My website designer, Randy Caruso, asked me to describe myself in just three words. I decided I am a writer, teacher and mentor. These are the three things I most enjoy.
If I may, I’d like to give you an example for my own life. For two years, I taught a course in Gastronomy but I was passed over when I applied for a full-time position on the faculty. The evaluations from the students were spectacular and I loved teaching the class.
There was just one problem.
I was following my own path, and not paying the slightest attention to the established curriculum. Instead, I delighted in telling the kids about my encounters with Julia Child, James Beard and other big cheeses in the food world. I also loved reporting on the latest food news, interesting new books and whatever else popped into my head.
Because I’m British, I don’t like to ask personal questions. So, in my gastronomy classes I didn’t give any exams or quizzes. Instead, I asked the students to keep a Journal; a notebook of all the topics we discussed. Many of their submissions blew me away. They were astonishingly good, filled with videos, photographs and links to relevant stories.
I was heartbroken when I was told that a new full-time teacher was to be hired to teach Gastronomy. The Dean said she thought I did best when I created my own courses. So instead of teaching gastronomy, I started having classes on the topic of Food Jobs.
It takes most of us a long time to figure out how to make a career by examining what we would love to do, not what we think we have to do.
Some people have an exceptional ability to analyze a smell or taste. I definitely don’t have this skill. If you told me the lasagna had three cheese, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if there were three or five and I certainly couldn’t identify them. If you are what is called a ‘super taster‘, you could get a job evaluating anything from ice cream and chewing gum to salt or tea or coffee or olive oil.
The important things, when conducting an internal self-analysis is to start with what you know. (I’m a really good liar and this talent enables me to be a pretty good story teller.)
Once you establish a goal or define a dream, there are three steps to take. The first is to exploration and research. Be clear-headed (and honest!) about your personal abilities and qualifications.
The second step is to figure out who is in your network can help you achieve your objective.
The final step is to act. Don’t get tied up in “what ifs.” Banish all words like “ought to” or “have to.” Don’t allow dark clouds to cloud your sky.