Life is Not a Spectator Sport

Photo: Yours Truly aka @jycmba with @joelcomm – really cool to finally meet him in person!

Each painful second pumped blood into his swollen ears, already pulsing red.

Bill raced to find the right sequence of clicks and taps to make the darn thing do what he wanted it to do.

With a sigh he closed his eyes and apologized.

This past weekend @belew and I finally had the chance to meet. He was one of the speakers on Sunday, and in the end everyone gave him one of the strongest applause for this three-day live event.

But things started off rough for poor Bill.

(This is related to the discussion on Bill’s Forum.)

What Bill hoped to show the audience was a live demo of how to get results with content marketing. Something that none of the other speakers could do.

It was a brilliant idea. But there was just one problem – everything was set up on his computer. and without knowing all the details the bottom line was that the AV system didn’t want to play nice with his computer.

So being the entrepreneur that he is, Bill worked to find a solution.

Normally, there’s time but when you’re on stage in front of hundreds (not counting the live audience watching the streaming video) seconds turn into minutes.. which seem like hours..

Bill has apologized profusely for this glitch. I feel like we all let him down.

The speaker shouldn’t have to struggle with a technical issue when we have an audio visual crew PAID to take care of this.

I sat too far back and didn’t jump up to assist because I took the typical passive audience mode we get into.

The host didn’t say anything except an occasional joke to keep things entertaining – he could’ve used his position to ask for help, and I’m sure any number of his staff or even a room full of internet entrepreneurs could’ve helped.

But instead of any of this – the clock kept ticking, and poor Bill was left to struggle along on that big stage under the hot lights, sweating it out –

Oh, yes, you definitely REALLY feel the heat in a moment like this – BELIEVE me.

And that’s the thing.. once the fight-or-flight kicks in, our bodies tense up, our hearts pump more blood and the monkey brain starts screaming at us.

At this point it’s game over for the rational site. The Elephant has officially started her freakout mode. All the Rider can do is hold on for dear life.


Master the Dance Between Elephant & Rider – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

There are way too many stories of bystanders that watch as someone is attacked. It’s too easy to judge, and too easy to say “no, that’s not me – I’d be different.”

But really – how we do one thing is how we do everything else. Too often we sit back and wait for others to act first. I’ve been just as guilty of this as the next person. Being passive is a habit just like procrastinating or leaving things unsaid.

If we’re not careful, habits can be terminal!

gandhi-quote-habits

Habits Can Become Destiny

 

My Life Lessons from the Kitchen

“Hmm.. not sure about that one..”

I was hesitant to try the mix my girlfriend had made.

“Aww.. come on – you’ll love it!” she said unconvincingly.

Well, here goes. Bracing myself for the gag factor, I took the spoonful and..

kitchen life lessons

photo:  via Unsplash

Like most of us my earliest memories of the kitchen growing up was mom cooking. Maybe the dishes are slightly different from culture to culture but we all have some comfort foods that stay with us through life.

Coming to this country opened up my parents to things they had never experienced back in Taiwan and China. I still remember the shock and confusion when our family discovered that what looked like ice cream was in fact yogurt!

Cheese – the pungent smell took some getting used to. But being a kid I took to it like a happy duckling playing in the rain, and pizza became one of my favorite foods.

Occasionally, mom would need a break from the kitchen, and I stepped in as sous-chef to cook what I liked and what the rest of the family had to learn to appreciate.

For some reason Italian food was my passion as a kid. So much so that in sixth grade I even wrote a 137-page treatise (er, did someone forget to read the memo? it was supposed just be a geography report..) on Italy. Years later, I would actually travel to Rome, Venice, and Florence with my family. Let’s just say that I raised my expectations so high there was only one way to go..!

Later in college I went out with a girl who opened me up to what Asian food had to offer. Up to then my idea was Chinese food. Suddenly, I learned there was Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, even Laotian (her culture).

We would make some unbelievable dishes using just a very illegal hot plate and some utensils (some from home and others “borrowed” from the cafeteria).

Nope. No generic ramen for this homeboy. We cooked noodle dishes using all types – rice, pasta, thin, thick.. boiled, stir-fry.. you name it! We made egg rolls (that does require deep frying, right? .. er, yup!)

While I never saw myself as a chef or working in restaurants, my love and passion of food only grew through the years. Sometimes I looked for excuses to work with the hard-working folks that sweat out the details to provide amazing experiences.

With the rise of celebrity chefs I’ve noticed that slowly there is a greater appreciation of what happens in the kitchen. It’s something that I have carried with me into other areas of my life – whether as an author or entrepreneur, here are some key lessons:

  • Follow recipes.. before improvising – success leaves clues. Any musician knows that mastering the chords is needed before playing jazz or “jamming.” Unless you understand which ingredients work well together and “how” to bring out their flavors, you’ll either go hungry or have to stomach a lot of failed experiments!
  • First, master the basics – whether it’s how to chop and prep ingredients or understanding how to let dough rise before baking, anything we do requires fundamentals. This is true in flying – where you need to learn how to take-off and land before trying aerobatics, and this is true in work – where any profession has core competencies.
  • Good ingredients are essential – unless you’re Jesus, don’t count on making water out of wine. It’s really difficult to make an appetizing dish out of less than quality ingredients. That said, while fresh helps out a lot, you can take an old banana and make a decent smoothie, as the ripeness actually enhances the flavor. But that whole thing about the sow’s ear – yeah, don’t try this at home!
  • Taste, taste, taste – one of the most shocking things on Restaurant: Impossible with Chef Irvine is when he asks the restaurant owner to taste their own cooking, and they are surprised. If you don’t know how it tastes, how can you serve it to others? Learning to test how the world responds to you is another key life skill.

  • Passion is everything – we’re not machines, and I’ve learned that even the best intentions lead to that proverbial road to hell.. UNLESS you have the commitment that comes with passion. Do we need to make adjustments to our plans depending on the feedback we get? Absolutely. But if faith without works is dead, then intention without passion isn’t too far behind!

Hmm.. not bad. It was actually edible.

“Well, what do you think?” she asked expectantly.

“I’m still alive,” I smiled with a hint of sarcasm, feeling my chest in mock testing.

So, these are lessons that I’ve found to carry over not only to work, play, relationships but life as a whole.

What about you? Are there things you’ve learned from the kitchen or other crafts that stay with you?

Join me in talking with Chris Hill on Cinco de Mayo Tuesday, (05/05/15) about his personal journey from the corporate world to the kitchen.

https://plus.google.com/events/caq14vlfsue2q4k1c1utapctq8k