When I was seven years old I wanted to be a ninja. I made my own throwing stars, and used to have imaginary battles with bad guys for hours. There was certainly a fascination with smoke bombs and expert knife work. I was also pretty sure I’d make an awesome magician. I got a beginning magician’s tool kit, complete with magic wand and several handkerchiefs. This is totally awesome, and not entirely for the reasons you might be thinking, gentle reader.
I’m so happy to share those tidbits. Remembering them, I enjoy how easily they made me ecstatic. I was a little chubby white kid on a small town Nebraska farm who wanted to be a magic ninja. And that’s amazing. Until meeting Jeffery Kohler, I had forgotten this part of my story, my history, and spirit. Jeffery coaches people to find tailor-made careers. He’s also a bright and sweet guy.
To be clear, I have a career that I find satisfying. I think I am firmly rooted in an industry that is evolving, and engaging. I never have a case of the Monday’s. Every day, those of us in the restaurant and food service professions are challenged to be responsive and present. After discussing my ideas about helping people find their voice in the kitchen, my body work guru, Rich, suggested that I meet up with Jeffery. And on “underemployment”, as I have come to call it, let’s just agree that I had some free space on my calender.
One of my first challenges from Jeffery was to dive into The Pathfinder to see if the approach would resonate with me. No problem. The author and mentor in this book is Nicholas Lore, founder of the Rockport Institute. In the first project of self-discovery, the reader is directed to dig up memories from childhood fantasies of life in a ‘grown-up’ world. Enter my magic ninja self.
As I rooted around, other possibilities resurfaced; cartoon voice work, conductor, singing on television, music teacher, pastor, and composer. And current dreams; food coaching, owning a little bakery / café, having a small farmhouse / garden / livestock that I (we? ) turn into a restaurant (like this one) and organization for teaching and preserving food ways that are endangered or fascinating.
For me, there are two really great results from this exercise. First, it was fun. I laughed out loud when I remembered making those throwing stars from crap that I found out in our garage. Second, I explored the common emotions that my dream careers engendered. (That’s the money shot, kids.) In every one, I felt there was an expressivity, an ability to lead, license to play and be playful, mastery of complex skills, and celebration of innate talents or ability. These are the five pieces that contribute to a better, more genuine expression of me in my work. Now that I recognize them, I’m committed to satisfying that requirement, whatever it takes. That is the first step in leading an extraordinary life.
I hope you might join me on this journey of self discovery. I’m sure I’ll dig up more odd bits of personal history for us to enjoy. Here’s to our dreams, and our fantastic futures. May we find all the meaning we seek. See you soon –