Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
I’m a big advocate of managing time in a way that allows us to consume positive and beneficial content that moves us closer to our goals. I encourage limiting time on social media and using downtime to read before watching TV. Yet I can’t deny that we can also benefit from some good old-fashioned relaxation in front of a screen.
The good news is that with all of the wonderful options today, you don’t need to feel guilty doing it. There are a lot of great programs that combine education and entertainment. Today I’m going to share ten secrets I learned about goal setting while watching Chef’s Table on Netflix.
Chef’s Table is a must-see for all of you high achievers and foodies. This docuseries profiles the world’s best chefs, telling their personal stories of failure and triumph. There are currently three seasons of Chef’s Table on Netflix, with the fourth season coming soon.
As I was watching an episode from the second season, I turned to my husband, Jer, and said: “they all say that.” At that moment, a lightbulb went off and I realized that they all had similar journeys. Not only that, the lessons they share can be applied to any profession. While each episode is packed with important lessons, I narrowed down the top 10 for you.
10 Secrets to Achieve Your Goals from the World’s Top Chefs
1 – Starting Sucks
Episode after episode, the best chefs in the world shared how their restaurants were empty the first year. In Episode one, Massimo Bottura, chef, and owner of the third best restaurant in the world explained that when he started, the locals disliked him. They were threatened by what he was doing to the traditional food. He even received very negative reviews.
Massimo found the courage to stick with it and was rewarded with great success and a career he loves. The lesson here is that starting is not easy and it’s not always fun. But if you stick with it, you’ll enjoy the pleasure of fulfillment that comes from meeting your goals.Starting is not easy nor fun but if you stick with it, you'll enjoy fulfillment when you meet your goals. Click To Tweet
2 – Perseverance Pays Off
Even though it took a while for their cuisines to catch on, each and every one of them persevered. As one chef said, they “would rather go broke than give it up.” In the case of Massimo Bottura, he took his wife’s advice. “Give it one more year. If you leave now, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
3 – Be True to Yourself
At some point on their journey, each of these chefs learned to stop caring about what other people think. Instead, they learned to believe in their vision and to do what makes them happy.
In Season two, Episode four, Enrique Olvera shared that when he announced that he wanted to be a chef, everyone thought he was crazy. A chef in Mexico was viewed as a lowly profession. He didn’t care, it was what he loved, so he did it anyway.
When you shoot for the stars, your critics will come out in droves. Know that it’s not a reflection of you or what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes our loved ones are just trying to protect us from failure. When we take action on our goals, we hold up a giant mirror that reminds people of what they’ve failed to begin. When faced with criticism, trust your gut and do it anyway.When faced with criticism, trust your gut and do it anyway. Click To Tweet
4 – Don’t do it for the Accolades
Each chef in the series had a greater purpose for their pursuit. They were doing it because they loved creating, cooking, and serving others. They were in it to help people or propel a cause forward. Chef Alex Atala from Season two, Episode two has made it his mission to protect the Amazon, its people, and their culture.
Money and accolades come and go, but purpose and passion last forever.
5 – Take Risks
In moments of frustration at their lowest low, many of these chefs did something that seemed insane at the time. Eventually, these risks reaped huge rewards.
In Episode two, Dan Barber shared how being fed up with asparagus changed his life. Being up to his eyeballs in asparagus, he decided to include the seasonal delicacy in every item on that evening’s menu. That night, a well-known food critic stopped in and the rest is history.
6 – Don’t be Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty
Each of these chefs spends their lives in the trenches. They don’t start a business, make it popular, and spend the rest of their lives sipping pina coladas on a beach somewhere. They’re prepping, cooking, growing, and picking produce every day. And they love it!
7 – Your Choices Determine Your Success
Your choices, not your circumstances, determine your success. Learn this lesson and you can have anything you want in life.Your choices, not your circumstances, determine your success. Learn this lesson and you can have anything you want in life. Click To Tweet
Episode six, Season one shows how Magnus Nilsson created one of the world’s greatest restaurants in Jarpen, Sweden. In the last census, Jarpen reported 1,408 residents and the average daytime high exceeds sixty degrees only one month each year. The old saying, “location, location, location,” might not be everything after all. Magnus is living proof that your choices outweigh our circumstances every time.
8 – Education Comes in Many Forms
Like circumstances, formal education is not a determining factor in the success of these chefs. While some chefs attended the best culinary schools in Paris and New York, just as many were self-taught. I love the story of Slovenian chef Ana Ros from Season two, Episode five. She had no intentions of becoming a chef. She fell in love, inherited a restaurant and had to learn on the fly. Necessity is a great educator.
9 – Seek the Best Mentors
The fact that these chefs sought out mentors isn’t as remarkable as how they found their mentors. In nearly every case, they just showed up. Like Dominique Crenn from Season two, Episode three. She moved from France to San Francisco and decided she wanted to cook. She read about the popular chef Jeremiah Tower and showed up on his doorstep to ask for a job. She got the job despite her lack of education and experience. She now holds two Michelin stars.
To get the best mentors, you need to show up.
10 – Embrace Change
All of these chefs embrace change and do so very quickly. If they see something isn’t working, they change it immediately. As Enrique Olvera explains in Season two, Episode four, sometimes he looks at a dish and says, “What was I thinking?” At that point, it’s nothing for him to pull it from the menu and start fresh.
I hope these lessons will encourage you to reach for the stars and chase down your big, bold dreams. I cut this list of lessons down from more than 20, so be assured that there is much more to learn from watching the series. They are beautiful stories of ordinary people, like you and me, who achieved great things. Chef’s Table will inspire you and remind you that anything is possible.
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What other television series share powerful lessons?
Share in the comments below.