This must-read guest post comes from the impressive and always lovable Monica Bhide, author of three cookbooks, the blog A Life of Spice and syndicated columnist of SEASONINGS, distributed by the Scripps Howard News Media to over 300 news outlets.
In addition to her writing, Monica owns and operates her own cooking school, which has been featured in Bon Appetit. She also teaches sold-out food writing classes. From where I write, her list is bittersweet and ironic. She is living a successful, highly admirable and inspirational life. Yet, like all of us, she wrestles with her own personal obstacles. I am awed by her journey, and respectfully share her words below.
Once upon a story: What Monica Bhide has learned this year.
2010 has been a year of great learning for me; Every belief I have held that has been near and dear to my heart has been challenged. I think I have said, “It is not all black and white,” more times this year than, “Kids, clean your room.”
I have struggled with many issues, with some people and sometimes against the Universe. As I sit here this morning and think of goals for 2011, it occurs to me that I cannot really write them until and unless I write down what I learned last year that I can apply to this new coming year:
1. It isnt the Universe that loses faith in us: When things go wrong, I, at least personally, have a tendency to look at the Universe and ask, “What’s up?” But I realized this year that I am asking the wrong question. It isn’t the Universe that loses faith in me, I lose faith in the Universe. Unless I believe that the Universe is conspiring for me, it isn’t.
2. Talent on its own is worthless: I teach writing classes, I have a ton of writer friends, I am surrounded by many people who have exceeded their own expectations and many who have not. I have said this repeatedly and I say it again: talent alone is worthless. With out the commitment behind it, talent will get you nowhere and fast.
3. People are just that: people. Good or bad is our judgement: After a year of dealing with someone who has been particularly difficult on my ego, I kept thinking why this person was doing what they were doing. I could not, for the life of me, understand. How had I harmed them? What had I done to them? And then I realized, thanks to my husband’s insight, that it really isn’t about me at all. It is all about them. People’s judgements and their opinions reflect them. I cannot allow myself to become a reflection of someone else’s opinion about me.
4. All-in-ness: People who succeed in what they do are all committed to it. ALL IN. No second thoughts, no second guessing, no beating yourself up over mistakes, no allowing others to beat you up. It is a singlemindedness that provides razor sharp focus. And guess that? What ever we focus on grows. (Apply this to all areas of life, not just work).
5. True friends are a rare breed: Love them.
6. Social Media is here to stay: I have to say this was the hardest. Sitting on my couch, reading how other people are traveling with world, while I nurse an injured eye, or some other great feat that people were performing, was very hard. I kept thinking I need to do more, needed to do something different. And then Shauna Ahern posted something earlier this year that really hit home and I am paraphrasing here – Why are so many people focused on becoming instead of just being. Now my goal is that – to be who I am, in spirit and in word.
7. Be true to your passion: For work, the only master you have to please is your passion. It will fuel all else. If you try to please anyone else – the critic, the editor, the reader, the friend, the so-called-friend, the ego… anyone else… you will fail. I guarantee it.
8. Love and opportunities abound: This is a very abundant Universe. There is so much warmth, passion, so much love and abundance. We get what we ask for. Think about it. And the best way to gain abundance is to share yours. Freely.
9. When you least expect it, life will intervene: Deaths, job losses, health issues… we all have them. We all face them and we all will get through them.
10. When you least expect it, the Universe intervenes: Readers write in with great comments, you meet your hero, you discover a new writer who will change your life, your friends rally around you, and you believe again that the Universe, indeed, conspires for you.
This is what I will be thinking of as I set my goals for next year. What will you do? Tell me what you have learned? I would love to learn from you.
- Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen (2009)
- The Everything Indian Cookbook: 300 Tantalizing Recipes–From Sizzling Tandoori Chicken to Fiery Lamb Vindaloo (Everything Series)
- The Spice Is Right: Easy Indian Cooking for Today ( 2001)