Ruth Reichl is a well known author. Have you read her? She is funny, touching, very much on point and to boot has won many major awards ~ for her cookbooks. Well, memoirs. Or are they cookbooks? Ruth Reichl is hard to put into a category but her food is not; it’s great. I’ve tried several of her recipes and am here to tell you they are good. But this is not about her recipes today. Instead I found a quote by her that I wanted us to take a minute with.
In the book, “Mistakes I Made At Work” by Strayed, Touby, Gordon and Holmes one of Reichl’s tips is, “Get the broadest education you can. You will never again have a chance to study the way you do when you’re in college and graduate school, so don’t focus too completely on one subject. You may discover a passion you didn’t know you had. And knowing a lot about art, literature, science…down the road, it will serve you well.” Indeed! How perfect!
Yes, I know, time is tight. Chances are pretty good that by the point you’re reading a newsletter written by a wellness coach you’re no longer a teenager or young twenty something. I can hope you’re in that zone and have the opportunity to learn oh-so -much but likely you’re not and that’s OK too! That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from this piece of best advice.
One of the most interesting pieces I’ve experienced on this path of wellness coaching is how many different topics and areas my toes have gotten wet in. Who would have thought that in addition to Harvard Health Letter, my reading list now includes Harvard Review, any number of business articles and books, some science books and the not infrequent crossword puzzle (I hate crosswords, don’t I? Seems perhaps not anymore!).
How does this apply to you? The same way it likely applies to Reichl. Reichl has a degree in art history, writes cookbooks, was an editor for both the New York Times Food section and Gourmet magazine as well as restaurant reviewer and is now writing novels. A rich and diverse resume for sure. But if you look more closely what you might notice is that Reichl took a very specific set of skills (good cooking) and paired them up with a broad background which included an education on how to write well and communicate effectively (writing, editing, managing).
I know many Thriving Practitioners who are great at their chosen profession but who, let’s face it, could learn a great deal from Reichl’s suggestion! If the only subject you’re able to communicate about is your chosen field then how do you engage clients? How do you help them see something from their point of view if you can’t see it yourself?
How to do this? Well, here’s my radical suggestion; get out there and do new things, read new materials on topics you’ve not previously thought of. I was surprised a few months ago to read that there is a science to optimal placement of urinals in men’s bathrooms. Does this apply to my work? Not really but I did learn that there are math geeks out there who study such things! Cool! We’ve talked in the past about the importance of getting out and having a life outside of work. If it helps, you might think of it this way ~ everything you learn can and will filter itself back to your work. Passion around any topic is energy and energy translates to Thriving.
What will you read today or how will you expand your knowledge base? Can’t wait to hear about it!