Posts Tagged ‘Play’

Even in a Disaster, Take Time To….

Sunday, March 29th, 2009
Smell the Flower

Smell the Flowers

…you know how the saying ends. The current economic crisis is a disaster, not unlike a natural disaster in terms of the stress response it elicits. Your coping mechanisms may feel overwhelmed as you are doing more with fewer resources. Perhaps certain of your clients are struggling in this economy or your bank has cut your credit line, constraining your working capital. Under such pressure, often the response is to work harder and harder to keep up. But you run the risk of burnout – a common condition for small business owners. So do not forget the importance of play.

Stuart Brown is a 76-year old psychiatrist and the author of the recently published book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul (Penguin). Over the course of his career, he has conducted more than 6,000 play studies and reports that the opposite of play is not work, but depression. He worries that many of us are not finding the time to play as the economy makes tougher demands on our resources. Remember that you will not be able to look after those around you if you are depleted and worn down yourself.

I return to work most invigorated after cooking. My recipes have been featured in leading cookbooks and I have completed training at the French Culinary Institute (“FCI”) in New York and both Le Cordon Bleu and the Ritz Escoffier in Paris. At the FCI, I have completed four certificate programs and am about to start my fifth in pastry. I completed a course of study in Artisanal Breadbaking with Master Chef Hans Welke, the basics of culinary training, known at FCI as La Technique I and more advanced culinary training for recipe and menu development, La Technique II, together over 300 hours of training in the commercial kitchens of the French Culinary Institute under the supervision of their master chef instructors. Some of the world’s greatest chefs teach at the FCI, including Jacques Pepin and Alain Sailhac. I also completed a course of study in wine and food pairings at the FCI with Master Somnelier Andrea Immer Robinson.

I suppose this could be my “Plan B”; if everything else fails, I can always find work as a sous-chef. But I see real synergies in the commitment to quality and discpline in classical culinary training and the quality and systems I need to build for my business. Others share my point of view as I have just been scheduled for a photo shoot at the FCI for a feature article on entrepreneurial passions in a major business magazine. I will post it here when it will be published, but you will see that when I am wearing my chef’s uniform, the stress just goes away. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and manage your creative spirit at this difficult time. The break will refresh you and renew your spirit.