Like any great dish a values-based culinary career starts with certain ingredients. The quality of those ingredients will certainly make a difference. We only have certain ingredients available to us initially, and over time those ingredients age, mature and are enhanced in a very particular way, depending on the effort and focus we bring to the process.

For example, a seasoned 10 year old miso has quite a different taste than a miso produced just a year ago. And of course you have to start today so that 10 years from now that miso will have aged, or you’ll be 10 years stronger in your career and more able to make a difference.  You’ll be 10 years more capable of expressing your values through your chosen work. But you have to use your own unique ingredients during those 10 years.  Lets talk about how to take the raw ingredients of a values-based culinary career, add time and determination, and cook up something worthwhile and delicious!

When one has a values-based career then each day as you go about your work (if you pay attention) you can see that your work is making a difference. When you are present to that your life effort is bringing value to you, to your immediate community and to those you are serving in the larger community, you are rewarded with a depth of satisfaction that exceeds monetary value. Your work becomes a vehicle through which your dedication to the greater good is expressed.

There are 7 different ingredients that help make up a values-based culinary career. I’m going to talk about each of these ingredients at length in incoming posts. To begin with let me define each one so you can start to think about your personal life and how you are going to begin to integrate this perspective in your career planning. The 7 ingredient we’ll focus on are:

  1. Skills  – so critical, essentially, what can you do, and how well can you do it?
  2. Resources – what do you bring to the ‘table’? What can you access?
  3. Market opportunity – what is particular to your career, this moment in time, these unique circumstances?
  4. Education – what do you know? what knowledge do you bring?
  5. Personal network – who do you know? What are your strong and weak ties?
  6. Desire – your personal unique desire. Do you know it?
  7. Personality and temperament – You!  You are unique, and you are certainly an ingredient in your own career.

By the way you’ll notice that I left values off the list.in my work with thousands of values oriented professionals I have found that values is a given.  You simply are (and must) live out of your values. Kind of like Rilke speaks about in Letters to A Young Poet, if you must write, then risk it all to be a poet.  In that same vein, if you must live a life of values, then risk it, else just work.  If you want to build a culinary career that lets you feed people while you live into a deep personal set of values to contribute to our world, then I applaud you and welcome you, and honor your choice.

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