Second Acts and Choices

…Been thinking a lot lately (since 2002, to be exact) about what I want to DO with my life, what my “Second Act” will be.  I spent the first part of my working life in the restaurant industry which was hard and fun and wonderful and difficult, but dynamic.  I chose my major at college because it sounded interesting, and Anthropology IS interesting.  I just didn’t consider what I would do with it as a profession.  As it became clear that I wasn’t interested in pursuing an advanced degree, I turned to the restaurant industry, which was a good choice at the time.  Business was booming and I was a foodie in San Francisco in the 90’s…which was a really exciting time.  I met so many people that were into food and we talked and learned about it constantly.  We ate and drank like kings and queens at beautiful spaces and places.  Great time!  But 10 years in that industry can wear a person down, and I do believe that restaurant/hotel work is “young people work”…and it certainly isn’t the best kind of work if you want to have a family.  People do it all the time, but it is taxing, and you pay with your blood.  So, since our son was born in 2002, I have been wondering:  what am I going to do?  I mean this in the serious way, the planning way.  I wanted to make a life in food, but I didn’t know how to do it and not work nights and weekends and holidays.  Since my husband is also a chef and the lead moneymaker in our family, I needed to be able to work a more family friendly schedule.  So I have had jobs over the past 10 years that allow me to be a flexible parent, using a combination of my food knowledge, anthropology background, and administrative skills.  I have been an office manager for a financial services company and in a wine brokerage firm; I have been a Quality Control Manager for a commercial bakery, I have free-lanced at bakeries and hotels, made and sold jewelry, and was a sales administrative assistant for 2 hotels.  These jobs have helped us pay our bills, and the best job yet was the bakery job because it used so many of my skills and gifts – it was there I felt most engaged.  (And tasting pastries daily as part of my job was damn cool.) Still, none of these have filled this need I have for doing more substantial work.

A ton of choices, how to choose?

Here’s what I have been doing to get some clarity on my next steps:

Reading
Writing
“Flirting” with my interests
Meditating

Trusting that the answers will come if I give myself a little grace.  Here is where I am, right now, and it is as good a place as any to be.

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Make some room for Vulnerability.

Inspired….

Just watched Brene Brown’s TED talk on Vulnerability, which I have seen 3 times now.  Every time I watch it I am inspired by how she speaks about vulnerability and how beautifully she shows it in her face, her humility while speaking.  She opens a window in my soul in a way that allows for strength, pain and joy to coexist.  Authentic.

Here is the link to the video:

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

I came back to this video because I ran into this concept of Vulnerability in a Webinar I participated in recently and want to explore this idea personally and professionally.    Patrick Lencioni was speaking about his upcoming book:  “The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business”.  Great webinar – I was energized for the whole day by his ideas and way of speaking.  He posits that in order for an Organization to be healthy, there needs to be  a cohesive leadership team, and to achieve this, one of the critical things needed is for there to be trust between the members of the team…trust based on vulnerability.  Trust based on people feeling comfortable enough to be direct, honest, and showing their true selves.  This isn’t easy. I know this from experience, and know I am not the only one.  I would argue that it is more difficult to allow for than any other concept out there.  What you can gain when you can open yourself to vulnerability is a level of connection and strength of success that you can’t get without it.  Risky.  Worth it.

This is what separates companies from their competition. Easy enough to get information and resources, not so easy to build a cohesive culture of trust.

A short excerpt:
http://www.tablegroup.com/pat/videos/vulnerable-lead/index.html

Ok, Committing.!

I’ve been playing with the blog idea for awhile but was thinking that the world doesn’t really need another blog.  Not true!  I have things to say and I am convinced that there will be someone out there that may relate to the things I want to say.

So here goes.  About me.  Currently on crutches and have been since the end of November.  Surgery on my foot 5 weeks ago – 5 more to go and I’ll be walking again.  In this time of enforced reflection, with no real way to exercise, no driving and dependence I have been finding that one way to ease my restlessness is to write.  Last 2 weeks have been hell in my mind, and I vowed that I wouldn’t complain to anyone this weekend, and so far, so good.  I am fortunate that 1) my husband is available to shuttle me around and make me meals, 2) that this is temporary, despite how long it feels and I am not permanently injured and 3) I no longer make my living in the restaurant industry, so i can still work and make money.  I am sure there are other good things, but moving on…

I am in my early 40’s, currently an office manager for a company that buys and sells wine to an international clientele.  I have a B.A. in Anthropology and an Associates degree in Culinary Arts.  I have lived in the Adirondacks, Colorado, Northern and Southern California, Hawaii, and Connecticut.  I love music, books, food, wine, hanging with my family and entertaining.   I am looking to become more of a writer.  I am always in transition and hope to make use of the experiences I’ve had and help others.