I’ll never forget the time when a customer made me cry

It was the morning and we were serving breakfast. 

I was a few weeks into the job.

I took a middle-aged lady’s order. 

The order went into the kitchen. 

Cool. Only, it was not.

When the food came back out, she took off her sunglasses in exasperation. 

“You gave me the wrong noodle.” 

She continues, “Why didn’t you ask me for my noodle preference?”

At the point in my life, I didn’t know I had to ask anybody for their noodle preference. I was confused, tired, and embarrassed.

She continues to bring on the heat and I continue to take every word to heart. 

“Are you new here?”

“Why are you here if you don’t listen to your customers?”

“Why don’t you do things right the first time?”

“You should go home if you can’t even do this job”

She goes on and on until we remake her food. 

I went to the washroom and cried after that. A good, emotional, 15 minute sob-fest with full swollen reddish eyes. 

What I learned from all of that is this.

I still had a lot to learn if a middle-aged lady could emotionally throw me down like that. 

A Little Unperfectionism Goes A Long Way

Get out of your rut. 

Look for inspiration elsewhere. 

Go for a walk. 

Cut out your phone. 

Sure these things can help, but for how much longer are you going to look at inspo for? 

How many walks do I really want to take? (Sorry mom). 

And my phone. The very tool I need to use on a constant basis. Isn’t there a way to do great creative work while being self-disciplined enough to cut out distraction enough of the time? 

My personal solution to get out of creative ruts is to make unperfect work. 

(Yes, I know the opposite of perfect is spelled ‘imperfect’ but perfect spelling is besides the point. Unperfect is just that. Unperfect. Let that little red squiggly spellcheck indicator  do it’s thing)

Unperfect yourself and stop falling for the promise of “if it’s not perfect, it won’t be any good.” 

Get out of your rut. 

Putting Off Emotional Work for Tomorrow

Working in a family business is hard, because if you get into a fight with your parents, you still have to see and work with them every day. Unfortunately for me, my family didn’t teach me to be confrontational with my feelings. It’s my weakness.

Delaying heavy loads of emotional work is tempting because what comes ahead is uncomfortable. Like confronting a problem with a friend, or forgiving somebody you hurt, or forgiving somebody who hurt you.

Putting it off “until tomorrow” can work, but only for so long until it doesn’t anymore. 

Doing the emotional work is always in demand.

And I’d like to think it’s something we can get better at, if we try.