Sir James and I have a favourite show.
Master Chef Australia.
You could say it’s the champagne of cooking competitions.
And not just because it pushes the standard of amateur cooking straight through the kitchen ceiling.
But because it’s actually up-lifting.
Unlike the North American cooking reality shows, Master Chef is all about helping and encouraging one another.
Not tearing each other down.
The focus isn’t on competition. It’s on creativity.
And that’s such a big difference.
Even so, at the end of the day, there's a prize to be won.
If you don’t perform well in a challenge, you end up at the bottom.
Which means competing in the dreaded PRESSURE TEST.
No one, and I mean NO ONE wants to go through this.
The Pressure Test has nail-biting time constraints and one terrifying task: Cook an impossible recipe created by a world-famous chef who will be watching and judging.
And when I say recipe, I'm not talking about one written on a 4 x 6 card.
I'm talking about a recipe that's often 12 pages long—one that normally take seasoned chefs MONTHS to get right.
The contestants on Master Chef only have a couple of hours.
Being in the Pressure Test sucks.
And yet, I’ve watched this show long enough to know that the cooks who go through this round are actually (in the long run) very, very lucky.
They learn and grow more than everyone else in the competition.
The Pressure Test gives each cook the opportunity to come face to face with the best and the worst of themselves.
It forces them to calm their doubt and fear—in real time (with the clock ticking and people watching and all their dreams on the line)—so they can dig deep and finish the very thing they thought was impossible.
You can’t get that kind of experience when you’re watching from the bleachers.
Contestants who are in the bottom again and again are almost always the ones who rise to the top to claim the prize.
It turns out that stressful experiences can actually be good for you.
Diamonds are created from pressure, my friend!
But I'm NOT advocating stress as a lifestyle. And I’m certainly not saying that life has to be hard in order to take home the gold.
Trust me, I’m a big fan of EASY!
Yet, when I look at my own life and remember all the challenging situations that have been thrown at me, I have to admit that those times always prepared me for something waiting for me in the future.
Something bigger and better.
Like the time I got my first design job in my early twenties as the Assistant to the Assistant to the Lead Designer/Showhome Coordinator. Within only a couple of months, (when the Lead was suddenly fired), I found myself catapulted into a top position that pushed me up against some very scary deadlines and a do-or-die proposition.
And guess what!
I discovered talents I never knew I had and developed a self-confidence that is still with me to this day.
I can get shit done, sister!
I also discovered my limitations. I had to learn to humble myself and ask for help. I had to learn that it's my responsibility to be honest about what I need.
That experience prepared me for a position within another company that allowed me to shine in ways I never could have imagined.
It also prepared me for my role as a coach, which actually has been the biggest prize of my life.
So the next time you’re faced with a pressure test of your own, GET IN THERE, GIRLFRIEND!
Put on your apron, roll up your sleeves and raise your hands in celebration!
You’re being groomed for greatness.
Accept the challenge and I'm certain you'll win in ways that will change the course of your life.
Sending you so much love,
PS. The picture for this blog is of a dish from a Master Chef Pressure Test. It's called the Jewel of the Sea and was created by Guillaume Brahimi. I love that it has inspired so many chefs to rise to greatness. Those who attempt to create this dish are changed in so many beautiful ways.