Passion, Courage and Support

The three words from the title are quite important when it comes to happiness and success. To illustrate this, I will briefly tell the story of an 18-year old young man from France. Romain – that is his name – has had a passion for hospitality for years. When he turned 16, he decided to leave the mainstream high school system and start an apprenticeship to become a professional waiter with an eye to become a sommelier later on.

Passion is a powerful driver. It gives the ability to engage and pursue towards the objective regardless of difficulties and setbacks. It provides an almost indestructible optimism and perseverance. With regards to success, passion certainly contributes greatly to achieve what others might consider difficult or risky. Passion gives a confidence and a desire that shows others that success is possible. This is exactly what Romain has demonstrated over the past two years. His passion and motivation have helped him dare something different and so far he has achieved amazing results. Next to passion, he also has enough courage to dare into new challenges and see what he is worth.

Romain during the competitionHe decided to get out of his comfort zone and to participate in a couple of professional contests. Romain lives not too far away from Lyon and Burgundy. These regions have strong culinary traditions. Some of the greatest French chefs and restaurants are located in the Lyon area. For instance, Paul Bocuse or the Troisgros brothers made their marks from this part of France and achieved worldwide fame. Just one year in apprenticeship, he enlisted to compete in a regional hospitality contest. There were 286 candidates nationwide. He finished second. This opened him the possibility to test himself in the national contest, in which only the top 28 from the regional events were competing. He finished 17th while facing candidates with many more years of practice and experience, and quite a few twice his age. As the professional jury and observers know how to look beyond just the ranking at the event, they are able to spot potential. And Romain has plenty of it, just as well as he has the courage to put himself on the line. This serves him well because after his participation at the national level contest, he got approached by a high-end restaurant owner who wishes to keep in touch with him for later, as he would like to hire him. As another positive consequence of the contest, Romain has been awarded a 2-week training in a high-end restaurant of Parma, Italy, a culinary centre if there is one. There is no need to explain the feeling of pride and achievement for the young man. He dared to risk a disappointment and reaped the promise of an exciting career. Romain is not a mutant. He is pretty much what you could call the boy next door. He is just like most teenagers, a bit shy and still in the process of finding himself. The only difference with others may just be that he overcomes the little knot in the stomach and the clammy hand palms and takes a chance. After all, he had nothing to lose at this stage of his professional development. To succeed, and he does, it just takes a bit of courage to show courage. Of course, such a positive attitude is well-served when your direct environment is there to give the needed support.

The first level of support came from his family. We all hear about stories of people who had dreams and passions that got talked down by those around them. Arguments like “it is not for you” or “that is not a real job” or “in this family, we do not do that kind of work” are not uncommon. We all have heard such stories from successful artists who were stubborn enough to ignore and disobey in order to succeed. Opposite to that, how many people have ended up in jobs they dislike, simply because of pressure from relatives or teachers? Probably more than we think. At least, Romain’s family looked at his future happiness, bought in for his passion and did everything that was possible to find him a good school, a good apprenticeship restaurant and to make him feel that they believed in him and in his future in the professional choice he made. More support came from his teachers who understood his passion and noticed his talent for the hospitality business. That, too, gives a welcome boost to achieve success. And of course, Romain gets full support from his employers at the restaurant where he works as an apprentice. Quite early in his job, they realized his potential and on a busy day with a shortage of staff, they asked him to take charge of the gastronomic restaurant room. He executed his task with baffling effectiveness and professionalism. Romain delivers, and the restaurant patrons appreciate this young lad who shows so much maturity at serving them. It serves Romain quite well, too, as he regularly receives generous tips for his impeccable service. It serves him well with regards with his employers, as he gets even more support back in return for his good work.

So, there you have it! The right mix of passion, courage and support working together to help achieving success, fulfillment and the promise of a happy future for those who have it.

Note: One more detail about Romain: he is my nephew. Like the rest of the family, I am really impressed at what he is achieving. He would love to have an assignment abroad, ideally in New York City. Hopefully, this article will bring him some new opportunities.

Copyright 2014 – Christophe Pelletier/The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.

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