About a month ago I was rambling on to my business coach about how I was “second guessing” myself in how to structure a project we were discussing and she suddenly asked me “do you always follow a recipe when you’re cooking?” Knowing that I have written a cookbook, and that I love to cook, she fully expected the answer to be no. But it wasn’t. I explained that in fact I usually do check the recipe before I begin cooking a dish, even the ones I know well. Truth is, I get a bit fixated on “doing it perfectly.” She gently laughed and said “well I want to challenge you to cook without using a recipe for one whole week.”
That week has turned into a month, and with the exception of a few specific recipes my family asked me to make that I don’t know off the top of my head, I have been cooking without following a recipe. Here is what I’ve noticed… I have been stopping and thinking before I begin – what do I want to create, and what do I know about the ingredients that I’m working with that I want to apply here? What flavors will go well together, and how can I be creative about this, and produce a good tasting result? I have been paying more attention to smell and taste. Tasting and adjusting, and again, tapping into that place in me that knows how to adjust flavors of foods to produce a particular result.
The results? I’m having more fun in the kitchen! While I have certainly made some mistakes, I’m also trusting myself more, and enjoying the creativity. It feels as though I have pulled forth information that has been stored in the back of my brain, and it is getting stronger and clearer with each day of cooking “recipe free”. The other benefit is that I’ve started to apply this whole idea to my work as well. Trusting my writing more, being willing to risk and try new things (I taught a “Leadership and Cooking” a few weeks ago as an experiment to incorporate my love of cooking and love of coaching).
Where are you second guessing yourself in your life or work, and not tapping into that place in yourself that know how to do a particular thing, or produce a particular result? Are there places where if you really thought about it, could be trusting yourself more? Try this out – the next time to go to ask someone for help on something, instead of asking for input first, start with offering up what you think is the right course of action to take, and then ask if you are on track. Is there some area in your life where you think you need to be perfect? Why not try going with what you know, and not waiting until it’s perfect next time? Do you have employees who ask all the time how to do things, or how to fix a problem? Start asking them what they think is the right course of action to take before you offer input or advice. Help them begin to develop a trust in “what they already know.”. Doing so will help them become better problem solvers, and trust more of what they know, and help them to become stronger leaders and take more ownership. Hint – they will also get more satisfaction from their work.
This whole idea of trusting what we know is a way to gain more confidence and clarity – both elements of creating more consistent results, AND, for having more fun and satisfaction in life.
Wishing you much success.