Motivational Monday: Moving Forward….

I can only speak for myself but the holidays for a small business owner can be both a blessing and a curse.  Existing clients want their projects wrapped up so they can begin the new year fresh, old clients seek your advice on decorating their homes for the holidays and new clients want to begin projects in the hopes that Santa will find a way to finish them before Christmas.

Believe me when I say I am truly blessed to be in this position, but at times I feel that I am in the trenches with no end in sight.  When I get that feeling, I look to this quote …..

This weekend I had a similar conversation with a friend who was hosting her first family gathering for the holidays and was feeling a wee bit overwhelmed.  She fretted that the cranberry sauce wasn’t going to be perfect or the turkey would be dry.  She was worried about when she was going to put up her Christmas tree.  As we talked, her list of stuff continued to grow and eventually I gave her the same advice I gave myself here. Every journey, every right of passage, every process has an end – it’s a fact (I looked it up Wikipedia).  The outcome may not be always what we want it to be, but if we focus on getting through the rough patches and not wallowing in the delicious misery of the situation, we will be better for it.

So my friends, as we enter firmly into the holiday season, don’t stress.  Work will find its way to completion.  Presents will be bought.  Dinners will be cooked.  Because in the end, the “hell” we see it now will be the fond memories we will cherish in the future.

Happy Monday!

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The Journey Is At Times More Important Than The Outcome….

Last night’s class opened up a can of “whoop a**” on me.  From the knife cuts (fluted mushrooms and tourne potatoes), the dishes we cooked for presentation (glazed beets, braised cabbage, duchesse potatoes) to kitchen clean-up (we stayed until 9:30pm cleaning) it was a stressful situation (in my opinion).  Over the last three months, I have had highs and lows in my affinity for culinary school and have  seriously doubted everything from my ability as a chef to my aptitude for remember information. My first day in this new course brought back all the feelings of inadequacy I felt the first time I stepped into the kitchen two months ago.

I have a tendency to psych myself out and to over-analyze situations — in essence, I scare the crap out of myself for no good reason.  This self-created anxiety is one of the issues I work with my counselor with because it tends to block progress in my case.  Modern psychology states that small amounts of stress are good for running at peak levels of productivity. I am unique that the thought of stress actually creates unhealthy amounts of stress.  I find it amusing that my classmates are always complimenting me on my calm demeanor in the kitchen.  It isn’t that I am calm at all — on the inside I am doing cartwheels but I know that if I don’t focus and try to control the internal chaos, it will have detrimental effects.  Once rolling, the stress compounds and that is when you find me a sweaty mess talking to myself in the corner or angrily yelling at my classmates over small things.  Neither is a good scenario, hence why I try hard to go in every day with a game plan and really not get too shaken up.

Because of this tendency, I often get lost in the moment.  For some that is a state they aspire to embrace but for myself it’s something I avoid. Many times in my life, I get caught up in the here and now, but never look at the path I am have or the journey as a whole.  As I get older, I am appreciating life as a whole rather than compartments. Yet, somehow this “whole perspective” is not translating to culinary school – this is a journey I need to remember because it has informed me about some much regarding myself. In life we can take many different roads, but those roads we take, well in particular, the road I have taken, I need to pay attention.  Yeah, sometimes we deviate or go off path – but that is the beauty of a well-lived life.

Last night, as I laid in bed exhausted, I thought of the poem by Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”. I memorized it in elementary school for a contest and still remember it to this day, considering I can’t remember my Mom’s birthday, it’s no small feat.  Little did I know that some 20 plus years later, it would have such new meaning to me……

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.