If you feel inspired to Just BE Enlightened please read some articles from our awesome nutrition and wellness experts who embrace the merits we share around “cooking consciously”!
It’s 100% false. Just like I’m sure giving birth isn’t a breeze, getting waxed isn’t comfortable (who the hell came up with that one?) & not all workouts are fun even if you love exercise, you will not like all things about pursuing your passion all the time. Period.
I had this silly view that I was meant to love every minute of pursuing my passion & also that if I was doing “what I was meant to do” that it would be unicorns & peonies and everything would go smoothly. So, I don’t mean to burst your bubble but whoever came up with that was the same poop head (I mean I’m sure they were perfectly well-meaning) who invented pantyhose & convinced us it made our legs look better 😉
It’s just not true.
I LOVE sooooo many aspects of what we’re doing at Just BE Kitchen. The list is long. And as much as I want time away from the space, I also go nuts sitting at home trying to do computer work thinking of all the people I could connect with or what I need to do at the site. I love being there. And so many other things.
But, there’s stuff I procrastinate doing. There are things I simply don’t enjoy. There are actual things I hate. And, gulp, stuff I’m not good at. At all. And I’ll tell you flat out – it’s NOT easy. It’s hard doing what you love.
And really – when did we determine that HARD equaled BAD? It doesn’t. But we have to accept that it is going to be hard. I had this misconception that when you were living your purpose, the sky would open, the Universe would deliver & it would be breezy. I was told that when you’re living your dream, it’s effortless & you wake up every day ecstatic. It’s. Not. True.
Also, I felt that if I didn’t LOVE every aspect – then I was unsure if this is truly what I wanted to do. So, many times, I started to get into my head & bat around what else I would do. I had left a Corporate job, I had zero desire to look for another corporate job & so there were days, seriously, that I did my passion because I had no idea what else to do. But it was some silly story in my head that was telling me that maybe I wasn’t really authentic in this passion because I didn’t enjoy all of it, all of the time.
My big Ah-Ha on this was when I was really deflated about a year ago, frustrated where the business was, feeling like I was getting nowhere – I had lost another potential space & detested cooking out of my home. I went to bed & signed up for a course by Brene Brown online. I watched at least 4 of the modules & she says in one of them that she absolutely hates writing! YES – Brene Brown hates writing. She lives for the research but struggles with the prose. But she explained, it was just one part of her overall job & generally, she feels blessed & loves what she does.
It was the most liberating moment for me. I finally allowed myself permission to acknowledge that I can still be pursuing a passion and yet, there are parts that I don’t like. Or I’m not good at. Or I simply want to avoid. And now I realize that there are people on my team who truly excel at things I don’t. Who enjoy the things I don’t. And yes, I STILL have to do things I detest. And it’s ok.
Your passion isn’t perfect. It isn’t utopia. It’s hard. It doesn’t come dressed with a bow of all the best things you enjoy – or are good at doing. And that doesn’t mean it’s not your passion. It doesn’t mean you’re inauthentic, or not committed or haven’t figured out what you want to do. It’s just like any intimate relationship – there are things you love, and there are things you wish weren’t there, but you love them anyway. It has its beautiful sides & it’s ugly sides.
BE friends with your passion. Love it. Nurture it. Fight with it. But, know it’s not perfect. It’s wonderfully, BEautifully flawed…& despite that, you can adore it anyway.
I thought writing a blog post about my team would be cliché. Like “oh, of course I have to mention them.” But for a couple weeks now I’ve been wanting to somehow incorporate the team into an article without it being some wonky write-up about how great the team is.
A few weeks ago I received a text from one of the guys on the “Conscious Cooking” team (that’s Just BE Kitchen code for the ‘back of house’ or kitchen staff). He said: “I’ve been meaning to thank you for all the hard work you’re doing.”
I never told him this, but frankly – I broke down crying. It was such a small, but yet such a big, text. My heart lept for how sweet it was.
See, being “at the top” really IS freaking lonely. (I’d like to use another F word but I’ll be good). Other owners know this – there’s no one to cheer you on, no one to complain to, no one to cry to. Sure, I guess if you have a “significant other” that may serve a purpose but even then I imagine that unless they are in it like you, they don’t really know.
But, the reason I say a “Team is Not Just a Team” is because this is the first time in my life I’ve realized just how much responsibility it is to have…a team. When I was in the Corporate world I took care of my team, I fought for raises and bonuses, I put team dinners on the company card to say thank you and I gave Friday afternoons off. But…this realistically wasn’t on “my own dime.” And, if the CEO I fought with on their bonus said no…then ultimately it was their decision and I just delivered the news.
Now…well…now these are people I have 100% responsibility for – I will NEVER forget my first payday. The feeling of being able to give money to these souls who CHOOSE to wake up and work for me. To deliver my vision. To wipe counters I paid for. To serve food I designed. To mop a floor I painted. To wash dishes I bought. To speak to vendors I selected. To show up on time.
The money they receive pays for food in their own homes, gas to work more, presents for their family, toothpaste, etc. I STILL can’t get over the immense responsibility…and “aweness” <if that’s a word> of it all.
This is why it’s not JUST a team. I like these people. Sure, we’ve had a few sour eggs and they are no longer with us, but I put a lot of effort personally into job adverts, interviewing & I think about these people late at night with the most random thoughts. How can I let XX know they are doing an amazing job without telling them that again? How do I keep xx focused without micro-managing? What would it take/where do I need to get to offer them healthcare? X is having some health issues – how can I best support them during this challenging period? The list goes on. Constantly thinking.
Because, I know, I couldn’t do this without them. I see their faces each day and in my head & heart I say a prayer of gratitude that they are there. I wish I could often do more for them. Pay them more. Give them gifts. Buy them the new car they need. Pay for gas. Buy their groceries with a gift card.
It’s a huge motivator. Yes, it would be great if I were getting paid too (I don’t draw a salary now). But to be able to help them meet their dreams and goals? That’s worth getting out of bed. That’s what pushes me to work till the wee hours finding ways to get sales through the door. To streamline this or that.
I have to serve them…and no doubt that will serve me.
It’s now end of July and we’ve been open 3 months. I can’t believe it – in so many ways. There were DEFINITELY times when I never thought we would open. I mean, just last July, my business was in the back of my car, driving from Farmer’s Market to Farmer’s Market trying to sell cookies. Seriously. I pulled the table and tent in and out of the car like a champ & poor Savi and Oreo would sit in a lawn chair at each market like the princesses they are. They drew more freaking attention then my cookies did.
I’d be up until the middle of the night on a Friday evening, with my kitchen looking like hell, baking, packaging and sorting the “Just BE Naughty” line of treats. Then, waking up early on Saturday to hit the market. I’m not gonna lie – it was depressing at times. I thought I was a fake business owner. “We’re looking for a location” I would say over and over and over and I just felt like a failure.
Then we got the location. And a new Season commenced. How do we fix this? When will funding be finalized? Where do I find an electrician? What is a salamander again? And all the details…But people FLOODED in to help me – what can i do, how can i be a part of this they would ask. I’m forever grateful tor all those friends in my life who cared.
Then we opened. And people literally walked through the door on the first day. I remember sitting there wondering if we were going to feed a single soul. We did and we actually fed a few. The new Season arrived.
And now we are in another Season three months on – how can we grow sales? How do we get the word out about us? Why are our labor costs all over the place – how can we streamline, x, y and z process to make it more seamless. How do we retain talent and grow them.
The point is – I somehow have come to realize that whatever I’m feeling at a point in time…it doesn’t last. It’s just the Season I’m in. And right when I think I’ve “nailed” the Season…I move into another one. So while that brings chaos and uncertainty and TEARS & a lot of use of the F-word (remember my last post?)…this week I realized I felt at peace with knowing what’s happened at our 3 month mark is just another Season that I’m in.
Sometimes…like those 2 years we looked for a location…the season is long and cold and like Winter. Sometimes, it feels like Spring – short and a quick ‘bloom’ of a flower as we had our opening week…and now Summer as we feel the “heat” of trying to maintain sales, manage costs, deal with managing our volumes and processes and the “guts” of the operations.
I don’t know what the next Season will bring. But at least I know that either way – a good Season or a bad one…it’s never permanent. So I need to be “on my game” when the Season is good and try to do what we believe will set us up for shorter, “bad” Seasons – or as I like to say, attempt to reduce the suffering period.
But what I know is this…every Season has its purpose. It’s all meant to change, expand or help me heal a part of myself I haven’t yet healed. I’m not sure I always learn the lesson in each one…but I’ve gotten better at identifying that I’m “just in a new Season” and this is exactly how it’s meant to be, right now.
I’m not perfect, I forget this and I need reminding. Remind someone else you see going through a Season too.
The key when you’re crazy and tired and feel all hope is gone – is to try to be as conscious as possible that the Season is temporary. Grace comes. Love arrives. Joy exists.
And most importantly, know it won’t last. And that, my sweet readers, gives peace to the process.
You know that saying, “I’ll die of a broken heart” and you cry and cry for hours. And then you wake up the next day and essentially wish you were dead from all the pain and crying? Ya, that’s what I thought would happen after many men. (I was going to type each name & just got depressed doing so, erased and remembered this blog post wasn’t about them. Ha!).
Anyhow, the real point is – you won’t die of crying when you jump hard. And fast. And into the unknown. Believe me.
So, we opened Just BE Kitchen. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always joyful. It wasn’t always hard either. I went into a pure survival mode. I was not necessarily conscious of that being the “state” I was in but the reality is that I was. You’re pushing. Searching. Asking. Finding the depths inside of you, you didn’t know you had to get through things that you had no idea would be hard or even be obstacles that you encountered.
You realize, when you’re sobbing on your floor with the dogs licking your face & wondering why the hell have you done something so dumb as opening your own business…that crying is ok – because there’s just nothing else to do. Turning back is simply NOT an option. You’ve invested money. Time. Resources. You’ve signed a lease and hired staff. You’ve made promises to vendors. And you actually like all of these people involved & want to honor them. And you care about them. So turning back is not an option.
So you cry. And you cuddle the dogs and wake up the next day and it’s a new day.
You see windows close. But you see BIG doors open. You say the F word a LOT. And that word isn’t “fudge” just for clarity. Nor is it “food.” Ha.
You spend time training team members, only to have them leave after a week or do a no show and your heart feels like you’re the most worthless human being alive because you’re just not used to “no shows” in your former life.
I spent months working on a bank loan. One bank man told me he turned down Snooze and regretted it but was turning down me too. Another told me as a single woman I would be approved if I had a spouse sponsor me. (A great reminder of singlehood).
Another had me spend months applying, only to be told that with the new merger happening at the bank, the terms of the deal had dramatically changed. I was then seduced into another loan where “it would happen fast and easy.” NOTE: It wasn’t fast. Or easy. And then you finally find a great partner that supports you through it all and finances you.
Then all the plaster falls off a wall behind the barista station. Then your contractor & you don’t see eye to eye so you have to cease the relationship and you have no idea how it will get finished.
And your family – the people that are meant to be super excited for your dreams coming true…never say congrats, comment on any social media threads, pick up the phone with excitement, recognize what you’ve done or come to the restaurant when it opens.
And the list goes on. And on. And, one day I will share a big whammy that hit too just before opening and continued till recently, but that’s a blog post all in itself at some point.
So, the point is: IF you jump, you will cry. It’s ok. DON’T GIVE UP. Crying helped me weather the storm. And people around me helped me realize this is just part of the process. Jump. Cry. Joy. Repeat.
It releases all those unworthy feelings. It reminds you that you’re only human. It allows you to have compassion when you see someone else suffering. And if you really listen during the calm after the storm…you’ll be surprised at what you did.
I mean – I don’t know how we opened the restaurant given all the problems beforehand. I don’t know how we opened without the bank loan closing. We only got equipment hooked up/ready less than a week before opening. I don’t know how I got through issues with people, unfinished interior and a zillion other things that I genuinely can’t even remember now. Because now there’s a rainbow after all the tears…and, it’s a different season.
So, crying doesn’t kill you. In fact…it does the opposite. It shortens the suffering time. You cry. You release. You tell the negative talk “thank you for visiting but I don’t have a place for you today. You took me yesterday but today is mine.”
So, in essence, what makes you cry, wakes you up. It makes you see all the glorious parts. Like team members doing great things. Like customers smiling. Like thank you letters in the mail. Crying…makes you LIVE.
BE Well xxx
Well, guess what? I honored that space. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. I used the time to reflect, to get clear on how I wanted Just BE Kitchen to look & feel. I let go of all the things that I didn’t truly want to be part of the space but “they” (you know THEM) kept telling me I should do. “They”, “Them” and “Their” should’s are judgy little beasts.
Meaning, things like not having industrial furniture. “They” told me it was important for high traffic. “They” also told me I had to have a specific menu of plates, soups, sandwiches, etc. I struggled with this because I didn’t want our menu to scream “health food” or “lack and sacrifice.” And I wanted traditional cheat meals done healthy. “They” told me we had to have standardized uniforms and should only hire people from industry. Instead we have hired experienced & mean non-experienced people with stories of amazing transformations.
Now, “they” are obviously successful. But the difference is that it just wasn’t MY vision. Maybe my vision won’t work. Maybe it will. But at least it’s mine and not “theirs.”
So, I also wrote the manifesto. I know, I keep talking about it. Well, guess what? It’s on our website now. www.justbekitchen.com – It’s under our purpose. Read it. Tell me what you think. I mean, it’s ours, I don’t expect it to be like you. You have yours. Not theirs.
And then guess what? We found a location. A kick butt one. And we have opened. And life has been crazy, hectic, tearful, joyful, scary, uncertain, constrained, limited, fulfilling, stretching & literally everything in between since. But it’s been my journey. NOT “theirs.”
The reality is that I wasn’t sure if going “my way” was going to work. I still don’t. But at least it feels better, even if uncertain. I do believe that it was only once I got clear on what I wanted and put my own voice to “the plan” that is when the space revealed itself and we got selected to sign the lease.
Even when I stopped doing Instagram posts that didn’t feel like me but instead were what I “should do”, I felt excited to post. It was a subtle shift, but one that felt more inspiring.
But you what? I’m so freaking scared about doing it “my” way. Why? Yes, of course, afraid of failing. But the bigger issue is afraid of REJECTION. I mean, what if everyone rejects what is ME instead of THEIRS. That’s the shitkicker in the decision. At least if THEY are rejected, then I secretly know that it wasn’t mine to begin with. Ugh.
I’m still not at a place where I can walk into Just BE Kitchen and feel relaxed. I mean, I can feel amazed some days – like I can’t believe it’s really happening. But I’m still too much in it. I’m still on pins & needles and can barely keep up with email, bills and the rest of it. I know I’m not the only one and that’s comforting. I know other business owners go through the same thing.
I WILL talk about the joy of opening soon – Because there is real joy. Especially when I think of the team and the customers. But I wanted to share this first.
BE Well xxx