The Union Club of Cleveland’s Lawrence McFadden, CMC, GM/COO, shares how he is pushing himself to evolve as a person and a professional.
What is it about change that strikes fear into our hearts?
Can anxiety around change be calmed with education, practice or repetition? Perhaps change is comparable to a mirror, in that it reflects our true selves in the matters we fear most.
Fear is defined as: “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” In our profession, change is critical in order to develop skills for sustained growth. We have been coached from day one to keep moving, not to stay in one place too long, and to celebrate the transient nature of our profession. Chefs carry change like a badge of honor, boasting about the various places in which we’ve worked and the culinary personalities with whom we’ve shared a kitchen. We tend to fear change even less as our careers progress, as we celebrate new locations, leadership and organizational change.
Recently, I rescued a three-year-old racing Greyhound from a local adoption agency. Once we got him home, it quickly became apparent that his racing training took place in the early hours. Every morning at 5:30 a.m., we were awakened to the sounds of barking. Irritated, I knew I needed to find a way to re-train our newest family member.
After several weeks, it became apparent that three years of habits weren’t going to change quickly. I found myself thinking about the leadership lessons I have learned from Stephen Covey: “Seek to understand,” and “Sharpen your saw.” Then it hit me. Just like in the realm of professional leadership, maybe I needed to adjust—né change—my schedule since it was my choice to accept responsibly for this animal.
Soon the aggravating barking became a welcomed wake-up call. Once tending to the dog’s daily needs, I slowly settled into a comfortable new routine. This new “found” time has provided an opportunity for me to think, write, read, and reflect before the rest of the house stirs and professional responsibilities creep into the day.
While change is normal for younger professionals who must contend with it regularly, change takes on new meaning for more mature professionals like myself. That soul-searching fear brought on by a forced change in our earlier careers inevitably leads to a sort of enlightened decision making.
If change without fear were natural there would be no need for coaches, mentors or drill sergeants. Someone or something is always pushing us further. Remember that the next time you ask a young chef to change or relocate and be sure you would still do the same for your own self-development.
For me, a minimal change led to a new, cherished morning routine that I would never have actualized had it not been for the arrival of man’s best friend.