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Feeling the fear might be what you need!

In business, as in life there often just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do. Starting my own business has so many rewards and even though I get up in the morning and walk downstairs into my “office” instead of the one and a quarter hours commute I still find the two and a half hours gained are still not enough!
Life after all is an adventure and if we don’t try then how will we know if we can do something? I have spent all my working life encouraging young people and peers to try, to push themselves, to feel a little uncomfortable about what they are doing. It is by stretching ourselves that we grow and learn to know what we are truly capable of doing. Self-doubt is natural but should not stop us trying.
In hospitality, we continually need to find new ways to get customers and staff to experience new things, this often means changing behaviours, attitudes and traditions. We would question if this is right for us and for the business, but if we don’t challenge and change then we become static. Static is NEVER good. This leads to complacency, mediocracy and an unrealistic expectation of unattainable growth.
When change occurs, time is needed to allow the new to become embedded as the foundations. Consolidation is allowing change to become the norm from which growth can emerge.
So why am I writing about challenging people and behaviours? This week I have been involved in pulling together entries for one of the industries major competitions for young chefs, The Roux Scholarships - www.rouxscholarship.co.uk.   This requires tomorrows talent to show their skills to gain a life changing experience. I have been delighted to see what they can do when challenged with a few ingredients to create a prize-winning recipe. They are stretched to show the judges their ability to create, describe and cost their recipe. This may sound easy but how would you convince three of the most famous chefs in the UK that your recipe is the one they should choose to go through to the highly contested regional finals?
I have also been following the progress of young front of house talent who have got through to the finals of The Gold Service Scholarships - www.thegoldservicescholarship.co.uk for their chance to experience life changing opportunities. They have been through two stages of skills and knowledge rounds and face the finals at The Connaught serving champagne & canapes to the invited guests, then a 3-course luncheon and accompanying wines. This is all to enable them to demonstrate their table and customer service skills. Again, an experience to challenge and stretch young people who will be the front of house managers and stars of our industry in the near future.
None of these entrants will have taken their entry lightly, they have all worked hard on making their entries the best they can, studied and perfected their skills when other colleagues have been off duty, have stretched themselves further than they could have imagined and with no guarantees of being the winner at the end. BUT they are all winners in so many ways, what they have gained from their efforts, the networking with fellow professionals and those at the top of our industry will still have life changing benefits to them all. Their desire to be up there amongst the best of the best must be applauded and celebrated. Their contribution to the businesses in which they work and industry in general through this experience will be immeasurable, and those that can will enter again to try and succeed next time.
The challenges will undoubtedly have been many, the fear of failure high but all the entrants have at least challenged themselves and this alone creates change within themselves and firm foundations for success for their futures. I applaud you all. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Feel the fear, you won’t regret it and good luck to all those going through, there are exciting times ahead!


Suzanne Weekes has over 30 years of industry experience in teaching and training. She is able to relate to employees at all levels. Since 2017 she has been an independent consultant, offering practical business solutions, hands on training and advice to get the best out of people in the work place.