There is no greater test than coming back to yourself.
I’m all about ‘coming home’ these days, and it’s been a journey indeed.
I’ve weathered a season of discontent, and I’m not bemoaning that fact, stating it only as the truth and a necessary time of growth for me. I’ve been looking in the mirror a good bit lately, and not to check my make-up or hair.
The lessons I’ve taken away I’d not trade for probably much of anything. I’m trading uncertainty and fantasy for the moment.
Last evening Carl House, ‘we’ at Carl House hosted an industry event for an organization to which we belong called NACE, (National Association of Catering Executives). We’d been preparing months for this special event. To me, it’s a joy conceptualizing a grand soirre and then bringing together the right vendor partners to make it happen.
I’m very, very good at visualizing the big picture and with the help of my able team, arranging the pieces to pull it off.
I recently became chums with a colleague in the industry, Michael Deihl, Executive Chef at the prestigious East Lake Golf Club. I met Michael when looking for a new chef for my venue. He was the President of ACF, a Chef’s organization. We hit it off immediately. I think he relished not just how sassy I can be but that I could match his tendency to cuss at ripe moments in the conversation. And we both like fine wine and cigars.
Having worked 38 years in the industry, he was quick to point out areas where I needed to buck up and he pointed out potential road hazards possibly facing me. I like straight talk. I do.
When it came time to plan our NACE event, I knew I wanted him as my culinary wizard. Michael’s a celebrated altruist at heart, a man who likes to give! After telling him my vision for the event I said, ‘I’m not sure I can afford you’, he promptly replied, ‘you can’t…..but I’ll do it for you BB. I want to help.’ After a year of financial bank robbery, my heart melted. ‘Thank you. Sincerely Michael, thank you’.
So, on Monday night, my kitchen was pleasantly invaded by no less than 7 chefs in to help Chef Deihl deal out the goods and oh, it was an extravaganza for sure. Last evening his band of merry culinary pirates delivered memorable treats to our hospitality brothers and sisters in style.
We shuttled our guests in from Atlanta, replete with champagne and appetizers, meeting them at the door with some very fine wines and the most luscious homemade hors d’oeuvres. Chef Deihl’s easy manner and exquisite ‘comfort food’, homemade chicken pot pie, collards as I’ve never had them, beef so tender I felt a tear gilsten in my right eye, macaroni and cheese made in part with bleu cheese, I was experiencing the very dream I’ve had for Carl House: fine food, delightful, appreciative people, a decor almost edible and fun realized in every corner. (And the very week that our azaleas and cherry trees were in full bloom)!
I invited my pal, the Mayor of Auburn to speak of her vision of Auburn and Carl as well as our collaborations together. Chef Deihl next spoke about ‘how to work with a chef’….fun and funny using the analogy of dating and marriage, (too much to share here)!
By this time folks had visited the dessert bar to enjoy the most outrageous tasty butterscotch puddings and strawberry sweets served in darling little mini shot glasses. Over-the-top trendy, creative and a home run.
And then I got to speak. I spoke on ‘How to Build a Business Which Thrives Beyond You’. I was in my element and with a rapt audience. It felt good to openly share the ups and downs and lessons learned over my last 7 years in business, with of course my take on attitude, creating opportunity and, coming back to yourself.
And that’s where I find myself today. Having been away so long, I’m recognizing home and there is no push or striving needed where I presently find myself. Frankly, I refuse. Perhaps there is something around the notion of ‘arriving’ which I am beginning to feel.
I ended with my story, ‘The People You Hire, the People You Fire’, a Dr. Suess-y bit of bouncy rhymes sharing the importance of hiring the right people in your company and firing the ones who are not a fit. This makes me consider the roles which fit and don’t fit myself.
I heard once that innocence and joy is so much easier to the young, not crumbled yet by disappointment and heartache.
Conversely, to be filled with joy after having been through struggle and despair is a real gift. How appreciated it is having experienced the alternative! Consciousness again rules!
Regarding home….no more can a sheep be a lion or a lion a sheep.
The struggle can end when you softly fall into the costume you’re meant to wear.
And my audience seemed to affirm that sentiment. My heart was full!
So, I prefer just now to simply be open to the people and things who choose to come my way, to come….be a part of my world should they choose. I welcome them. But, they’ll need to speak up, knock on my door.
No more push, questioning or doubt…..they are all marauders to flow…time for ease, less strive, more thrive.
It’s simply time.
And again, (for me), it’s only the love that remains, love for people who’ve met me here or there. And appreciation for the experiences which make me who I am… in this moment and the next and the next and the next.
I keep a window cracked for possibility, forgiveness, expanded thinking…
Thank you to ALL the wonderful, talented people who contributed to our grand event last evening at Carl House. My vision for both Carl House and myself was more brightly revealed during this perfect evening of celebration and business camaraderie.