I’ve been part of a Mastermind Group since 2012. A recent homework assignment was to write “our” story. Since I’m not one to be satisfied with a standard bio, here’s what I wrote:
I’m not a Soup Nazi, but lately I’ve become obsessed with soup. Now soup may seem like a simple thing: you open a can of Campbell’s – or if you’re fitness obsessed, Progresso Lite – and then pour it into a pot and heat. But when you make soup from scratch, it becomes a whole ‘nother ballgame. It is fresh with a deep flavor that’s way better than the canned stuff.
When I was new to soup making, I followed recipes. I followed Rachel Ray’s, for instance, because she is known for easy ones: sauté garlic and onion, add 2 cups of water; 2 cups crushed tomatoes; one teaspoon oregano and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook it down, add some light cream, simmer, and you have a nice tomato soup.
Well, I got bored with that. I wanted to choose the ingredients; I wanted it to be my soup. If I was inspired by the fresh tomatoes at the farmers market, I wanted to use them. Sometimes I wanted to slow simmer it; other times I wanted to throw something together quickly. I just didn’t want to follow someone else’s recipes. And what I found was that when I created my own soups, they were the best ones – and my boys would actually eat them and ask for seconds.
Soup is a good metaphor for my life as an entrepreneur and consultant. I got bored with “canned” corporate life: it lacked flavor and richness. When I left corporate, I found entrepreneurial recipes to follow. I bought every how-to book I could find and built my consulting firm around “best practices.”
Over time, I learned what works well, and I began straying from the recipes and adding new ingredients – services and capabilities to keep things fresh.
Today, while best practices and recipes are still important – how else will I master social media? Or vichyssoise? – It’s when I riff on them or create my own, that I find I’m doing my best, most creative work. Just as my kids appreciate my soup, I believe that those I serve as an entrepreneur and consultant appreciate and value my work.
So I’m not sure how this soup story will end. Will I write a cookbook? Pass my knowledge down to my kids? I think I’ll let that one simmer for awhile…