Well Hallelujah! Turns out, cooking all of those dinners for my son’s volleyball team was a good bet after all. Don't get me wrong, I really wanted to cook for the boys and enjoyed the process---mostly. There were times when I'd gotten so caught up in reading thru recipes and testing variations that would travel well, I'd forgotten appointments made weeks, sometimes months earlier. And of course, there are mornings and afternoons of tasting involved, which can lead to regret when you're suddenly reminded of that special girlfriends only birthday dinner taking place that night. Fortunately, the team parents generously contributed to the cost of food, but what was I thinking when I didn't even consider charging them a wee bit more to pay for my time and all that running back and forth with a carful of hot food? And carrying heavy cases of bottled water?
As hoped, the exposure my cooking received from those wonderfully sweet and appreciative boys, led to acquiring my very first client for No Reservations. She's not even family! Nor is she a close friend, in fact I don't really even know her. But her son likes my food and she is hiring me to cook for a wedding shower this summer and I'm delighted.
But get this---after spending time wondering why we women have a tendency to short change ourselves when putting a dollar amount to the services we provide, and asserting I would not become a victim of my own insecurity, I quoted a very low figure to this woman. As a result, I lay awake half the night asking WHY did I do the very thing I declared I would never do?
And it dawned on me. Yes, part of the reason is that I'm still not convinced that anyone would actually PAY for my food. Don't they know I'm just a wanna-be chef? Okay, maybe others don't enjoy cooking with the passion that I have, but still.
The other part of the equation, at least for me, is that I really want to make people happy. I have this urge to take care of others, to rescue them, to give them sustenance. And I really want to make this lovely lady happy. And I don't even know her! Is this an inherently female thing?
When I look at the businesses my girlfriends, strong women all, are running, they share a common trait. They all make people feel happy or safe or secure or taken care of. In fact, my own career history reflects this too--executive assistant, child and family therapist, stay-at-home mom, budding home chef.
So I'd love to hear from you on this topic. Are character traits, like self-confidence, ambition, empathy & a need to nurture, to some extent ingrained in our genetic DNA? Is there really such a thing as "a feminine or masculine side"? Do you think it's nature or nurture that brings out these qualities? There was a time I thought I knew the answer to this, but now I’m not so sure. What do you think?