I recently met with a personal chef who wowed me with the explanation of the service she provides to her clients. Think cooking fairy and you’d be on the right track.
After quizzing her about her favorite knife (Hammer Stahl, for the record), I remarked that she must eat amazingly well, able as she is to whip up such delicious meals.
She shrugged and sort of chuckled. “I mean, I cook way better for my clients than for myself.”
I chucked back and the conversation proceeded accordingly before eventually reversing, when I made her repeat the name of her favorite knife and the amount she owns (1, for the record).
A few days later I was flipping through an old copy of Elle Decor when a spread caught my eye. In it, a beautiful middle-aged woman stands in the midst of her beautifully designed space, all smiles and bare feet and honey-hued waves.
The woman, Ellen Rakieten, writes that the design project came about when the dismal state of her bedroom was discovered by her friend and designer, Nate Berkus.
She recalls how Berkus had confronted her, saying “You are the executive producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show, the most ‘get it done’ and ‘make it happen’ person I know. Why does this room look like a hellhole?'”
Rakieten admits “After years of listening to Oprah tell viewers, ‘Your home should rise up to meet you,’ it appeared that my home was, in fact, lying facedown in the gutter.”
I started wondering after that how many of us are depriving ourselves of the services we lavish upon our clients, customers, and audience.
How many decorators are creating gorgeously elaborate spaces for their clients and going home to underwhelming, poorly appointed rooms?
How many financial advisors are spending their days ensuring their clients’ monies are handled responsibly while cheating themselves of properly managed accounts?
How many caretakers are devoting themselves to the wellbeing of another and neglecting self care in the process?
How many nutrition and wellness experts are nobly teaching their clients about the benefits of healthy eating, while opting to use cheaper, lower quality ingredients in their own diet?
It is essential that we embody the principles we prescribe to others, if for no other reason than not doing so makes us that ugly hypocrites.
If we’re prescribing it, after all, we must believe in it’s necessity. And if we believe in its necessity, then deprived of it ourselves, we will feel as though our lives are lacking. And if we feel incomplete, under-nurtured, and as though we are generally, “doing without” there is no way we will feel our best selves, capable of best serving the world.
Walk the walk.
Follow what you preach.
From this day forward, consider yourself your own VIP client.
Do this so that you can feel honest, so that you can feel consistent, so that you can feel good.
Because someday a person will turn to you and ask, “so, is this how you organize it in your own house?”
In that moment, when trust and creditability hang perilously in the balance, you’ll want to say yes. You’ll realize how silly it would all seem if you said anything other than yes– you, and the work you’re telling someone else to do. You’ll realize that no person can claim expertise in a field or course of action which they don’t give to or follow themselves.
If you’re me, you’ll smile, say “yep, that’s how I do it at my house, too.”