Stop Playing Small
I felt fierce.
We need to stop hiding. Stop playing small. When you feel like a badass - claim it!
I’m standing in the messy twin bedroom on the main floor of the 17th century Tuscan villa we rented to host our 2019 culinary tour. I was feeling totally in control and ready to expedite our final 7 course dinner for 22 guests with a team of 3 chefs and 4 servers.
Last October, my husband and I rented a stunning villa in the Tuscan hills overlooking Lucca, Italy. We hosted 22 guests for a week of absolute culinary glory! We toured wineries, markets, held cooking classes and hosted elaborate 5-7 course dinners with the freshest ingredients renowned to that region of the world.
Each morning we would whip back our sheets and stumble into the kitchen. There was no talking before the coffee was brewed. Freeman would peel, clean and cut up the melons, pineapple and fruit and I would shuffle around the kitchen in a silent but controlled frenzy pulling out plates, silverware, coffee mugs while boiling eggs, setting up trays of meats, cheese, breakfast pastries and bowls of muesli, yogurt, jams and honey.
There was something magical that happened to me that week.
I embodied a bold sense of chutzpah.
The second we stepped into that villa, we owned it! It was my house now. (At least for a week!)
Throw me a challenge and I was ready to hit it back over the net!
Lead 22 people around an area of a foreign country we’ve never been to before. Done.
Navigate specialty food shops, which included figuring out where they were, when they were open, whether or not they would sell to us and do all of this in a language we did not speak. Done.
Expedite dinners with 150+ plates per night. Done.
On that last night, I pictured myself wearing something elegant. A beautiful dress or sophisticated pant suit. Something that matched the grandeur of the villa and gorgeous Tuscan surroundings with a nod to Italian style and beauty.
But that quickly shifted when I realized the impracticality of the outfit and shoes I selected and the trek that was necessary to move 150 dishes from the kitchen to the outdoor lemon house and back - inside, outside, inside, outside. All. Night. Long.
I ran back to my room before the 1st course was plated and threw on my most comfortable travel outfit complete with apron and American tennis shoes. (Sorry Italy, comfort and practicality for the win.)
There was a chill in the air as the sun started to set that evening, so I grabbed my scarf, which somehow elevated the whole ensemble and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and snapped this picture feeling badass and bold.
It was show time! The final performance of the week. Pure culinary theater. The whole villa was buzzing with excitement and I felt ready to bring it!
Too many times we shy away from owning our power. We shut it down in fear that others will judge us or think we’re too much.
I say stop hiding!
Let’s celebrate being fierce and share the moments we harness power and courage.
Life is too short to let them pass by.
Megan Gunnell, LMSW Founder & Director of the Thriving Well Institute, psychotherapist, retreat leader, speaker, writer and entrepreneur. Loves to experience the world through food, culture, art, music and travel. Believes whole-heartedly that practicing gratitude, self-care and mindfulness are the foundation of thriving and living in joy.