My career as a pastry chef has given me the opportunity to examine my purpose.
In 1994, when I walked through the door that opened up to the small pastry room, I felt like I had come home.
My purpose was instinctively clear: Learn. Create. Bake. Rejoice. Repeat.
25 years later, I am deeply committed to understanding my purpose. This morning, my thoughts drifted back to what led me into the pastry kitchen almost half of my lifetime ago. I am amazed to find common themes.
Learn: The learning happens daily, truly minute by minute. I’m just as much of a self-taught business owner/CEO as I am a self-taught Pastry Chef. I learn by doing. While it’s so much more fun for me to bake than to crunch numbers, I am learning how to navigate my way through the language of finances. I used to feel ashamed that I wasn’t more business savvy, and I kept this part of me hidden. It wasn’t until I started asking others for help that I really began to learn what ingredients are required to set my business up for success. Digging into spreadsheets, learning how to forecast, playing around with different scenarios and watching the ripple effect five columns to the right caused by tweaking just one number four inches to the left…interesting how much this feels so similar to testing new recipes. The unexpected bonus? Spreadsheets don’t generate dishes that need to be washed and sanitized. Hmmmmm. Me likey.
Create: My vision of creativity has expanded exponentially compared to what I understood 25 years ago. I used to think that creativity was contained to what I could bake. When I take a couple of steps back, I see creativity in a broader light. I have a created a business and a culture of caring. I have created jobs. I have created an environment that is solution-focused. I have created second chances and a safe place for people to learn and grow. I create systems to help Bisousweet continue to grow, and then I try again when the ‘system’ fails. Today, I am working on creating a story of growth told not in words, but in waterfall charts and numbers.
Bake: My happiest moments at the bakery are when I tie on my apron and bake. I love every single part of it, from the never-ending kitchen banter, to the feel of ingredients in my hands, to washing the dishes and scrubbing the sink. Baking is my meditation. During really stressful weeks, I decompress at home by pulling out my daughter’s red Kitchenaid and escaping in the land of butter, sugar and flour.
Rejoice: My favorite place to exist. I find my way here through a daily gratitude practice and taking moments to reflect. When I falter, I am grateful for my incredible support system of family and friends who jump in and help nudge me back on track. It’s easy for me to get lost in my thoughts and rejoice alone, a flicker of a smile passing over my face as I scoop cookies or unwrap pounds of butter. I’m learning how to open up and celebrate with others. It’s less natural for me, but these moments feel exponentially more powerful and meaningful to me when I share them with others.
Repeat: Yep. Nailed that one. 25 years and counting.
I am sharing these thoughts with you because we all have the potential to do incredible things. I hope everyone reading this takes a moment to reflect, to find gratitude, and to get excited about the possibilities and opportunities available to each of us. My advice? Stop thinking. Dive in and follow your heart. We are all creative. What do you want to create? Dream big, friends.