Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gordon Ramsay is My Hero--Part 2

Not only is chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay inspiring and motivating to watch as he turns kitchen nightmares into dream businesses, he has a lot of important lessons to teach about life and living. I find a lot of what Gordon Ramsay does in his approach to running a restaurant and motivating failing restaurant owners to change and become more versatile and daring quite applicable to the creative life. Here's my take on what can be learned from "Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares."

Be Passionate—When it comes to food, Gordon exudes passion. That's why he gets so angry at chefs and restaurant owners who don't give food or their customers proper care and respect. My goal is to put about half as much passion into my writing every day as Gordon puts into his cooking. If I can do that, my writing will surely reach new heights.

Take Risks—You can tell just by looking at Gordon that he's taken his share of risks in his life. He's a hard-rocking dude. It's impossible to achieve that kind of success without taking risks.

Don't Be Afraid to Fail—Gordon is the first to tell floundering restaurant owners how many times he has failed in the past, and how many times he has picked himself up and tried again. You can't take risks and do everything with passion and not fail at least once in a while. And you can't do anything creative without failing now and then either. I always tell myself, in order to do something well I must first be willing to do it badly. I also love that Woody Allen quote: "If you're not failing now and then, you must not be doing anything very innovative."

Take Pride in Your Work—I love how Gordon will ask a chef if he or she is happy with a dish before it gets sent out to a table. And if the answer is no, it goes into the trash. Gordon never settles for second rate. It's a challenging way to live with your art, but a goal worth striving for. How many times a day do we ask ourselves that question about our work or our art--are you happy with that? And what do we do if the answer is 'no'?

Embrace Change—As humans, we hate change, even when we know it's for the best. It's so interesting to see these restaurant owners resist every change Gordon wants to make, even though the status quo is failing miserably and change can only make things better. I try very hard to approach change with a positive attitude, even if I know it will be uncomfortable or painful. Personal growth always comes with at least a little pain, but it's worth it to be a better, stronger person in the end.

Live with Joy—Gordon truly loves what he does. He is bursting with energy and enthusiasm. You can see it in the way he interacts with people—well, once he gets past hating them for being so stubborn. When the tide in these restaurants begins to turn and a team begins to emerge, Gordon is everyone's big brother, cheering them on as they work toward greater success.

Gordon is a great motivator, someone we can all learn from. I'd be happy to perfect any one of these lessons. Which one do you need most?