negative. For me it’s never about totally denying the fact that a negative thought, or a negative feeling exists. It’s more about being present to, and grateful for all of the good things that do exist. What I’ve found is that oftentimes the things that I’m grateful for are pretty simple, normal things that I might forget about, or might not even think about throughout the day, even though they are so great.

I just thought of this right now, I’m standing here talking into the mic, but I have these slippers on. They’re so comfortable, and it’s such a small thing. It helps me to continually be grateful throughout the day. Other examples might be, liked I talked about before, warm cup of coffee, a really good conversation that you have with somebody, or maybe it’s an evening with family. Which happens so much, or has happened I’m sure for you, over the holiday season. All of that to say, being grateful for where I am right now at this exact moment has been a really important mindset for me, and one that I’m going to continue to develop in 2017.

I think what can often happen is as you look to build, and grow, and expand, you can start to lose track of the things that you’re grateful for, or the progress you’ve made. Sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re working on, or what you’re focusing on. It’s those things that are happening alongside as you are working on, and focusing on building and growing like a warm cup of coffee, or a good conversation. I would encourage you in this new year to think about those things that you could be grateful for each and everyday. At the same time, to not be afraid to continue to desire, to learn, and build, and grow. To have that desire, right?

It doesn’t mean that because you have gratitude, and contentment with your day to day, that you can’t also simultaneously have a desire to learn, and build, and grow. That’s what I was talking about at kind of the beginning of this section, this idea of where we are right now, or where you are, that we have to have these two things that are existing at the same time. Number one, extreme gratitude, and extreme contentment. Number two, this desire to learn, and build, and grow. I think both of those things can coexist. Even if you have this desire to really build, and really grow this incredible thing, that along the way it doesn’t mean you can’t be content, or grateful.

How can you be content and grateful when you are also trying to build and grow? How do those two things coexist? Don’t you have to have some type of tension, or feel a little bit uncomfortable with where you are in order to have this desire to build and grow? I think maybe that’s a piece of it, but for me it’s about looking at the process of building and growing, not as a way to validate who you are, or to validate who I am. Not as a way to reach a certain destination. I can’t wait until this point, I get this much money from my blog, I get to this many pages. I get this many people following up and saying that they really love me, and the things that I’m doing.

It’s not about doing that stuff, and getting to this certain point to get validated or reach a goal. It’s about valuing the process itself over the destination. I just hit the mic a little bit, so if you heard the mic … Now, it’s because I’m using my hands. I’m so excited about describing this, that I was being animated enough to hit the mic. Again, it’s about valuing the process itself over this destination that you put out in front of you down the line. I’m fairly confident that there will never be a time in your journey where you reach a certain point and you feel like it’s enough, or you get there and you say, “Now I have arrived.”

I think this is really, really common, and we see this over and over. Both with ourselves, as well as with other people that we observe, and that we’re aware of. That it’s a little bit of a carrot on a stick mentality. Where you never get to the point where you thought that you wanted to get to, because every time you do, when you look up, the carrot has moved a little bit further on, right? It’s never about getting to a destination, because your destination will always be out in front of you. There will never be enough sales, enough traffic, enough external validation. That will never get to you a point where you will feel fully fulfilled, and okay with the point where you’re at.

THat’s why it’s so important to develop the mindset of gratitude and contentment like we talked about before, because without that you’ll find that you’re on the always wanting more wheel of life, right? I just want more traffic, I want more people commenting, and saying that I’m doing a good job. I want more followers on social media. A desire to learn more, and to build faster, and grow bigger, isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, the issue is when the desire is connected with the belief that doing those things will help you eventually get to a point where you feel happy, right?

If you think, “Where I’m at right now, I’m not completely happy with that. At a certain point, then I will be happy.” My strong feeling is, and this is my experience as well, that point will never come. As the goals you set, as you reach those, those will just keep getting bigger. There will never be a point where you reach that goal and you say, “Okay, now I feel okay with it.” What does that mean? How does that work? How do we get to a point where we are simultaneously wanting to grow, and to develop, and to get bigger in whatever that might mean. Whether it’s building more for your business, or maybe it’s in a relationship. It doesn’t just have to be just on the business side. How do we simultaneously have this desire to grow while also being content, and grateful for the things we have?

Let’s talk about it. If you have a desire to learn more, to build faster, or grow bigger, than what I would say is it’s important to shift your end goal to be … Your end goal, you’re shifting it away from this specific number, or this specific level. Shift it from that to falling in love with the process itself. Maybe it’s the daily grind, or some people would call it the, “Hustle.” It doesn’t mean that you have to be selling your soul completely, but what you want to be doing is shifting it so you’re not falling in love with the perceived idea of something, or your perception of what will be down the line, or to come. What you’re focusing on is falling in love with the actual process of growth, instead of the destination that the growth will take you to.

For myself perfectly, the perfect mindset balance is when I’m both grateful and content, so everyday I’m waking up and I’m finding ways to be grateful, to be content exactly where I’m at. At the same time I’m working daily to build something that I truly enjoy working on. That is really the sweet spot for me. It’s being deeply grateful, and deeply content with where I’m at. At the same time, knowing that because I love the process of what I’m doing so much, that I’m going to continue to grow and build. Not to bring me to a point where then I know that I’ll be validated because I reached that point, because that will never come, but because I love the process of doing it itself, right? It’s not about the pursuit of happiness, you’re not pursuing something down the line. It’s the happiness of pursuit. We have this gift of being able to pursue things, and build things. That is such a wonderful gift to have.

How do you do that? How do you figure out that happiness of pursuit, what does that look like, and how do you slowly but surely build that up over time? Well, we have to look at number three, this is the last part of the podcast we’re doing today. We have to look at where you’re going. One of my favorite ways to think about the future, and to think about moving forward, and to think about growth and building, is this concept of one percent infinity. It’s something that I talk about and mention occasionally on the podcast. I just wanted to have some dedicated time, and dedicated space to talk about it here. I think the perfect place to do that would be to think about looking forward, right?

We’re talking about 2017, taking a step back. We’ve talked about where you’ve been, the past, we talked about where you are, the present. Now we’re going to talk about really what I think a lot of people think about in a new year is where you’re going, the future. What does it look like moving forward? The best way to do that is to use this concept of one percent infinity. Let me ask you this, we’re Food Blogger Pro podcast, so we’re speaking specifically about blogs. What’s the difference between a blog that grows into someone’s full time job, they’re able to do it, they love what they’re doing, and a blog that stays at the same level year after year? What are the factors that go into it?

Is it luck? Sure, yeah, absolutely. I am really intentional about saying this, that there’s always an element of luck involve with success. It’s definitely not the main factor. It’s there, but it’s definitely not the main factor. Is it timing? Is it being at the right place at the right time? For sure, that’s a huge part of it as well. Being at the right place at the right time, that plays a role in the success of a blog. I would say that it’s also not the main factor. It must be innate ability, right? It’s you have this skill, Lindsay and I sometimes call it this magic fairy dust. That must be what it is, right? Sure, yeah. I would say that plays into it, and having a natural talent definitely plays a role.

I would also say that’s not the main factor, it’s not the main thing. While all of these things factor into a blog success, the biggest difference I would say between a blog that’s growing and thriving, and a blog that isn’t, is one perfect infinity. We’re going to talk a little bit about what that means. I’ll say this, true, many professional bloggers have never heard of this term, and many of you probably haven’t. Even if they don’t know the term, they’ve undoubtedly applied this concept to their blog, and their business as they’ve built it from a hobby into a career.

I want you to try and envision this. It’s hard because it’s a podcast, and it’s me standing in an empty room here describing it. The term that I’m talking about, I’m not actually using the words when I envision it. It’s literally the number one, and then the perfect sign. I don’t think a lot of people know this but there’s actually a sign for infinity. It looks like an eight turned on its side. If you can vision doing an eight, one of the eights where you never pick your pen or your pencil up, it’s kind of two loops. The infinity symbol is that, and then turned on its side. You can kind of imagine it’s like it never ends because it just keeps looping around.

That’s, when I think of one percent infinity, that’s what I think of. It’s the number one sign, it’s the percent sign, and then the infinity symbol. Let’s break that down a little bit so we can understand what one percent infinity is, then we can dive into what it means conceptually. One, let’s start with that. We’re looking at the first third of the one percent infinity. One is, well, we all know what is, the number one. That’s pretty easy. Let’s jump to the next step and pair that up with the second character in the one percent infinity sequence, which is the percent sign. At this point we tag that on, and now we have one percent. It’s still a pretty easy concept that most of us understand, and we use percentages all the time, we know that one percent is a really small percent.

Let’s jump to add that list and really critical symbol, one percent infinity. That last character, the infinity symbol, is added on. Now all together, those three characters read as one percent infinity. What one percent infinity really means, is improving just a little bit, like one percent, every day, forever. I’m going to say that one more time. One percent infinity is all about improving just a little bit, every day, forever. I’m about to make a bold statement here, but I really believe it’s true. One percent infinity is one of the most important concepts to understand and apply as you transition from … We’re speaking specifically about blogging. As you transition from, it would be a hobby blog to a pro blog. One percent infinity would be one of the most important concepts for you to apply if we’re doing it with another area, from being not healthy, to healthy.

It’s not about making these huge sweeping changes, it’s about finding ways each and every day over a really long period of time, to make small and sustained changes. Now I want to talk a little bit about the significance of one percent infinity now. There’s an incredible amount of work involved in building a blog. I know that I’m totally preaching to the choir here, and I have a feeling that you know exactly what I’m talking about. One of the hardest things about building a blog is that there is a need for consistent content creation. We hear it all the time and it’s true, that consistently publishing new content is the key to building a successful blog.

I’m going to pause there and say, that applies to any type of content-based business. The podcast for example … I’m coming home today, we have a friend visiting from California. We’re going out to meet with some friends tonight. I said, “I have to go home, I’m recording this podcast and it’s really important for us to get this out. We need to continue to create content. We’ve done a podcast every week for over a year and a half, and I know that one of the reasons the podcast is gaining in momentum, and becoming more successful, and every month, month over month has more downloads is because of that consistent content creation.”

Here’s what happens with that though, we focus our energy on publishing that post, sending out that email and that newsletter, recording that video and putting it on YouTube, or testing the new recipe if you’re a food blogger. Don’t get me wrong, the consistent content creation, it’s really vital and important to a blog’s success. The issue is, when we do these activities without improving, when we don’t improve, then we’re applying the concept of zero percent infinity to our blog, or whatever it is we’re doing. Our YouTube channel, our podcast. As you know, improving something by zero percent, it means it doesn’t really improve at all.

Here’s an example to illustrate that point a little bit. We’re going to look at Bob and Jack. Bob’s blog, Jack’s blog. Not real people, but they might be. This could be their story. Let’s look at Bob First. For example, Bob publishes, let’s say three posts a week to is blog, he has 156 posts by the end of the year. That’s incredible. That’s a lot of content and a huge accomplishment for somebody to have. Let’s contrast that with Jack’s blog. Jack publishes three posts a week to his blog, but he also applies this concept of one percent infinity each day. He’s finding small improvements, and those small improvements mean at the end of the year Jack has not just published 156 blog posts, but he’s also along the way built an email list, he’s significantly increased his traffic, and he’s added a list of resources to his blog that his readers love to go to, and it’s super helpful.

Basically, Jack’s blog is running laps around Bob’s blog. It might seem like, “Well how can you do that? How can you do three posts a week while also doing all of that other stuff?” The important thing to point out here is that it probably, in that scenario, wouldn’t look like Jack doing this marathon sprint of all of these things throughout … To build an email list in 24 hours for instance. My experience has been, and what we’ve applied, and what we’ve done personally, as well as what I’ve seen. Oftentimes it’s these types of people, people like Jack, that will take small consistent steps that get them to this point.

Maybe instead of watching two episodes of Netflix show, Orange is the New Black … I haven’t seen it, but it’s the first one that I thought of. Maybe instead of watching two episodes of Orange is the New Black, instead Jack that night spent a little bit of time researching an email provider, and putting a really simple signup form in his sidebar. What happens is then he gets a little bit of momentum. He has that foundation there, he’s laid that brick as he’s building his castle, and that will be there forever. Maybe what happens is the next day he figures out that, “Hey, I could get a few more email signups if I mentioned this in a couple posts.” He takes a half an hour after he’s done his posts, and goes on and also includes a couple links to his email list in a few of the different posts.

It’s not anything crazy, right? He hasn’t done anything that’s totally revolutionary in the blog building business, but what he has done is taken a really small step, one percent, and he’s continued to apply that to his blog. Alongside of what most people would consider the norm, which is, in this case we’re talking about blogging, publishing the content, publishing the post. Those are just some not real life examples of one percent infinity, but we also have some real examples of one percent infinities.

I’ll give you a few of these examples, and the good news hear is like I said before, these are relatively small tasks that we’re talking about. It doesn’t have to be anything gargantuan, right? How about this, one percent infinity in the case of an E-book. One percent infinity, it doesn’t mean writing that E-book you’ve been thinking about, one percent infinity means taking 15 minutes today, yes, I’m talking to you, and yes I mean today. To create a list of different subjects that you could focus on for your E-book, right? It doesn’t have to be writing it, you don’t have to do the outline, it’s just creating a list of the different things you can focus on.

Then one percent infinity could mean taking 20 minutes tomorrow to create a really rough outline for one of those E-book subjects. Then one percent infinity after that means taking 25 minutes of the day after tomorrow t solidify that outline, and email it to some contacts to see if they have any feedback, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You can see how that works, and you can see how you make progress by taking really small steps over a long period of time. Here are some real life examples of how we’ve actually applied one percent infinity to Food Blogger Pro, and Pinch of Yum.

When I was thinking about starting Food Blogger Pro, this was three plus years ago. I took 30 minutes to look at membership sites that I liked. That was just as simple as Googling membership sites, and looking around, and trying to find people that were doing membership sites. Nothing too complicated or extreme, and then after that what I did is I emailed the site owners, the people that owned those websites, to ask who they used to design and develop their site. It wasn’t a commitment to start a membership site, it was just moving ahead a little bit. What happened was eventually that moved us along the line of launching and starting Food Blogger Pro.

Another example. When Lindsay was thinking about writing Tasty Food Photography, which is her E-book she wrote years ago, what she did is she took 45 minutes one day to create a list of all the different things that she could include in the book. She didn’t get overwhelmed by all the different steps that go into creating the E-book, she just took a simple step and moved one percent closer to having a completed book.

Another example would be when I was trying to learn HTML. It was completely overwhelming, I had no idea how it all worked. What I would do is I would watch just three to four short videos a day on Linda.com, which was the site that I used to learn this stuff, and could watch them at night when I was kind of winding down, or over lunch if I was working. The truth is, when I was watching those I was totally confused at first. Applying one percent infinity to my learning, meant that each day I understood things a little more than I did the day before.

As a last example, Lindsay allowed me to share this, said it was okay. She talks about, Lindsay talks about how she was so frustrated. Maybe you’ve heard her share this story. That she was so frustrated by learning Photoshop the first time that she was literally crying about it. Maybe it felt the same way, I know that I did when I first was starting to learn Photoshop, and it’s a totally overwhelming program. She watched a few tutorials, continued practicing a little bit everyday, and after a few months she started to feel comfortable editing her photos in Photoshop. She didn’t want to try and master it in a day, she just committed to getting one percent better each and everyday. Now it’s her favorite program alongside Light Room for editing photos.

Here’s the deal, the key with one percent infinity is to view huge goals as the culmination of hundreds of small steps, lots of one percent infinities. An E-book isn’t a massive project, it’s lots of tiny daily projects. Improving your photography doesn’t happen in a weekend, it comes from learning photography for 20 minutes everyday over a long period of time. Sure, you might have those times where you’re sprinting, or you’re really spending a lot of time learning something and figuring out your craft, but usually what happens is it’s really intentional effort over a long period of time.

This last piece for one percent infinity is really important, that I totally get it. Chances are that you’re super busy. It’s one of the things I said at the beginning of this podcast, where I said … Especially during the holiday season and feeling totally overwhelmed, and I’m sure you feel like that throughout the year, there are times obviously. There’s times where it’s more stressful and less stressful. In general we’re all very busy. That’s all the more reason why you need to start applying this concept of one percent infinity today. Not tomorrow, not the week after, but today. If you start today, that will make it easier to do tomorrow. Which will make it easier to do the next day.

If you do it three days in a row, it will be easier to make it a habit. As you know, that once you form a habit, it’s harder to stop those habits. That’s where one percent infinity really comes to shine, is when you are able to develop it into a habit, and apply that to your everyday life to continue to do it so one year from today you’ll look back and realize that you now stand in aw of how much you’ve learned, or how much you’ve grown, or how much you’ve improved.

That is the general idea, and the general concept behind one percent infinity. Like I said, it’s one of my favorite concepts as I think about building a business, or building a blog. The reason is because it can be so overwhelming if you look at the big picture. The projects that you want to tackle, or the growth that you want to have, that can be really, really intimidating. As you’re thinking about resolutions, as you’re thinking about goals, as you’re thinking about like we said, where you’re going in 2017, I would encourage you to sure, take some time to think about your goals, your resolutions, those really big things that you want to accomplish. I would also encourage you to think about how you can have a goal of doing one percent infinity, making small progress each and everyday.

Maybe instead of saying, “I want to reach this number of followers,” or, “I want to have this much growth,” something that’s a little bit harder to know that you’ll achieve for sure. Maybe the shift that you have this year is saying, “I want to dedicate 15 minutes a day to moving forward on this project.” You can say, “I want to dedicate an hour and a half a day to getting better at photography.” You can imagine what will happen if you are really intentional about getting a little bit better each and everyday over a long period of time, and I think what you’ll find is that it will really help you move forward on those really big goals that you have, while not distracting by focusing on the end. You’re focusing on what’s happening each and everyday, and making small progress along the way.

That’s really what I want to communicate today. It’s one of these solo podcast where it’s just me talking into the mic, but it was some concepts that I felt like were really important that I wanted to focus in on, and that I wanted to share about. Hopefully, like I said at the beginning of the podcast, it provides some clarity for you as you process through what 2017 will look like for you.

Just a quick recap here. The important things to focus on here as you’re looking at 2017, to look back at where you’ve been, to think about your experiences, and your skills, and abilities that you’ve developed through the years. To think about how you can apply those to your desired future, right? It’s not just about looking forward. It’s also about looking back at what you’ve done, and seeing how you can apply that to the goals that you have, or the resolutions that you have in the future.

Number two, we talked about where you are. It’s about maintaining this state of mind of complete gratitude, and complete contentment with where you’re at. While also being okay with and being interested in this continued desire to learn, build, and grow. The important thing with that desire to learn, build, and grow, is that we are detaching ourselves from being valued by achieving some level of growth, or some level of getting to a certain point. We’re saying, “What are …” The value comes from enjoying the process of it each and everyday.

We know that we’ll never get there, and because we know that what we’re going to do is fall in love with the process as opposed to the potential outcome from the process. It doesn’t mean that it’s always easy, it doesn’t mean that it’s always enjoyable, and it does mean that it requires sacrifice in that we put in time, and energy when other people are maybe not doing that. What it doesn’t mean is that you’re completely miserable all the time in order to get to this future state that you think will be a lot better. It’s the process itself, not the destination that’s truly valuable.

Then last we looked at this, where you’re going, and using the idea of one percent infinity to help you to get where you’re going. We’re relieving that stress of feeling like there’s these massive goals that we want to accomplish, these huge resolutions. We’re saying, “We’re going to break that down a little bit, and our goal or our resolution if we have them, is to these small, and consistent, and steady improvement moving towards that goal or resolution, but knowing that, that’s not the ultimate destination.” What we want is to continually improve in really, really small steps along the way. That’s achievable, it’s not overwhelming, and it doesn’t require hundreds of hours right away. It requires maybe an hour, or two hours, or thirty minutes.

It’s consistent movement forward on those things that we’re excited about moving forward on. Whether that’s building your blog, whether that’s becoming healthier in 2017, whether that’s building a stronger more cohesive family. All of those goals and resolutions can be achieved or you can move towards those using one percent infinity.

Before we wrap up today, I wanted to take a minute to kind of in light of being gratitude, tell you wherever you are, how grateful I am for you, and the fact that you listen to this podcast. Maybe it’s your first time, maybe you listen to it consistently. Maybe you’re just checking in real quick. I’m never not amazed, that’s not the best way to say it. I’m always amazed by the fact that I can sit here in our little room in St. Paul and record this podcast, send it out to you wherever you are. That you can hear it, and then someway that we can be connected now. I think that’s a really cool thing, and I think it’s a big responsibility for me, that you are giving your time to this podcast. I want to take that seriously, and do whatever I can to offer you helpful content that you find valuable. My hope is that it makes your life a little bit better.

I’m appreciative of you, and I’m appreciative of this chance to be able to record this podcast. Thanks for tuning in. If you haven’t yet, I would really encourage you to subscribe to the podcast, which you can do in the iTunes, or Stitcher, or Google Play Store, I think that’s what it’s called. You can follow along, and then whenever we publish a new podcast you don’t have to listen like on FoodBloggerPro.com/Blog, or stream it somewhere else. It will just be automatically downloaded to your phone, and then you can listen to it there with you on the go, wherever you go. That’s how I listen to podcasts.

I have a huge list of podcasts that I listen to every week, and it’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m driving, or doing the laundry, or doing dishes, or brushing Sage’s teeth, which we started to do. It’s one of my favorite things to do when I am kind of having downtime. It’s a great way to subscribe to the podcast and follow along. That is a wrap for this week. We are looking forward to next weeks episode. Until than, make it a great week. I hope that you also make it a great year. Thanks guys.

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  1. Hi Bjork,
    I’ve been a subscriber to your podcast for a long while now but this is my first comment.
    Firstly, I just want to say, my deepest condolences to you, Lindsay and your family. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing your sweet little Afton. Sending you guys love and peaceful thoughts…
    Secondly, today’s podcast is probably my all-time favourite. I really needed to be reminded that it’s about the process and not the arbitrary goal. I also LOVED listening to you explain 1% infinity. It completely makes sense and is something I’m going to try very hard to do with my own blog.
    Thank you for such a wonderful podcast. I look forward to it all week! Even tho’ I don’t blog about food, you have so much useful advice and wisdom.
    Take care,