We finally hit the one year mark on the 15th of May. Well, officially it was more like the 22nd of May because we opened our doors on the 15th of May 2018 not knowing what the hell we were doing, wholly unsure what to expect, and truly scared half to death of the "how to" and the "what to" of it all. When we opened on the 15th we had so much food and no one to eat it...we each had to take a lot of food home so as not to waste it. Its also how we came up with "tofu fries" because we had so much tofu we didn't know what to do with it!
Funny how a year can make all the difference.
Six months ago, I was curled up in a ball, crying my bleeding heart out, truly scared at the crazy task I had taken on. I think at the six month mark I realized, oh man, all this is on me. These guys, the team, they are depending on me for leadership, for everything from as simple as "we need more take away boxes" to "thank you for my paycheck".
I felt like...well, I felt like I was drinking water from a fire hydrant!
I felt like one of those crazy Japanese people who ride a giant tree trunk down a muddy hill for that Shinto festival (you gotto look that up!) in nothing but a kimono! I mean, there are bodies flying everywhere and the last man still on the darn thing is somehow blessed!
I truly felt like, "Oh man, this won't end, will it! I am IN it now, I have to see it through to the end!"
I was so full of ideals and optimism when I started, I just didn't realize the toll it would take on my body, my sanity, my family.
It was at about this point, exhausted, crying, having panic attacks, that I reached out to others who knew better.
The best advise I got was this:
"You need to take time to care for yourself, because in this profession, all you do is give, you give to your team, you give to strangers, you give to loyal customers who become friends, and if you don't take time to replenish your reserves of energy, your well will run dry, you will break down."
And then came the advise from my Doc, "Stop with the Jiu Jitsu, your body is in Fight or Flight mode as it is, take up yoga, meditate, slow down, work less..."
Blah, blah, blah...well, I stopped Jiu Jitsu, to lower my "fight or flight" response and my cortisol levels, I started meditating, I downloaded two super expensive apps, CALM and WAKING UP...you know, to help me get mindful! I moved house, well, WE moved house, so I could be so close to work I could practically smell the food...and initially that seemed like a good but bad idea, because I ended up going into work even earlier and leaving even later, but at some point I had to force myself to slow down, to take time for myself...more on that later, I guess. I even signed up for a yoga membership...I have gone six times since December...Its June now...so yeah, its just across the street, too! What can I say, it gets busy.
Now, that one, I simply haven't been able to figure out. I reckon I find a way to take a break more, but the hours are still just as long. What has happened in the last six months though, since my borderline nervous breakdown, is that I have learned to look within, I have made time for my family, even if its only on weekends or mid afternoon. I bought a fitbit to track how active I am during the day, and let me tell you, I did 22,000 steps yesterday and 36 flights of stairs...its no wonder I can't gain any weight despite sometimes eating utter rubbish.
Yes, I also take care of what I eat a lot better than I did 6 months ago. I was eating Dal and rice daily for almost 6 months, not taking time to eat much else unless it was chocolate. You know how it can be, you spend all your time cooking for people, you smell food all the time, that whole process of hunger and emotional experience that comes from food, it kinda gets eroded. You love to see food, you love to plate food, you love to cook food, you love to serve food, you love to watch people eat food, oh, that last bit, I love it! Lol. But...somehow, when its time for you to eat, its 4pm...and your fellow chef says, "So? what shall we eat?" and all you can think is..."I dunno, man! I don't know!"
Surrounded by food and you simply aren't clued in what you want to eat. You are physically hungry, but just...blank.
Anyway, what I am saying is, in my trying to work on eating right, I have also pushed the team to consider what they eat...we were all in the same boat afterall. So we do alright, I think. We are a solid little band of minions. I would never have expected that the plan I had, the dream I dreamed, would be a success. I love each and every one of them, fiercely. Even the ones I have had let go, often I sit awake at night and wonder how they are and wish that they are well.
Majority of the team has been with me from the start, it kinda makes me tear up to think that they are the people I see more than I do my own family. Its a strange thing when you come to accept that about "WORK". You know? You see those people more than your family, so you better make sure you are in the right place. You don't want to work for an asshole, so don't be one. At least, that is what I tell myself. I've worked for my fair share of psychopaths, and I always believed that in order to become a CEO, you got to be a psychopath, but then now here I am, when my business partner and I sad down to allocate titles, he said, "Ok, you be the CEO!" and I was like, waaaaaaaait a minute.....
I am pretty sure he took the title that gave him greater control in the end, we laugh, coz technically none of it means a darn thing, maybe, hmmm, personally I just want to create, I want to cook, I want to be around food, I want to see people eat the food I cook. That is as simple as it gets.
I love what I do.
I have learned the why of what I do. I have learned more with each passing day, of what I am capable of and how hard I am willing to push myself.
I love my team, I love so many of our customers, they give me so much in return for what I feel is just a drop in the ocean of positivity...
I have learned to appreciate my family more now than I could have ever done before.
My husband, that man, what a wonderful human being he is. He works so damn hard and is more present in the kids lives than I am, I could not do this without his support, his friendship, his love and his presence in my life.
There I go getting teary eyed again.
So much, so, so much to be grateful for.
This was the biggest part of my turnaround from near breakdown.
Practicing meditation and learning a Grateful Attitude.
It made the difference in my cortisol levels, it made the difference in how I viewed myself, it made a difference in my anger management, it made a difference in how I approached each day, it made a difference in every interaction and relationship I had, and it made a difference in how I view the business and the long haul.
I am grateful for everything I have now, this shop, Confusion...all of it, has taught me this.
My team, my customers, many of them now my friends, my beautiful husband, my kids who have learned to read in the last year without my help....my kids who can speak to me of how they miss me but also how they understand what I am doing and the why...I am grateful for my parents for instilling in me this urgent need to succeed and to make a difference in peoples lives. I am grateful for the suppliers I work with, each of them so hardworking too, and willing to respond to messages at ungodly hours...
Thank you, one and all, for teaching me why I am here, teaching me how I aspire to greater heights of creativity, teaching me that money isn't the be all and end all, its about the people in your life that matter...and thank you for waking this sleeping dragon.
Until the next time I decide to ramble...Mahalo!
My name's Lisa. I love to cook, I love to laugh, I love to write. I don't always believe I have the time for creating, and now I am going to work on simply going with the flow, with the food, the restaurant, the writing...and if I can, for one moment, spread a little joy along the way, well, its worth the effort.