Do What You Love
When I was a cook, if you wanted a job, you looked in the newspaper. There were almost always cook positions available, but the ratio of open jobs to applicants was such that you had to beat other cooks in the interview.
Looking back, I remember loving to go to interviews, the movement in the kitchen, bordering on chaotic but intentional and fast, the light bouncing off of all that stainless steel, the sounds of pots clanking and people saying things like “Hot stuff, behind you!” All turned me on.
I didn’t know then what I know today. I remember the unsettling feeling of wondering if I would ever be a chef, if I would ever be good enough. It was my dream to be a chef.
At one point in my career, I was working as a line cook at a hotel with a brand-new French pastry chef who didn’t speak a word of English (intentionally I think). I loved his pastries and breads so much that I would punch out at 11:00 pm and work in the pastry shop until 7:00 am to learn how to do cool things with pastry. I was tired and sticky and I didn’t get to hang out with my friends after work, but I loved it.
I was probably in my mid-30’s before I regularly had holidays off. When I did get that time off, I went to holiday functions and parties, I thought about the people working together on the holidays and a piece of me wanted to be with them. I loved being in it with a team.
I also loved leadership and leading. As a young manager, I was particularly good at controlling, intimidating and being right. With a style like that, loving to lead meant lots of lessons.
There have been so many lessons as a leader over the years. I’ve had to learn how to be kind and patient, open to other’s ideas, open to feedback about myself, open to hearing that I hadn’t done enough. I have not loved each minute of this journey, but I love the rewards of self-reflection and the idea that I can still become a better version of myself.
Today, I get to work with a lot of leaders and many of them are chefs. There’s no way I could have envisioned this career for myself, it’s the culmination of things I love.
The whole point to this lesson is to make sure that what you are doing is somehow connected to what you love. A sense of mastery is the reward for all of the bumps in your path, the times you are tired, sticky, getting feedback and being a learner. Those specific bumps are less painful when they are in the context of loving the bigger thing you are doing.
Here’s an invitation...
Think about the four happiest times of your life. Then, see if you can connect the dots.
Then, compare those connections to what it is you do every day.
Is every day connected to something you love?
The invitation here is for you to comment on your findings. What you learn, could be a help to others and vice versa. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
If I can help you discover what you love and connect it to what you are doing, please reach out, I’d love to support you.