New Home Forums Introductions A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

9 replies, 8 voices Last updated by  Wendy Cain 7 years, 7 months ago
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    Laura Koller

    My name is: Laura Koller.  I’m a dietitian and diabetes educator, a former classroom teacher, and a mom to four boys ages 4 to 10.

    I teach: because it is my heart to teach. I’ve been teaching in one capacity or another for more than 20 years.  I started out as a junior high English teacher, then followed my interest in nutrition to become a dietitian.  Initially I thought nutrition education was a matter of giving people the right information, and once people knew better they would do better.  I have since learned that effective nutrition education (and healthcare education for that matter) is not about sharing information and hoping for the best; instead, it is about connecting with people in order to change behaviors – a process that takes time, knowledge, mindful awareness, and repetitive practice – so that a person can achieve competence and mastery.

    At a basic level I teach nutrition to dialysis patients.  In truth, however, I do much more than that.  I teach people how to adjust to the realities of living and eating on dialysis, and how to do that in the most safe, practical, and life-affirming way possible.  Patients are told that they have choices for dialysis, but the reality is that no patient actually want to be faced with any of these choices.  I’m there to listen and offer support whenever I can.

    About a year ago, I had an epiphany that my twisted career path was not filled with detours and missed exits, but rather it was the right path for me all along.  I arrived at the field of nutrition with a set of skills and experiences different than any of the dietitians I knew, and these shaped my nutrition and healthcare practice in powerful ways.  The self-reflection and positive discipline that I had routinely used in my teaching and my parenting enabled me to to objectively assess and evaluate the teaching strategies I used with my patients and, more importantly, to connect with them using empathy and understanding.  These are the elements that give me a sense of meaning and purpose in my professional practice each day.

    Why I signed up for The Great eCourse Adventure: I was working through the first steps of setting up a website and blog (still working on going live) when I learned about Teachable and discovered that I could actually create my own eCourse.  Wow!  That inspired me, and then I saw an interview with Bradley and Andy in the Online Course Creation Summit.  These guys were so energetic, creative, and genuine, and they seemed like they were having so much fun.

    I’m still totally intimidated by this process, especially the tech side of things – but they promised to break things down into manageable steps, and if I’m going to do this I want to create something as memorable and meaningful as the strategies I practice with my patients each and every day.  If I manage to do this (Bradley and Andy assured me I could) then it’s going to be a powerhouse of a presentation, and that’s good because I’m ready to start a revolution in healthcare education!!!

    That being said, I’m still really anxious about whether I have the time or $$$ to invest.  I’m counting on support from all of you.

    What kind of e-course I want to create:  Right now I’m thinking along the lines of “Boost Your Motivation Superpowers” or “Whole-Brain Whole-Heart Healthcare.”  Ultimately I’m doing this not because I have something to say, but rather because I found something that needs to be said – and shared and spread widely – and since no one else is saying it then it must be my job to do it.  I feel this great sense of purpose to transform the lives of others: not only my colleagues, but the many patients that we all show up to help each day.

    I have ideas for other eCourse topics, too, such as Meal Planning, Feeding Strategies, and what I call the Reality Bites Eating Plan.  I constantly struggle to balance the ideals of healthy eating and positive parenting with the realities of limited time, $$$, and sanity.  I often choose sanity above all else and encourage others to do the same.

    What makes me come most alive is:

    1. Appreciation and positive feedback from patients and colleagues.  Recently I felt inspired by an email I received from a colleague, so I printed it out and taped it to the wall directly in front of my desk.  When I’m struggling with what to write or how to write it (or whether to write at all), I read it and her words encourage me to just keep going: “I love the way you think, Laura. That’s exactly the kind of nutrition I want to practice! It really would make a difference. Thanks again for sharing your ideas.”

    2. My four amazing boys.  I want to show them they can find work that fills them with meaning and purpose, that practicing empathy and care for others is essential, that they can pursue whatever crazy thing they dream up, and that our lives should be driven not by fear and resistance, but rather by courage, connection, curiosity, and creativity.

    I look forward to taking this journey with all of you.




    Tree Franklyn

    Hi @Laura! Welcome! What a great intro, thanks so much for sharing a real part of yourself with us. You have a wonderful way with words. I love your description of what you really teach your patients underneath the basic level. Beautiful. And what necessary work too!

    Regarding your anxiety about not having enough time or $$$… I just wanted to share with you a little about what has helped me since I too have limited time…  I have dedicated one focused hour a week to my course (that means going through this course, the videos, journal entries, reading/posting in the forum as well as using the info I learn here to actually create my course). It’s slow moving, but to give up any more time means to take away from my clients, my blog, my family, my “me” time, my sleep, my deadlines with my publisher, and other aspects of my business.

    There’s no race to the finish. It’s a nice hike and sometimes you’ll need to stop for a breather, sit on a rock and enjoy the wildflowers. And sometimes you might want to push yourself to keep going up even if you’re tired because the momentum is going. It’s ALL ok. There’s no timeline and no pressure or urgency other than the one you place upon yourself. When I first started my business not very long ago, I hustled my a** off for the first year because I was in a hurry to get it up and running, get clients, make an impact, help more people, build my list, etc. But I burnt out completely and needed to put on the brakes. Looking back, that was one of the most stressful years of my life, even amidst the joy, there was a layer of urgency and stress on top of the joy. And all because I was trying to create a happier stress-free life! So I recently slammed on the breaks, stopped accepting new clients and am now doing an overhaul to automate and scale my biz. It’s definitely slower moving than the first year, but I’m so much happier and have more fun with my family and enjoy my work more. It’s sooo worth it to take your time as you move through the process and not think of it as something that needs to get done asap, but something that you can enjoy doing with the time you have to do it.

    Plus, if you’re in this for the long haul (ie: not just creating a quick money making course and then closing up shop – which doesn’t sound like you)  then taking your time to build it wisely and building a strong foundation is the smart thing to do. Hope this helps.

    And re: the $$$, right now, if you’re just starting with the course, you don’t need any money to watch the videos and do the homework. You can cross the money bridge when it’s time to cross it. But for now, that’s one less thing you need to worry about.  🙂


    Laura Koller

    Hi Tree,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply – especially since you dedicated time from your precious weekly hour to share from your own heart.  I saw your intro and your profile last night and felt inspired that you were going to make this work even though your time, too, is so limited.  You must be a kindred spirit!  I get what you say about stopping to take a breath, to enjoy the scenery along the way.  Every day I look at my boys and I see how quickly the time passes, how I need to make time to stop and savor each and every moment I can.  At the same time, I feel a sense of urgency about my topic and its potential impact for others.  I’ve had many personal struggles in the past few years, too, and I feel like building my own business would give me the flexibility to cut back my hours at my current job so I can finally be the one to pick up my boys from school each day, and the financial independence to reduce some of the current time and money stressors in my personal life.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to balancing personal ideals with sanity and making things work the best that you can.  I appreciate your input and feedback.  Best wishes on your own trek up the mountain!




    Bobbie Jo Van Den Plas

    WOW! I can feel your passion in reading this, Laura! It is so wonderful to meet you here on this mountain. You are an amazing teacher with an amazing heart! Your patients/students are blessed. You actually listen and care. I’m super excited about all you are going to create here! I’ve only been in here a few days and through Base Camp, and Bradley & Andy put everything together so well, and there is an amazing group of hearts in here for more support too. You can do this! What you are offering is definitely needed (so glad you found your voice and are going to share it). YAY! Excited to climb this mountain with you!


    Deanna Gibbons


    I can feel in your post how much you love teaching! Though I’ve never taught officially, I’ve always felt like a teacher with my own kids as well as others. (Probably why I’m so active in Scouting).

    Tree really said everything I would have said, Laura. As far as time, take it one day at a time, one step at a time and try not to be too hard on yourself when you see others moving at a faster pace. (That’s what I happened with me). You will see others going faster, but do it your way. Trust me, or you will burn out.

    I’m the mother of 5, I work full time, I am a service unit manager with Girl Scouts (managing about 20 troops) and a Boy Scout Den leader as well, all while working on my course. I started all gung ho and got a lot done at first, but quickly started to burn out (and self sabotage). It wasn’t until I was encouraged here in the community to not be so hard on myself and work at my own pace, did I slow down. It’s not worth the stress.

    I’m so looking forward to watching your course (and you) grow!



    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    Welcome Laura. Can you feel the support swooping in to usher you up the mountain in perfect and divine timing?

    We will do what we said. Help you build an amazing course that you’re proud of and that changes the lives of your students. AND we’re gonna have a lot of fun along the way.

    You received some potent wisdom from Tree and your other fellow adventurers around the time and money topic. Take it to heart and take this journey one step at a time.

    Don’t worry about tech. There are plenty of creative ways to do the tech side and then once you’ve built up a bank account, you can always upgrade and improve later.

    No hurries, no worries. You’ve got lifetime access to the journey now, so just carve what you can in the schedule, use that time distraction free, focus and take the next steps.

    Lets make some mountain magic now.

    Great intro by the way!


    Laura Koller

    Bradley – You’re right!  I feel the support swooping in from all around me.  It’s so powerful, and I know this will be an incredible journey.  It’s so funny to hear your suggestions to take things one step at a time, because although I feel this great sense of urgency to race ahead and get things done – I ask my patients each and every day what ridiculously small thing they can do that will make a positive difference, and I focus on the next small step that will help us approach the target.  I appreciate hearing the same wise advice from all of you, my kindred spirits on the mountain!!!


    Andy Freist
    Mountain Guide

    Welcome Laura!

    Thanks for taking the time to give us such wonderful insight into your world.

    You are certainly in the right place, and as you can see, support is all around you 🙂

    As Bradley said, “no hurries no worries” – this is a marathon, not a sprint!

    Looking forward to witness your creation come to fruition!




    Judy Brenneman

    Hi, Laura –

    I think we must be cousins, if not sisters…same challenges, same anxieties about time and money, same inner sense of “need to do this NOW”–so I’m glad you’re here (and glad I’m here with you). And I LOVE “Reality Bites Eating Plan” — for many reasons that I won’t go into now, but I can see how to adapt it to a bunch of themes and different audiences and and and {laughing}. And since I’m typing this on the day before I begin baking Many Pies For Thanksgiving, it seems even more appropriate!


    Wendy Cain

    Welcome, Laura!

    Thank you for sharing so much about yourself in your introduction.  There is a tremendous need for what you have to share with diabetes management and nutrition, so stay with it!  Slow and steady wins the race 🙂

    I jumped in quickly when I joined the GEA, but then stepped back a bit as I completed a couple previous commitments.   So we’re all working at different paces, but you will find a tremendously supportive community here!

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