Monday, March 16, 2015

Baby steps and giant leaps

It is 4 years ago in April I was taken on as an apprentice. My journey is far from over but I am over the "halfway" point of my contract (7 years)  and decided to take a look back and figure out where I am. So, where exactly am I ? Who am I now? How did I get here? 

Who am I? 
     The simple answer is, me. The complex answer is... you guessed it, a bit more complex. Who I see in the mirror is not who everyone else sees, what I have needed to re learn or remember is, those other people don't matter. They don't make me who I am, I do. So, again, who am I? I am Magdelena Grace Vane or much more to my liking,  Maggie. I am a  Court Baroness, and Ex landed Baroness, apprentice, cook ,consort, friend, drinking buddy, teacher, Gottfried's wife, Alex's mom, B's mom, mom, confidant, student, the "other" mother, acting "auntie", sister from another mister, niece, cousin, family, cat herder, cooker of the food, and much more that I can't think of or haven't discovered yet and I am who I need and want to be. Nobody can make be anything I don't want to be, they can only help me discover more of who I am and who I am not.

Where am I?
     Happy, confident and at peace. I have a loving family, some great friends and a good crowd of people I know. The haters, the naysayers, the ones who can't be happy in themselves so they need to destroy others, I don't need them, certainly don't want them and don't have time or room for them. Leave them behind, let them go.  Not easy but when it is done it brings peace.

     I am currently in the middle of planning a HUGE endeavor, at least for me. A few years I was given an opportunity and was unable to "make good" on it. I at first felt like I had failed and wouldn't be deserving of another opportunity like it, I had already proven ( in my mind)  I couldn't handle it and was a failure. I was wrong, I didn't fail. I survived, I learned and I was given, not  a second chance but another opportunity to do something big and I am loving the process and the result this time around.

How did I get here?
      Four years ago I had a few good ( and recent) cooking experiences behind me (even if a few were crazy) as well as my feast from hell and a desire to move forward and do something else, something new. I had "broken up" my previous peer relationship, short story is: I was taken as a protege' things didn't work out for various reasons, relationship ended, and was in an odd space. I had within the previous 6 months written a public note about peer relationships. Just a collection of my own thoughts. The piece got a lot of good feedback and sparked discussions between myself and a couple of peers. As you might be able to guess one of those peers and I took the step forward and entered a contract. Since then it has been baby steps, or maybe they have been big leaps. None of this answers the question though, but provides a base for them, but hard work, self reflection and the ability to learn do, otherwise you don't move forward. From the first step you take to all the other "milestones" in life these three things seem to be the keys. 

     I want to address what I find the hardest of those 3 keys to be, honest self reflection. Taking the time and developing the ability to look at both your failures and your successes and learning from them is important and here is the shocker... it's hard work! You are likely both your own worst critic as well as your biggest supporter. The trick is finding balance an stepping back and looking at things objectively and not subjectively.
     When something goes wrong it is easy to sit and blame "outside" problems or oneself, what is needed though is  to take a hard look at the situation and not just at the negatives and what went wrongs but the positives and the what went rights as well. I have been working at it for the last four years and now find it is a regular part of any project I do. My peer created a document for us to work with, we call it the "Post Mortem". I offer a blank copy  to anyone that wants it along with the offer to work the process with them as well. So far, I have sent the blank out once and have heard nothing back. Anyway, this process, this post mortem dissection of the "event" / project and because it has become a normal way of  processing things for me I have been able to take my giant leaps. 

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