Work-life enrichment

In 2006, the professors Greenhaus & Powell defined work-life enrichment to be “the extent to which experiences in one role improve the quality of life in the other role.”

This concept calls us to rethink the usual approach: many people tend to look at work and their personal lives as two separate things that are not easy to reconcile, especially given a profession like ours. Maybe this is one of the reasons they are less driven to pursue balance.

But there is cost that goes with not considering the interplay between work and life. Focussing on your wellbeing can positively impact the quality of your work. Do you see that it could make you a better chef?

New guide: Five Steps to Work-Life Balance

We can think that work-life balance is about setting resolutions, making life-changes or finding new hobbies. But that in itself does not give you a more balanced life. It very much depends on how well you follow through with those ambitious intentions.

This guide was created for the Love Letters to Chefs Community to help you do just that. You will:

  • Get clear on your priorities
  • Learn a simple process that you can use to incorporate the things that matter to you in your life
  • Explore what you can do to support those intentions (make it easy for yourself, chef!)

You can download the guide here.

Presenteeism

Our kitchen culture might demand ‘presenteeism’ – that you show up to your work at any cost or in whatever state you are in. That goes for whether you are recovering from an injury, whether or not you have rested as much as you should have after your shift or whether your personal life is greatly challenged. This is understandable: the work has to get done.

But the truth is that how you show up to your work will be compromised when you neglect the aspects of your life outside it. Yes, you might do whatever it takes to get through that one shift, but you know you will not be operating at your full potential.

We very much need to address this as an industry. But when it comes to your own part, my question to you is : how can you better support your career by looking after your wellbeing, chef?

Back to work

As you resume your service today (if you are in the UK), my invitation to you is to take a few moments to reflect on what it really means to be able to share your talent with the world. It is a privilege that we could not enjoy over the past few months. A privilege that some people, both in this industry and others, will not get to experience again just yet.

This is a simple message reminding you to honour your gift, chef. Do whatever is required to nurture it. But also give yourself whatever you need to support it: and that includes making your wellbeing a priority.

All the best, chef!

Modelling good wellbeing practice

As a leader, you are constantly influencing the behaviour of those on your team. It goes without saying that when you look after your own wellbeing, it gives everyone the message that they should do so too.

The benefits come full circle: as a result of every individual taking ownership of their wellbeing, the entire team benefits, thus serving your leadership vision. And perhaps also leaving you with fewer fires to put out?

One step at a time

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all life really means.

– Robert Louis Stevenson

This is all that work-life balance really is, is it not? Taking things one step at a time.

It is one of the biggest challenges our industry faces, yet, how we approach it hardly puts us in a position to find solutions. We think it is inaccessible, that it implies a lack of commitment towards our work. We fear that it means compromising our ambitions or become overcome with guilt when we hear those words.

Are you ready to reframe how you look at work-life balance, chef?

Make more time

As many of us in the industry make preparations to resume our service again, are you giving any thought to what you want to take with you into life after lockdown, chef?

For example, what are the things that you enjoyed doing during confinement that you rarely have time for? Would you like to find out how you can incorporate them in some way into your normal routine? Or at least get a handle on how to better balance the various aspects of your life?

Love Letters to Chefs will cover those very topic in a new online workshop being delivered over the next few weeks. You can find more information here.

Launching soon: Create Your #BetterCheflife

I am excited to announce that Love Letters to Chefs is launching a new online workshop aimed at helping chefs with the challenge of work-life balance.

Whatever the new normal might look like once our industry opens again, this training shows you how you can bring more balance to your life, even if you are returning to a busy kitchen.

The workshop will be delivered via Zoom on the 29th of June, the 6th and the 13th of July, from 2 – 3:30 pm London (UK) time. Spaces are limited. The workshop is being offered on a Pay What You Can basis: the intention is that it is accessible to everyone who will benefit from it.

You can book your place here.

Three questions for reflection

Wherever you are – actively preparing to return to work, or still contemplating life after lockdown – you will have noticed that our thoughts are now future-focussed.

But let us make sure that we take with us powerful lessons: the pandemic made us acknowledge how closely connected we are, yet it took the brutal death of George Floyd to show us how little we respect that sacred truth of All is One.

Which is I invite you to join me, chefs, in reflecting on these three questions over the course of this week:

  • What do you value? What do you need to be happy?
  • How do your words and actions impact others? Start with those closest to you, your community, then expand the ‘other’ to include the supermarket cashier or the stranger next to you on public transport.
  • Who makes an impact on your life? Begin with those that make up your world and those you never think about – the people who built your roads and those who wrote the textbooks you learnt from. Finish with the truth that your life is also being shaped by the creatures who inhabit our oceans, politicians in other countries, and by the destinies of human beings you will never meet.

Because we cannot return to our work as service professionals without the consciousness and empathy awoken in us these past few months.