Friday, February 19, 2010

The Motivating Factor (or, how to stay positive when you're really, really tired)

Hello, blog. Haven't seen you in a while ... seven weeks, actually. I've been a little busy, putting in 10-12 hours a day, six days a week. Does it sound like I'm complaining? I'm not. It's just my reality. I work at a modern, vibrant restaurant where there's always something happening - a book signing, a special dinner, an off-site event. I work at a beautiful, old soul hotel where banquet desserts are made in-house, not pulled out of a box. I work with a chef singularly dedicated to using fresh, local ingredients who challenges me to change my dessert menus every few weeks - while I'm doing banquets, and brunch, and amenities. It's exhausting, it's exhilarating, and it's exactly what I've always wanted to do.

But to be honest, sometimes it's difficult to stay positive and motivated in the face of a daunting workload, when I'm physically and mentally at my limits and don't even want to think about desserts, let alone blog or twitter about them. When I need a little push to keep creating, keep baking, keep writing. That's when I would feel for the little blue band around my left wrist, the one that says "create joy." It's the mantra of the company I work for, Joie de Vivre, and I received the wristband when I started working for them 16 months ago. Each day it served as a touchstone for me, kind of like worry beads. When I felt overwhelmed, or anxious, or uncertain, or yes, just tired, I would look at it and feel grounded again. Seeing those words on my wrist reminded me that I'm doing a job that I absolutely love and I am creating joy every day, for myself and others.

And then a couple days ago something snapped. Not me, my wristband. As I was putting it on, just coming to the end of a 10 day stretch of work. I think it was just plain worn out from supporting me all these months. And I thought, oh well, it's not a big deal. But you know what? I missed it. Really missed it. I didn't realize just how much its presence helped me to keep my feet on the ground, my head clear, my goals in front of me.

So a replacement band is on its way (I hope it's red!). I will continue to wear it every day and remember that I don't "have" to do this job, I "get" to do this job. That is my motivation, my inspiration. I get to do this job. And that makes me one very happy - and grateful - pastry chef.