Humans are (still) social creatures wired to connect. It’s true.
And since in addition to loving food, we love people and serving others, we will always keep the conversation going about how to have a better conversation: one that leaves you and the other person feeling inspired, engaged, and basically — really good.
Watch this short TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation
(It’s not just about eye contact…as she says: there’s no reason to show you are paying attention…if, in fact…you are paying attention!)
1. Don’t multi-task (physically or mentally). Be present.
2. Don’t pontificate: if you want to state opinions without discussion, write a blog! Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn.
3. Use open-ended questions: what was that like, how did that feel, what do you think.
4. Go with the flow – meaning, let thoughts come as you are listening but let them go. Don’t check out of listening because you’re cueing up that random thought or story you want to share.
5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. All experiences are individual.
7. Try not to repeat yourself, it’s condescending and boring.
8. Stay out of the weeds. That detail you are trying to remember (exact year or place) really isn’t that important to others.
9. Listen. This is the most important skill humans can develop. No man ever listened himself out of a job (quoting Calvin Coolidge).
10. Be brief.
Do all of these and be prepared to be amazed.
For a company that is wild about wildly important goals…say what?!?
You need a goal (or two, but not more than 3!) and it needs to be measurable. The process of identifying and agreeing upon a goal (what can be even better, cleaner, tastier, safer) brings focus…to everyone. And, by the way…”focus” is the single word to which both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates attribute their success — not determination, not smarts, not courage, not creativity — but focus.
BUT, to achieve your goal? Spend your time focusing on your “systems”.
“If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day…When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time. None of this is to say that goals are useless…goals are good for planning your progress, while systems are good for actually making progress.”
So, you have a goal…pulse-check…what are your systems for achieving it and maintaining the desired result? Focus, focus and refocus on that.
Before Valentines, take time to read “True love starts in the kitchen“… with Chef Anne from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, highlighted in Richmond Times-Dispatch! Sink your teeth into these Valentines Day foods with a makeover.
Yields (about) 48 cookies
1c butter, softened
1c granulated sugar
1c packed dark brown sugar
1t baking powder
½t baking soda
1½c all-purpose flour
3c rolled oats
11oz package caramel baking
1c pecans, coarsely chopped
coarse sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. In mixer, beat butter on medium for 30 seconds
3. Add both sugars, 1t salt, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda; beat until combined
4. Beat in eggs & vanilla; then flour
5. Stir in oats, caramel bits, & pecans
6. Using small scoop, drop 1½” mounds of dough, 2″ apart on parchment lined cookie sheet
7. Sprinkle “sparingly” with sea salt
8. Bake for 11-12 mins, until edges light brown
Yields (about) 12 muffins
2ea large eggs
6t vegetable oil
¾c canned pumpkin, mashed
1c+6T all purpose flour
1t baking soda
1t ground cinnamon
⅓t ground nutmeg
⅓t ground cloves
1 pinch ground allspice
1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Combine eggs, sugar, oil, & pumpkin; mix well
3. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda & spices
4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture
5. Pour into well sprayed muffin tins
6. Bake for 15-20 mins
note: can add white or dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or pecans
1 small onion, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
1 med carrot, small dice
1t chopped garlic
1T finely chopped or grated ginger
2c vegetable stock
½c dry white wine
2 granny smith apples, peeled, seeded, ½” dice
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled, ½” dice
1 cinnamon stick
1 fresh bay leaf
½c unsweetened coconut milk
1. Sauté onions, celery & carrots over med heat 6-8 mins
2. Add garlic & ginger, cook 1 minute
3. Add stock, wine, apples, sweet potatoes, cinnamon & bay leaf
4. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 10-12 mins, until potatoes are soft
5. Remove cinnamon stick & bay leaf
6. Pureé until smooth; season with sea salt & pepper, Add coconut milk or extra stock to desired consistency
As we go from zero (or slow-ish) to full speed ahead, everywhere (yay, back to school!), your time is at a premium and time management is critical. So, before you lose your cool (and who wants to spend time looking for that), here are some tips:
1. Preventative maintenance.
Fuel up with the right stuff. Eat a real breakfast…one with nutritional value. You’re in the food business, you KNOW what that looks like. Just do it.
2. Take 5.
Commit to taking mental breaks. Step outside, take three deep breaths, look at the horizon – the sky – anything growing from the earth, close your eyes, stretch, re-center. And then get back in there…they need your energy and your leadership!
3. Know your hot buttons and manage them.
What really sets you off? Guess what…it might happen today! What are you going to do when it does? Remember, you are in control of how you react. Spare yourself (and those around you) the stress and breathe through the things that push your buttons.
15ea hard cooked eggs, peeled
6T good quality mayo
½t sea salt
¼t black pepper
1. Chop egg (cheese grater, coarse slide, works great!)
2. Combine with remaining ingredients. Mix well. Keep chilled
3. Garnish with fresh parsely
⅓c cocoa powder
⅔c heavy cream
6oz 60% semi-sweet belgian chocolate chips
32oz plain greek yogurt
1. In saucepan, mix cream & cocoa; heat to a simmer
2. In a heatproof bowl, pour hot cream over chocolate chips, whisk until melted & smooth; cool 10 mins
3. Stir in yogurt in very small amts, blend well
4. Garnish with fresh mint
1lb fresh salmon
½c ea white wine & water
few slices of onion & sprigs of parsley
1c white wine vinegar
1T fresh lemon juice
½t lemon zest, grated
½t sea salt
½t white pepper
4c mixed greens
1c cucumbers, seeded, half moon slices
½c tomatoes, diced
To Poach Salmon
1. Lightly salt salmon fillets
2. Combine water, wine, onion & parsley in shallow pan. Bring to simmer over medium high heat
3. Slide salmon pieces into poaching liquid and dot with butter
4. Bring to slow boil, reduce heat to medium, poach 10 to 15 mins
5. Chill & flake into large pieces
1. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, zest, s&p; whisk in mayo & dill
2. Lay greens, cucumber, tomatoes & salmon; drizzle with dressing