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14 Aug Posted by in Blog Posts | Comments Off on LESSONS LEARNED FROM A MOVIE by Suzy Drapkin

Lessons Learned from a Movie by Suzy Drapkin

One of the best movies that I have seen this year is “Chef.”  It’s a delightful film centering on relationships: family, friends, and colleagues.  It’s funny, heartwarming, and you will walk away feeling good with your stomach growling. Warning: do not attempt to see this movie hungry!

More than that, it’s also about work and the art of innovation, transition, and creating new ventures.   It’s about sticking to your dreams even when you have an uphill battle and need to fight your way out of the doldrums. It’s about moving forward, taking risks, and arriving in a different and better place.

In the movie, the very talented Chef played by Jon Favreau, is faced with a crisis that involves his job, reputation, career, pride, professional and non-professional relationships.  He is dealing with a circumstance that many of us have known. Perhaps that is why this movie resonates and his transformation is so uplifting..

How do we hold onto our dreams when faced with a crisis?

Have a pity-party, and then get out of your funk! – This is often easier said than done, but you can’t move forward if you are constantly relieving the “what ifs?” Get the angst out!  Talk to someone, run a marathon, journal for stress relief, meditate, hit a punching bag (non-human), just get it out of your system.

What to do now? – The chef needed to define what his problem was and re-assess what was really important.  In his case he wanted the control and autonomy to create his own signature recipes.  While many transitions often have their silver linings sometimes the most difficult thing to deal with is being in limbo: the uncertainty of what to do while waiting for that aha moment.  However, once you have come to a decision you can now move forward.

Don’t just sit there, move. In figuring out what the Chef wanted to do his next course was to develop an action plan. Taking control means doing something. It doesn’t have to be initially big.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or afraid baby steps are great for easing into a new situation. However, once you are caught up in the throes of moving toward your goals it can be exhilarating!

Surround yourself with believersSpoiler alert! In Chef, Favreau is supported by his ex-wife, his dedicated line cook, and his son who encourage him to get back to his roots, cooking the basics which is how he started his career. Hang out with those who are enthusiastic and sympathetic of your ideas.  These same individuals may act as a sounding board, play ‘devil’s advocate’ by taking a position opposite from you to ensure that you consider all the realities of your plan, or offer well-thought out suggestions.  Stay away from the naysayers!  They will only bring you down.

Know your resources – The Chef needed to do an inventory of what he needed to get his venture off the ground.  Spoiler alert!  He needed a food truck, lots of kitchen supplies and tools, food provisions, menu ideas, line chefs’ roles, start-up funding, etc.  It is important to understand what it is you will need to be successful and figure out how to get it.  Who are the individuals who can help you obtain what you need or assist you in the beginning? How much money do you need to get started?  What kind of training or education do you need?

Instagram/FB can make or break you! – In today’s job market, it is essential to have an online presence and to demonstrate your authenticity.  In Chef, both the perils and the rewards of social media were emphasized.  Spoiler alert!  His melt down when confronting a restaurant critic was captured online. Adversely this led to his demise as a reputable chef in a respected eatery. Yet, the online chronicles of his new venture as he traveled across the country allowed him to recreate his brand and establish himself as a true master chef in a niche market.  It also allowed his followers opportunities to try out his delectable creations. Use the internet apps wisely. Use them to promote yourself and let others view you as being consistent in how you present yourself, thus demonstrating your value. Your name will become your brand.

As a post-script, Jon Favareau, wanted to get back into writing what he really enjoyed: an Indie movie which would allow him to write, direct, and star.  He felt it was the “right time” to tackle telling “a story with food.”  Mr. Favareu, who had great resources in making this movie from learning how to cook from a consultant chef to pulling in some heavy guns in the actors that he signed for this project. In the end, his dream is realized with this charming story of one guy who pulled himself back up after being knocked down.  Isn’t this an ending we all want for ourselves?