Yesterday, we made one of our coworkers’ dreams come true. Our ops & marketing team got together for a spelling bee.
Now, I don’t think many would consider me a competitive person. I’ve got a more laid-back go-with-the-flow kinda vibe, but that dormant side of me came out in full force yesterday. Partly because spelling’s kinda my jam, partly because that side of me wanted to show off a bit, too. 😅
Unfortunately my team lost by 1 point 😫. I kept getting tripped up by double letters in words like surveillance. At least now I’ll never forget how to spell it. 🤷🏻♀️ But I totally crushed it with pterodactyl & chrysanthemum, earning my team 5 points with those 2 words. That whole experience got me thinking a bit about one of our core values at The Abs Company : Win.
I’ve honestly struggled with it. Reframing and defining what Win means for me and my position at TAC helped, but this spelling bee revealed that side of me that doesn’t get much exposure.
Familiarizing myself with that feeling and tapping into that desire to win – even to show off a little – I think that’s one of the things that can make the Win value more real to me & my work.
For the non-competitive ones, “Win” might feel kinda icky – it did for me – but I’m beginning to believe that all of us are at least a little competitive, especially where our strengths come into play. And it’s not a bad thing.
I’m coming to realize it’s what drives me to do my best, to continue to learn and grow, and to find better ways of doing things. It’s winning when I find the right piece of software or tweak some processes to make things run better.
I follow an Instagram account called The Tiny Chef Show. It’s a stop-motion animated character who loves to cook.
The account is engaging and lighthearted and whimsical and everything good, and the Tiny Chef has captured so many hearts.
His current story arc shows him going through a cooking show host school and sending out reels to networks in the hopes of getting his show produced.
Today… I hopped on the ‘gram during a quick brain break and the latest Tiny Chef video popped up. He was listening to several rejections on his answering machine and I lost it. A tiny animated character on Instagram made me cry.
Honestly, I cry easily anyway so it’s not that out of the ordinary, but why this? Why now?
I’m invested in this character – and the only way that happens is with storytelling that connects with the audience.
The way they choose to tell the story of a tiny chef who lives in a tree with a tiny stuffed kiwi bird and caterpillar as a pet engages so many. We see ourselves in that tiny green guy working through is speech impediment, his love for baking, affinity for small cute things (as he’s a small cute thing too), going through school and facing all that rejection…
I can’t wait to see if the Tiny Chef gets his show. In the meantime, I’m with him in the trenches, tears and all.
Everyone should work in food service at some point in their lives. I believe this will increase empathy levels for service workers across the board.
My first job was at my parents’ restaurant in Florida. I cleaned tables, ran the register, and hosted.
I continued to work there through high school and in the summer when I came home from college until they sold it and moved North. I also worked at a vegetarian restaurant in college.
Three things I learned:
🥗 Relationships Matter: Regulars are a hoot. A smile and some fun banter go a long way. Sometimes you’re the only bright spot in their day (especially with some retirees in FL) so treat everyone well.
🍔 Attitude Matters: Customers can be difficult – you can be pleasant and firm at the same time. Bosses can be difficult. Take it in stride and keep doing your best (Sorry, dad…) 😅.
🍲 Humility Matters: Serving & Cleaning up after people can be humbling, exhausting and frustrating. I’ve worked through many a rush and been completely spent at the end only to be shortchanged on tips with customers I thought I treated well. To this day I am never one to stiff waitstaff on a tip. The job is hard.
I may never work in food service again, but I carry these lessons wherever I go.
Food, by nature, is neutral. Demonizing any food group is pure diet culture BS.
No one can get addicted to food (barring any real disorders of satiety, you’re not addicted). You can’t get addicted to air or water. They’re REQUIRED for life.
So is food.
➡️ RESTRICTION ⬅️ is what makes us obsess over everything we eat.
We desire what we can’t have. AND our bodies are primed via evolution to fight against starvation.
Diets (Paleo, Keto, WW, Intermittent Fasting, “Clean” eating) are by their very nature restrictive. This in turn creates a situation in your body where it thinks you’re starving. Even the THOUGHTS of restricting food triggers your body’s survival mechanisms.
So you fixate on food and feel “addicted.”
Check out the Minnesota Starvation experiment where they subjected 30ish men to reduced-calorie diets of 1800 calories/day or less (think about the current popular recommendation for 1200-calorie a day diets. A *toddler* needs 1200 calories a day 😳).
One ended up scouring the trash for food, and snuck out to get milkshakes, while many chewed up to 40 pieces of gum a day and obsessed over food, making small rituals like adding water to make it seem like more.
What happens when you allow all foods?
🔥Food loses its power over you. 👊
And when food loses its power over you? You’re free to focus on stuff that’s more important.
I also believe that diets are used to keep us docile & focused on food instead of changing our world, but that’s for another time.
*Note: Food can make your body feel differently depending on what it is. It’s highly individual. I feel better when I have more vegetables and drink lots of water, and I feel worse when I have more than a couple slices of bread. But that’s my body and I’m in tune with how food makes *me* feel. I still don’t restrict anything.
You know you’re deep into a TV binge when Netflix regularly asks you if you’re still watching.
I found myself here at the end of March.
At our Dreams Program meeting at The Abs Company we were given a discipline challenge, pick one thing to do or not do for 30 days.
I decided to stop my TV habit cold turkey. Unplugged the TV in my office and hid the remote (which I still can’t find by the way). The other members of my household weren’t subject to the same so I found ways around that.
Instead of watching TV, I…
📝 finished a class I was taking online 🍽 kept the kitchen sink clean (most nights) 🎸 picked up my guitar again 🎧listened to podcasts 🎮 played games with my kid 📕read nearly 2000 pages 📝 started a new online class 😴and got a LOT more rest.
Where I thought that I had no time to do what I wanted, I discovered I actually *did* have time – I was just using it to numb my brain with TV shows.
On May 1st, free from the shackles of the 30-day challenge, I decided I’d catch up with the 3-4 shows I regularly watched. Four shows deep, I realized it didn’t feel very good, but I kept watching. I spent most of my day staring at the tube and ended up feeling like a zombie by dinner.
I’ll still watch my shows on occasion, but I think I’ll be keeping most of my time for me instead of giving it to Netflix.
This Sunday my kid is supposed to go to NYC with his grandmother for the Greek Independence Day Parade. He was excited to go up until yesterday.
Yesterday his grade went on a field trip at an outdoor classroom to learn about the ecosystem at a local lake. Four bus rides and about an hour on a boat really triggered his motion sickness, and on the way home, he realized that the trip to NYC is on a bus.
The prospect of putting more time in on a bus was not appealing after all the school trips he’s taken over the past couple weeks, and he told me he was reconsidering his decision to go to NY.
I agreed – bus rides can get dicey if you’re sensitive to motion like we are (this is actually the reason I’m not going), and it’s his decision whether he goes or not.
Then he thought of his grandmother – how disappointed she’d be if he didn’t go. “She was so happy when I said I would go with her, and now I don’t want to go. She’s going to be upset.”
I love that he’s got that empathy, but it was time for a lesson in speaking up for himself and not taking responsibility for someone else’s feelings.
I did that way too much growing up, and well into adulthood.
Pushing aside what you need in order to make someone else feel better is a recipe for resentment & codependency. Even worse, if you do this for a long time, you end up believing *you* aren’t as important as someone else, which is bull.
So, even though it’s hard and he doesn’t want to see his grandmother feel bad, we will be talking with her together about this. I’ve got his back, whatever he decides to do, no matter how my mom feels about it. She’s an adult. Her feelings are hers & hers alone.
He’s got to develop his own sense of self and I’m not about to encourage him to go along with something that’s going to make him feel sick just to keep someone else happy.