My fondest memories of professional kitchens, both as a restaurant owner and Pastry Chef, were the times spent in them while they were closed.
I loved walking into a kitchen at rest, humbled by remnants of a passionate lucidity, whispered expectations and desires illuminated by the warm, flickering glow of pilot lights on the stove.
To me, those small flames were symbols of hope, each representing the constant promise and untapped potential of tomorrow. I would be at my most creative and optimistic in those early moments, eluding self-doubt through clarity of expression and design.
While my day began in poetic reverence, the kitchen also teaches us that having hope, an inherent trust in your abilities and potential, is only the beginning. Action, learning, growing, and continuous improvement are what line the path to achieving your ultimate goals and ambitions.
Hope exists to keep the fire burning. What happens next is up to you.
Hope has been widely interpreted over time.
Greek mythology identified hope as the unreleased spirit of healing found at the bottom of Pandora’s Box. It is the slobber dripping from the mouth of Fenris Wolf in Norse mythology, courage in the form of a cheerful bravery preferred in the absence of hope.
In Tall Tim Talks, hope represents what matters most to you.
It remains a deep, centric belief in an expectation or desire, a silent passion that continues to burn while your dreams and ambitions appear at rest.
Embracing the presence of hope inspires self-confidence, a critical next step in the process that embodies a belief in yourself. This practical connection has been present in every major life decision you’ve made . . . and those that will follow.
Reaching a point where you can recognize who you are, and the reasoning for why you do what you do is incredibly empowering. Trust in this simplified perspective enables you to perceive adversity as opportunity, influencing behavior, and effecting positive change in the environment around you.
Barriers are reduced to mere hurdles, requiring attention but never becoming permanent obstacles in your pursuit of happiness.
Maintaining this perspective can present its share of challenges . . . remember that with great change comes great risk, as well as great reward.
The following are four keys to restoring hope that have helped me throughout the twists and turns of what some would refer to as a colorful career:
Key – Surrender to Solitude
Closing our restaurant felt like I had opened a personal Pandora’s Box, shards of my shattered dream scattered in the form of despair, anger, frustration, disappointment, denial, etc.
What remained was hope, along with a slightly dented, but salvageable level of self-confidence.
Re-connecting with those positive aspects of my psyche required surrendering to solitude. My opportunity came in the form of our relocation to Atlanta . . . there’s a lot of highway to cover between Arizona and Georgia.
That solitude kindled humility and grace, two qualities that helped remove pride and self-depreciation, bringing balance to an assessment of how best to move forward. More importantly, it kept me connected to my dreams.
This allowed the overall experience to be filtered into what mattered most, providing invaluable insight that led to my next chapter as a Pastry Chef.
If you’re faced with a difficult challenge or transformative change, be patient and resist the urge to react to your initial wave of emotions. Carve out time to be with yourself, whether it’s through a few days of downtime, a trip to somewhere special, reading a book, etc.
Sounds difficult but is a critically necessary step to preserving hope.
Key – Skip Reflection, Go Directly to Introspection
Within your solitude, dedicate time for introspection, a completely transparent evaluation of what you want to do, and why. Then build your future around this core.
This differs from reflection, which implies a mirror image, and may overlook key learnings for the sake of recreating a current, more comfortable state.
Introspection, on the other hand, connects you to the intended value of an experience through a pragmatic review of your thoughts and feelings.
Change necessitates growth. Invest the time to ensure that movement is in the proper direction.
Key – Stay Positive, Guard Your Habits
Working in solitude and committing to introspection requires effort. The pace may seem uncomfortable at first, leaving your emotional state prone to bouts of negativity. Impulse replaces hope, moving you further away from your intended goals and ambitions.
Just remember that nothing good in life ever comes from a negative thought.
Focus on at least one aspect of growth, progress, or potential as part of your daily routine.
A repetitive approach will improve cognitive memory and create habits, taking positivity beyond awareness and driving it into the subconscious where we need it to be.
Resist what the late Stephen Covey might have classified as “Q4” activities, such as devoting extra time to social media applications. While productive for job searches, networking, and professional research, these activities can distract you from your overall purpose and commitment.
I battled this when transitioning from a structured corporate environment into a self-paced, sole proprietary existence.
Devoting time each day to reviewing reactions, responding to other posts, following trails linked from other content . . . you know where this is going . . . could negatively impact my mood and result in a loss of focus and productivity.
Suddenly, outside was influencing inside, my perspective being shaped by people I would never know or even meet.
The only solution was to establish parameters and remain committed to my true course and passion.
The world is filled with varied opinions and viewpoints. Overexposure to the masses can prey on an idle mind. Stay focused, positive, and hopeful.
Key – Keep Your Sanity, Embrace Change
This is a mantra I repeat to myself throughout the rollercoaster process defined as “the act of making or becoming different.”
And yes . . .I’ll keep saying this until it does become a bumper sticker, hopefully one day replacing, “If you can read this, you’re too close” or “My other car is a broomstick.”
In short, change is nothing short of essential to survival.
Resistance will prove futile. You can’t go back in time you can only move forward.
Take a deep breath, thank the past for lessons learned, embrace hope, and start becoming something different.
You’re Not Alone
Keys to restoring hope, embracing change, and achieving a semblance of normalcy exist in the solitude of personal thought. However, you’re not alone in the journey.
While solitude may kindle humility and grace, seeking connections within your circle or community can help foster a brighter outlook. Realize that others may share your perspective, work together to embrace adversity as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Surround yourself with positivity, don’t allow a negative outlook or detrimental thoughts to invade your habits.
Whatever it takes, keep the fire burning. You can’t control yesterday, but tomorrow is in your hands.
This is Tall Tim, and I am At Your Service.