I’ve been keeping something from you. I’ve felt all weird about it for so many months. Please, forgive me.
When big things happen, I usually tell you, too much, too often. I remember when I shared how frightened I was two years ago, and you rallied to support me like the best friends I knew you were. I was in a strange city, waiting to find out if I had won some award, freaking out about the good stuff and the tough stuff associated with building a small business on my own. Your comments eased me like nothing else ever has. I cried and smiled and never forgot the kindness you showed me in my crazy moment. You guys are really pretty great.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve felt like I’ve been keeping a secret, the sort of secret I don’t mind sharing in person — in fact, come over for a cup of lemon tea and I’ll blurt it out all over you. But putting it out there online takes it to a serious place. By typing it here, it’s as if I’m committing myself to something and, while it’s absolutely wonderful news, I want the right to change my mind, okay?
If we can agree to that… If we can agree that I can change my mind, then I think it’s time to share. I’ve talked to all the powers that be around me, and we’ve all agreed that it’s the best possible time.
BEFORE I spill my secret though, I need to tell you that this story is sponsored by the HP Pavilion x360, a devise that’s super unique and one-of-a-kind, sort of like my food life. I tell you that because (a) sponsored posts are very important to small businesses and (b) you have to know, you must know, that everything I write here is my own — my own words, opinion, and story.
Now onto my news, the news I have every right to change my mind about at any point, remember?
For the last few years, I’ve been doing three things. First, I’ve been building this baby business, Eat Boutique, full of food story goodness, my favorite food from small businesses, gift boxes created just for you and in-real-life pop-up events and markets. Second, I’ve been writing a cookbook full of 100 recipes to make, wrap and share, which will finally be in all of our hands in October. And, thirdly, I’ve been doing the first two while working a full-time role as a technology executive, a role that required me to travel to Europe all the time.
Effective late last year, scratch that third one.
Scratch that third one!
SCRATCH THAT THIRD ONE!
The universe is in my favor, the planets joyfully aligned and the stars have definitely conspired around me. After too many years of 18-hour days and non-stop travel, I’m now totally focused on living the life I dreamed. Meaning, I can now say that my full-time job is running my own food business and, thank goodness, I’ve found my life in food.
I’m a little anxious about it all, which is likely why I didn’t share immediately. The thing is, j’adore technology. It will always run through my veins and be central to my food business; sometimes, the travel-technology-life is just too exciting and I am such an Internet start-up girl at heart. And honestly, it’s devices like the HP Pavilion x360 that get me revved up to continue living the technology life.
I can’t say I won’t change my mind, but I’ve been ready to jump full-force into this baby business for a while. It’s time. Let’s just do this and everything we’ve always wanted to do already.
I know that this food life is for me. Building my own business is important — we all want to be our own boss — but building a life in food has been the goal, the light, the reason I was put on this planet. I don’t doubt that, ever.
Over the last few months, I’ve shared this news with some of you, almost in hushed voices over coffee cups, at our Eat Boutique pop-up boutiques. Do you want to know what most of you say to me? You say, “I want to do that. I want to find my calling. How can I do that?”
Ladies and gentleman, I want to take this opportunity to tell you 4 bits of advice that got me to this moment so that you can get to your moment. With much gratitude to the HP Pavillion x360, a device that also offers four cool modes — it can go into laptop mode, tablet mode, tent mode and stand mode — I’m going to share the answers to my most asked question at every single event.
Here you go…
FOUR TIPS TO FIND YOUR CALLING
1. Just start.
No one is going to write you a blank check to live your dream, so you’re going to have to just start doing something, anything, to get there. If you think you may want to write; start writing. If you think you may want to work for a non-profit; find a way to do that asap. Whatever it is, find small ways and small moments to just start. I started by clicking a button called “publish” on a blog post. I didn’t write well, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say, I just knew I had to start. The start will, without a doubt, cascade you into the next thing, and then the next thing, and then the next thing, that gets you closer to your calling.
2. Try everything.
If you don’t know what you want to do, you need to dabble in a little bit of everything to figure it all out. While working in technology, I worked every possible task from content development (writing!) to business management (worrying about the numbers!) to customer service (good old hospitality!). I also worked in a restaurant, ran a department store dedicated to flowers and even wrote unpaid pieces for anyone, everyone, to see what it felt like to be a writer. Go do all of that or everything that might interest you. You’ll get the privilege of deciding what you DO NOT want to do, and you may come across the ONE THING YOU LOVE.
3. Be stupid.
You may not know what you want to do and you certainly may not be an expert at it. Do this: let yourself be stupid, ask questions, and learn. The easiest way to figure out why you were put on this planet is to just start, try everything and, then, don’t pretend you’re an expert. If you knew it all, you’d be doing it right now. So whether you’re looking for your calling at age 18 or age 58, say “I don’t know” a lot and let someone else make you smarter.
I know this sounds obvious but it’s the hardest one for most people to get. No one else will believe in you until you do. If you figure out that food or fashion or taking care of people is your passion, start doing it and believe that you can. I run a food business and my underlying calling is in service and hospitality. After years of starting and trying everything and being stupid so I could learn, learn, learn, I learned that I can provide a superior level of service and I believe that I can, too. I believe in me. Go believe in you.
I should add this: I believe in you, too.
You are all so kind and caring and sweet to me. I’m putting out into the universe that each of you find your calling. I’ve met many of you in person. I know you and, listen to me right now, you so got this.
Thank you for letting me share my moment with you. Onward, as ever, to building this food dream in the sky. And see you in person, so soon!
Just so you know, this #bendtherules post was created in partnership with the folks that bring you the HP Pavilion x360 and Meghan Trainor’s That Base Tour, a tour that HP is supporting via this exciting gadget. Meghan Trainor is also a Massachusetts girl who writes catchy pop songs that you just can’t get out of your head… in the very best possible way.
Photos styled and taken by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio.
Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers and shares our version of #foodgiftlove. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop.
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now supporting entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses in service, food, & retail through Eat Boutique Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.