So I was reading a book the other day, and I came across this chapter comparing craft and success. The author suggested craft is that deep sense of gratitude for that thing you do that makes you think, “I really get to do this!?” Whereas the mentality that drives success-oriented careers says that regardless of what you do, you must do just a bit more to be fulfilled or find contentment in it, creating a whole slew of anxieties along the way. It made me think about what I do. I wonder what folks would consider a “successful” caterer? One that makes a good deal of money? One who is well known in the city as one of the best? One who has perfected the particular niche that he/she has chosen? With such definitions in mind, I don’t know if I would consider myself a “success.” But here’s the thing: I also don’t think I want to pursue this kind of success at this stage in my journey.
The truth is, if this is success, then I don’t think I could handle this along with my personal life and family. Not to say that I don’t value setting goals, and striving for excellence, but what I’m talking about is the mentality behind the goals and the striving, that makes one feel continually discontent, pushing a little further to reach whatever will finally bring the satisfaction of “success.”
However, I do consider my work in catering as my craft. And I LOVE developing my craft. Part of the love is in good part due to my husband making the money that pays the bills and so the pressure to grow my customer base more and more and make the business grow larger and larger is really not a weight on my shoulders. That’s a big part of it, I realize that. And I realize that not everyone is afforded that luxury. This allows me to have a few customers who I can strive to make happy. The niche that I have chosen with special dietary needs is one that means something to me, more than one that is meant to propel me forward financially. Because I am not bogged down by business, I actually can take the time to discover new recipes for an upcoming cooking class, or go shopping for pottery, or work on my food photography skills, or write a blog like this one! And when my little one, who is not yet two, wants me to read her a story, I can. This summer, I intend to work on the craft of cooking with the bountiful harvest from our farms and gardens. And I will likely blog about that too. I hope to always feel that excitement of learning something new with my cooking, of meeting new people and being able to fulfill a need with my catering. I want to think, “I really get to do this!?” when I think of catering as a career. And if struggle for success or financial gain trumps the gratitude for what I have RIGHT NOW, I hope that I can see it, and can make the change that is needed.
What about you, and what you do? Do you consider it a craft?