Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ponder: How I'm Doing Five Months After Alt Summit SLC

Alt Summit NY is this week; in fact, sponsor dinners are tonight. A bunch of my friends from all over the country are headed there, without me. Turns out not going to Alt is like not going to Burning Man. Unlike Burning Man where there's a way to get tickets, even if completely sold out like last year, there's no chance with Alt. But this post is not about missing out. This post is about how Alt Summit SLC has changed my life and continues to impact my life positively whether I'm attending or not.


Setting Myself Up for Success at Alt

A quick summary of how I prepared for and maximized my Alt Summit experience. Last August a reminder on my phone went off and I scrambled to my laptop to secure a ticket (after two and a half years of dreaming of going).
I then spent the Fall attending Alt Channel classes polishing my skills: writing, graphic design, photography, editorial calendar making, social media, SEO, and more. After taking Tough Love: What Brands Really Think from Natalie Bowman, Marketing Director for Bing, I realized I had more work to do. Not tactical, but strategic. I didn't know who I was. I couldn't fill in "I am a ________ ." (I took another Blogging Your Way workshop and a series of brand development courses from Braid Creative to help me articulate who I am.)
Come December I still had a lot of work to do. By January, I was ready.
And then, in Salt Lake City I blossomed; I had a life changing A-HA moment. I still couldn't succinctly fill in "I am a ________ ." But I had a foundation for staging an I AM Moment.


Discovering Who I AM

Last Tuesday night, I finally hosted the Thai cooking class I'd been talking about doing. Thanks to La Crema Wines who sponsored the evening, I was able to complete an item from my life list (the one I've been meaning to share but afraid to let go into the universe).
Who are you?
It's easy to answer "Who am I?" or "Who Do You Think You Are?" with negatives. For example, "I am not a race car driver." "I am not a stunt double." Both of these statements are facts. It's harder to answer with an affirmative. Sandra Harris of Raincoast Creative Salon pondered the same question in May, phrased a little differently, "Who Do You Think You Are?".
Who do you think you are?
As I was putting together my Eventbrite registration page for Tuesday's event, I faced this question in the form of a blank About the Organizer field. I wondered what I should write. Could I say I am a cook? A cooking enthusiast? A chef? Some of my girlfriends knew I cooked Thai food, but not all knew I'd worked in a Thai restaurant or that I'd ghost written a Thai cookbook. For the answer, I stepped back and thought about why I was an authority on Thai cooking. This is what I came up with:
I've been an avid cook since the age of 8 when I took my first cooking class.
In 2000, I helped a chef open a Thai restaurant
and as part of his branding, ghost wrote a Thai cookbook and
developed and co-taught a series of Thai cooking classes.
I've prepared over thousands of Thai meals,
and have served Thai cuisine to over 50 people in the Black Rock Desert.
My food photography has been published in Nation's Restaurant News.



Staging an I AM Moment

Tuesday night went off without a hitch. No one got injured (a real fear when you're working with oil and a hot wok). Everyone had a good time. And all were less intimidated by the prospect of cooking Thai food in their own homes. (Don't worry I'll share tons more details on the blog tomorrow.)
Want to know the best part of the experience? Realizing I AM a Thai chef. I envisioned an evening, developed the menu, created recipes that showcased Thai flavors and paired with La Crema's 2012 Monterey Pinot Gris (a homemade vegetable stock and a signature chilled carrot ginger soup), sourced the ingredients, and shared a few traditional Thai dishes (Tom Yum soup, Thai Basil Eggplant Curry, and Pad Prik King Stirfry). I brought an idea to life. I made a moment, an I AM moment.
We all need an "I AM moment." These moments are celebrations of how far we've come in what we do. They're opportunities for us to go wow. I don't know about you but I frequently look at how far I have left to go or what I have remaining on my to do list. I seldom stop and turn around. Tuesday's Girls Night In Thai Cooking Class was my opportunity to take center stage (something that scares me tremendously), share my expertise, and internally acknowledge my accomplishment.

Now it's your turn. Stage your "I AM moment."
Ciao Bella!
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Credits: All layouts designed by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. All images taken by Jessica Palopoli for The Road to the Good Life.