Welcome back Mise en Place Leaders! Good to return to providing you with creative and fun personal development tips from the world of cooking! I’d like to start this post off by talking a little bit about KitchenAid. Not to get too bogged down in history, but it is interesting to note that the KitchenAid stand mixer was the first in-home product of its kind. Considering this appliance’s steady increase in popularity for over the past 90 years, I’d say that it was a design made to withstand fads. But while this appliance was known for its standard mixing abilities, I believe it is the versatility of attachments that have kept it at the top of wish lists for so many years.
Since the 1930’s, KitchenAid has added an ice-cream attachment, a ravioli maker, and even a grain mill. Basically, if you can’t create a great meal using the KitchenAid mixer, you’re not trying nearly hard enough! And yet, amazingly, any attachment from a modern KitchenAid will fit perfectly into one of the original models made in the 1930’s! That is, the core design of the KitchenAid mixer has remained unchanged since the original product was released. So you may thinking to yourself, “Yes, the KitchenAid mixer is great and has a rich history. So what? What does this have to do with being a Mise en Place Leader?” Well, it all comes down to the symbolism, the deeper significance, of the KitchenAid mixer, and why I think (on top of its utility) it’s so popular with one particular population…Newlyweds.
I’ve gone to a lot of weddings over the past few months, and between all the tears of joy, toasts, and staged photos, I’ve realized a few things: For one, KitchenAid has definitely cornered the market on wedding gifts. Without fail, this company’s stand mixer is a requisite gift to all new couples. It’s as if you haven’t officially become newlyweds until that KitchenAid appliance has taken its place on the countertop. Secondly, weddings are meant to showcase new identities. That isn’t to say that newlyweds give up or lose their original personality, but weddings do seem to highlight the synergy between two people that seems to bring out the best in each person while adding something new that makes them even better. Newlyweds, at least on the wedding day, proclaim to their families, friends, and of course, Facebook, that they are just who they’ve always been, but in many ways they are stronger, more mature, and able to take on greater challenges with the help of their partner. Married couples may forget this from time to time as they “settle into” marriage, but the newlywed philosophy can make a significant impact in personal adaptation to a changing workplace or home environment. And this philosophy can easily be remembered by thinking of the KitchenAid mixer.
Simply put, the KitchenAid mixer has come to epitomize significant and desired change in life. It says “stay true to who you are, but be versatile.” The KitchenAid signifies the ability to adapt.
We don’t need to be talking about newlyweds to understand that people get most frustrated and angry when, a) they lose their own identity trying to please others, or b) they can’t find compromise with an opposing party (boss, spouse, child, etc.) during some disagreement or negotiation. [Side note, come to think of it, remind me to send a KitchenAid mixer to Congress!] While these seem like opposite ends of the spectrum, if you take to heart the message of the KitchenAid mixer, then your strong personality as well as your ability to compromise will develop into strengths on your quest to become a Mise en Place Leader.
But remember, it’s the Mise en Place lifestyle that leads to significant development, not just agreeing with my metaphors. You already know that staying true to who you are while being versatile enough to meet the demands of a specific situation are both crucial; now you just need some help figuring out HOW to do that.
Here are today’s tips for success:
1) It’s impossible to be yourself if you don’t know who YOU are, so you must begin to figure out what you actually value in life. These aren’t behaviors that you enjoy doing, but rather they are a set of personal standards that you seek to uphold as much as possible. This is your “original stand mixer!” It should never change regardless of where you are and what you’re doing. Keep your core values simple, just as KitchenAid has done with the base of their mixer. If you’d like some more guidance, complete the sheet I’ve linked for you here. You can get many more free activities similar to this from the website of Russ Harris, who is a doctor specializing in committing to personal change. Or you can check out his book, The Happiness Trap, but start with the exercise I’ve linked. It’s very enlightening and will give you a great start!
2) I’ll be simple and to the point: TRY, SOMETHING, NEW! That’s it, step out of your comfort zone one time today. Once! Simple, right? Maybe, but here’s the development portion: Apply your values from above to this new activity. That is, if you value health and exercise and your spouse says you don’t do enough as a couple, maybe you can agree to go to that Zumba class she has been trying to get you to attend. If you value collaboration at work but your daily tasks keep you in front of a computer, ask your boss if you can take on an extra project with one of the sales teams. The Mise en Place Leader finds a way to live by their values in every situation! Once you have a set of strong core values established, you can actually begin to productively compromise more often, not less.
What are some of the core values you came up with? Share why these are so important to you below.