“EVERY FAILURE OR EVERY ATTEMPT AT ANYTHING IS A STEP CLOSER TO YOUR TRUE ESSENCE” -Artist, Julie Piatt
I come from decades of working in a visual medium. So, while I enjoy blogging and how it has helped me become fluent digitally, I don’t just want to write, I want to SHOW and tell. I think that’s part of my ‘ESSENCE’. Another BIG part of my true essence is that I’ve always loved WATCHING people cook. So, why not add a video component to my blog to make the recipes I share come to life? Plus, today the reality is that people are WATCHING more than they are READING. (If you are still reading this, THANK YOU).
“THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF”
– Franklin D Roosevelt
To mark one year of blogging, I’m doing a series every Monday on reinventing yourself (check out part 1, part 2, part 3, & part 4 and part 6). I’m sharing some thoughts and insights from people who have motivated ME this past year, along with a handful of my own lessons learned from my adventure so far. One of my biggest lessons to date has to do with FEAR. Fear of failure and fear of judgement. First, a little background – here goes…
A Die Hard Cooking Show Junkie…
Before Food Network came to Canada, the cooking voyeur in me got my ‘fix’ watching Julia Child, operatic chef Pasquale Carpino and Graham Kerr as he knocked back umpteen glasses of red wine and galloped around his TV studio kitchen. I was also a DIE HARD PBS cooking show fiend. I kid you not, my guilty pleasure was spending a Saturday afternoon eating up shows with Lidia Bastianich, Ming Tsai and Jacques Peppin among others! (High fives to anyone out there who is a cooking show junkie like me and knows these oldies but goodies!)
My Food Network Roots
Over the years, I wasn’t JUST a spectator. I had a history with the Food Network even before it officially came to Canada. I was hired to do a cross-Canada talent search to find the first star of the network. It was a high point early in my career. I was tapping into my true essence because I was able to combine a personal passion with my livelihood. I went on to work as a Production Executive in charge of a few shows in the Network’s early years. It was my job to be discerning and give approval to programs before they were allowed to go to air. As my career moved along, I was fortunate to have worked with some of the BEST producers, directors, camera operators and editors in the business. Aside from doing my part to provide big picture guidance (and sometimes help schlep gear and cable), I never actually operated a camera, lights or edit suite. That was someone else’s job.
Failure is a rung on the ladder to success. So take a chance!
So, WHY am I’m telling you all this as I start a video component to this blog? It’s to help put in context, how completely OUT of my comfort zone I was; how vulnerable and how afraid I have been about exposing myself to the world (especially to my former TV network colleagues) who might judge me or use me as a source of ridicule. I KNOW what a well-produced TV show looks like. I have high standards. Trouble is, my budget was (and still is) zero, and my experience in lighting, shooting and editing is non-existant. So, the reality is that my homemade videos for “Walnut Kitchen” are a FAR cry from the polished shows I worked on over the years. (you can check out the videos I’ve done so far on Michelles Walnut Kitchen YouTube channel)
Take a Risk -Push Yourself OUT of Your Comfort Zone
I decided to take that chance and risk humiliation because the only person I really needed to please was myself. Right? And, you have to start somewhere. I LOVE WATCHING food transform. So, I want to learn and grow and get better at sharing that. Hopefully, documenting MY transformation MAKING those videos will prove that it’s never too late to try to master new things. That’s obviously pretty IMPORTANT if you are going to re-invent yourself! Fingers crossed!
Figure Out a Way to Be Accountable
My hope is that this public exhibition of my journey, might be helpful (…at the very least, it could be good for a laugh). Maybe publically declaring my intentions will help keep me accountable to myself. Perhaps tracking the baby steps, and the ups and downs along the way could help FUEL me to keep at it and ENCOURAGE ME by witnessing some progress. Who knows, maybe I could even inspire others who, like me, are ALSO trying to reinvent themselves.
Be Vulnerable… Be Authentic… Let Go Of Perfection
Whether I succeed or fail, it’s my belief that the only reason why anyone would want to spend their time reading anything…including this blog, boils down to one thing: AUTHENTICITY. We can all spot BS when we see/hear it, so I’m trying to keep this REAL. Despite being ‘Type A’, I’m dismissing my perfectionist tendencies, sharing my imperfections and the bumps on the road. This is me, warts and all!
Until next week, I want to leave you with one final thought from my beautiful inspiring friend and author Ellen Schwartz (you can read more about her latest book here)
“Vulnerability is often given a bad rap. It’s known as a sign of weakness when really, it’s anything but. Losing the mask, and revealing yourself to the world does expose you – in the best possible way. When you allow others to see the real person you are inside, there’s no doubt about it: That’s you demonstrating great strength.”