Create Your Own Star

I was having dinner with friends last night at a restaurant in Dana Point. The chef came to our private room several times to check in on us as we were happily grazing through the eclectic menu.

He was a young chef whose passion for cooking was evident in his face. He was in his element. The creations that came out of his kitchen were beautiful to behold. In fact, there were two dishes that no one wanted to touch because they were so artistic. At one point, he shared that he had the opportunity to work at a three Michelin star restaurant in L.A., but when presented with the opportunity to work in a restaurant in Orange County (where he grew up), he said that he couldn’t pass it up.

“Don’t chase your star, create your own”

This young man’s passion for pursuing his dream led him to the realization that he didn’t have to ride on the coattails of someone else’s accomplishments; but rather, he could pave the way himself. To be clear, all of the employees at the restaurant worked seamlessly as a team. And I don’t think that he was in any way promoting just himself, but rather he saw himself as part of a team who could make a difference in the food industry in Orange County. The restaurant doesn’t have a Michelin star (yet). But I wouldn’t be surprised if the accolades started racking up in the near future.

But the conversation with this young chef got me thinking. Why are we so intent on chasing the accolades of others? Why not create our own pathway…our own star to chase? The metric of success doesn’t have to be measured by society’s standards. Why not figure out the definition of success–our own star–as it relates to us, our passions, our goals in life?

I’m guilty of looking at the success of others and wanting what they have. It’s an easy trap to fall into. But I need to not chase their star…but rather, I need to create my own. What is success to me? What will make me happy? What will fulfill my need to make a difference in this world?

I became an educator because I wanted to work with children. I wanted to make a difference in their lives. I also wanted to give back to a profession that gave so much to me. I was blessed with so many wonderful educators throughout my entire schooling (kindergarten to doctoral studies) who have challenged me, supported me, and encouraged me to become a better version of myself. Their respective stars were theirs to pursue (or create). Now it’s my turn.

As I figure out what I want to do for the next stage of my career, I will keep in mind the words from this young, up-and-coming chef…

“Don’t chase your star, create your own”

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