Missing the Main Ingredient
Listen to the audio of this story here: Brussel Sprouts
Every weekend we decompress from the week with our neighbors and friends on Friday night. We order pizza, let the kids watch a movie and stay up too late and we kick off our weekend right. This week, I was tired of pizza and wanted to try something new from the cookbook I had picked up at the library. It was an easy meal, and much of the work could be done before our friends would arrive. Spicy brussel sprout tart. Yum.
As the kitchen exploded with their arrival - cocktails being made, kids running around, cats underfoot waiting to be fed - I was finishing up the final touches on the meal and putting it in the oven.
The tart was finished and cooling not too long later and I was relaxing and chatting when I realized what I had done!
I had forgotten the brussel sprouts. The main ingredient! Still in the fridge, cut up, ready to be mixed in and yet, completely forgotten.
In my brain, four things happened over the next few moments.
First, I berated myself. -- I’m so stupid. What is wrong with me?
Then I got mad at everyone else. -- Why did everyone have to be in the kitchen when I was cooking!
Then I considered throwing it out and ordering a pizza.
Finally I stood up, walked back in the kitchen and said “I’ll figure it out.”
Moments later I was sautéing the brussel sprouts in butter as I made a plan for how I was going to bring this all together. I scooped out the custard from the pie crust into a mixing bowl, added some more ricotta and parmesan to bind and season it all together, threw it back in the oven and crossed my fingers.
It was delicious.
Later that night, I was washing dishes as Ben put the kids to bed when I thought back over the evening, and realized how very familiar this experience felt. How often I have overlooked the main ingredient. I’m not talking about cooking.
A few years ago, I had all the makings of a successful career. I had worked on exceptional projects, had leveraged my non-profit arts management career into a solopreneur business that let me spend the time I wanted with my family, I was collaborating with inspiring leaders in the industry, I was making good money.
I had a fully-baked career. All the elements were there. Carefully selected and mixed in. With one exception, one major missing ingredient. Me.
Because when I stepped back, I knew this work was not what I wanted. And I didn’t know if had ever been what I wanted. How did I get here?
It seemed there was no going back. How could I possibly make any real changes without completely starting over?
Flash forward to now. I didn’t have to throw everything out and begin again. I realized what was missing and did some fancy smooshing together of the ingredients to bake a pretty fulfilling iteration of my career, one that I keep tweaking and seasoning. Always with the focus of how to make the main ingredient really come through - me.
Leaving ourselves out is easier to do than it seems it should be.
Like the brussel sprouts left prepped and ready in the fridge, how can you miss the main ingredient?
And it feels so PAINFUL to realize it. And then the response - the self-criticism, the blaming of others, the guess I have to throw it all away thinking - these are totally normal and understandable responses.
AND there’s another way.
It starts with opening the door to the possibility that there is a way and you’ll figure it out.
Saying: “I don’t know how it’s going to happen.
But I believe I can be at the center of my life -
my career, my relationships, my family, my everything -
as my WHOLE self.”
Where do you feel like the main ingredient is missing in your life?
What would happened if you - in that moment - simply put yourself back in the mix (so to speak)?
If you cracked the door to possibility?
What could be possible then?
If this speaks to you, and feels all too familiar, let's talk.
You can set up a call with me here: https://kjtcoaching.as.me/CreateClarity