How Millions of Restaurant Workers Can Reinvent Their Jobs and Lives - Live and Work with Purpose

This article is for anyone who has lost their restaurant job and income in the recent pandemic. Needless to say, millions of small business owners have been crushed by Covid-19, as have hotels, airlines, cruise ships, the meetings industry, banquets, weddings, catered events, graduations, and basically, life as the planet earth knew it.

Let's face it, you either choose to adapt or not. Like learning to bus tables, wash dishes, serve tables, choose wines, and get bit, fat tips, you can learn anything you set your mind and heart to doing.

Now that we agree on the fact that mindset matters, and you need to reinvent yourself, and fast before the free $600 a month runs out next week, let me tell you why I need to write this article now.

Servers Serve!

I have great empathy and compassion for small business owners, and in particular, hotels, restaurants, bars, and kitchens that crank out meals that warm the heart and soul because we are servants deep in our souls.

If you're like me, you love to serve people. If you've worked in restaurants, kitchens, hotels, or any service venue dealing with the general public, you either have a passion for it, or not.

Shangri-La Motel became Brickyard Mountain when my dad managed it.

I always had a passion for helping people even though I did not like working in most of my past restaurant jobs. I loved working in hotels, especially once I got a job offer to work in sales and marketing. That saved me from my desperation working in the back of the house.

Here's a quick summary of my service work and how I got to owning a third, successful small business I built from scratch. More than anything else, I believe my early experience working in restaurants and hotels gave me the skills I needed to be super-successful in life.

  1. My father owned a small hotel and restaurant in Laconia, New Hampshire, where we grew up after moving from Boston in 1974. Somehow, my dad convinced my mother he needed to be an entrepreneur, and he became a partner and general manager for Shangri-la Motel.
  2. I loved the concept of owning a hotel when I was only 9. I had a make-believe hotel called The Hornbasket Inn located in the furnace room of the basement where my family lived. The beds were lawn chains stowed away for long winters. The signage was a horn basket I thought looked cool in my mother's Halloween collection. So I nailed it to the door with a "Vacancy" sign that emphasized, "No Vacancy for brothers and sisters." Yes, I was the firstborn. And I dreamed of owning a hotel just like my dad one day.
  3. I was 12 when dad gave me my first shot at being a busboy in his hotel. I had been hounding him to let me work for him because he was always my hero and like every kid, I needed and wanted to make my own spending money.
  4. My next job was at Hart's Turkey Farm where I worked summers as a dishwasher, then a busboy. I had many restaurant jobs after that.
  5. My first real job out of college was working for Sheraton Hotels in Los Angeles. In 1983, my dad got me an interview at headquarters in Boston. Before I knew it, I was flying to Los Angeles to work as a management trainee. I worked 70+ hour weeks, mostly in the kitchens, and I earned $1,333.33 per month, before taxes. You don't need to be a math major to know that working as a management trainee in any hotel or restaurant generally sucks.
  6. I hated working in restaurants with a passion. Chef Ian had a temper that raged slightly more than his propensity to launch a knife or kitchen utensil your way if you made one wrong move. I dreamed of getting another job one day, but what the hell could I do except work in hotels?
  7. I found a way out of the kitchens and restaurants, finally. I got hired by the sales and marketing director, Russ Dazzio, because he thought I did a great job as his server. I'm still in touch with Russ today because I'm eternally grateful to him for giving me my first sales job.

Disasters Happen

Even if you don't like studying history, here's a news alert: disasters have always happened, and of all kinds. The first economic disaster I knew hit my family when I was only 13 or so.

The Opec Oil Embargo lead to the collapse of the American economy in 1973. That was the beginning of the end of my dad's hotel, restaurant, and his income.

Suddenly, nobody filled their gas-hog station wagons with gas, luggage, and kids to travel from the "feeder markets" of the big cities south of us such as Boston, New York, Connectitut, and any city in range of the White Mountains and crystal-clear Lakes Region I was blessed to be able to know as a kid.

The economy came to a screeching halt much as we experienced recently with Covid-19 except people were sick with shock, fear, anger, and even rage standing in long gasoline lines as the cost of a gallon of gas went through the roof.

My parents were crushed by the failure, and I watched them bounce back, reinvent themselves by starting a small real estate company that still exists today; Old Mill Properties.

My father designed this logo during the economic crash of 1973.

Maybe There's A Better Way

Has it ever occurred to you there might be a better way to make a living using your God-given skills beyond in a restaurant? If so, keep reading because I found a way to help hundreds of small business owners and their hard-working teams with their business planning and execution because that's what I do for a living. I've owned my own business since 1991 and made all my paychecks ever since.

Every crappy job I ever had compelled me to believe there could be a better way to make a living. My father preached "education" as the saving grace. "Get a good education, son." Dad was right about a lot of things. Earning a useful, marketable, college degree such as International Business, Economics, despite taking on student debt at 7% interest, would give me many opportunities that people without a college degree.

But nobody needs a college degree to create the life and work of their dreams. All it takes is the burning desire and guts to do the work which is to take charge of your life and build a richer network. You need desire and work ethic and values people can count on.

You also need to increase your awareness of new opportunities that are in line with your values, financial needs, your gifts, passions, and talents. The way to do that is to read, network, get online, and connect with people you want to be like, and ask them for help!

Serve Others In Different Ways

It's human nature for us to want to help others, unless you're a psychopath or narcissist. If you have a talent for serving others in a restaurant or other areas of hospitality, you have a knack for selling yourself. When you match a knack for selling yourself with the clarity of knowing what your next job or opportunity is, you can go for it.

If you like "helping people" we can agree you have a mindset for selling. Selling is helping people get what they want. We have head trash and strong opinions about salespeople based on our belief systems; mindset.

Both of our sons, Chris and Alex, learned the power of being gentlemen and working in restaurants or hotels growing up. My amazing wife also encouraged both boys to work from an early age so they could learn the value of hard work, and what it feels like to earn, save, and even invest money.

The lessons we learn working in service postions can set us up for the rest of our lives if we can believe in ourselves and learn new skills, and how to improve networking skills, interview, and get connected with the people who will hire you as an employee or independet contractor depending on your skills and goals..

What follows helped me, my wife and both sons to leverage working in restaurants to build incredibly rich, rewarding careers using our sales and service skills learned in restaurants. Our entire family grew up working in restaurants serving others.

How to Reinvent Yourself - Live and Work "On Purpose."

The best way to improve your life, your career, relationships, etc. is to take 100% ownership for everything that happens.

Okay, so there's a pandemic. Deal with it and adapt if you're the kind of person who likes helping people and making a difference in the world.

Never stop improving your mindset by reading and learning new things that align with your soul. Your soul has a purpose, I believe. I knew this as a kid, and I hunted long and far to connect with my highest purpose as a small business owner and family man.

Trust me. You can reinvent yourself into anything you want as long as you believe in connecting each day with your purpose as you evolve here on earth.

NOTE: If you can't think of a purpose right now, start with "Making a difference by serving others and getting paid handsomely for it, and having fun!"

Take These Suggested Steps, Next

Now that you own your mindset and all outcomes, you need to make a plan of action. It doesn't have to be fancy.

I suggest getting a notebook or journal and dedicate it to planning, sketching, painting, drawing, writing, and creating the life and work of your dreams.

I'm about to give you the steps to take to write your life and career plan. This is the short version to help you get started. Use your common sense to make my shortlist yours, and follow the process I'm giving you.

Let me emphasize an important point before you read the list ...

If you don't take charge of your life, who will?

The process I'm sharing never fails. People fail to follow through on the process. It's that simple.

What you're about to read and begin applying can help you get the next job you want, or help you start a small business of your own working as an independent contractor or "freelancer." I've worked this way for almost 20 years. I've done it from the comfort of my home office and my life is rich with purpose and joy because I found a way to love my work.

So can you! Never stop believing in yourself.

If now is your time, this is the way I and hundreds of other people I've taught, mentored, coached, and employed have used their God-given ability to serve others in ways that helped us find purposeful ways to make a great living.

  1. Commit. You need to create a written plan for your career and life. Use your new notebook or journal. Use the elements that follow.
  2. Take inventory. This means making a list of your professional strengths, talents, and passions. Assess your list and use it to get your next gig.
  3. Update your social media profiles and positioning. Perfect your professional positioning as you expand your network. This includes complete, honest profiles with professional images that are current.
  4. Write a personal mission statement. Your mission statement is what you do. It might read like, "High-energy customer service specialist serving XYZ (a type of customer of employer you want.) "
  5. Write your personal vision statement. Your vision statement spells out where you see yourself in three to five years. Again, write and act "as if" you are achieving your mission, vision, purpose, and goals each step of the way. It might read, "I am a successful sales executive earning $95,000 a year serving the needs of ...."
  6. Write your personal purpose statement. I always believed I had a unique and useful purpose for my work and life. In fact, the keyword to describe my purpose is "empowerment." My purpose is to empower others by sharing my knowledge in books, articles, videos, classes, webinars, and coaching programs I've created for more than thirty years. What is your purpose? If you don't know, keep reading, learning, and asking yourself the question, "What is my purpose?"
  7. Set your goal with intention. Focus only on one goal at a time. This is your big goal. All goals have objectives which are milestones you set and hit along the way. For now, your goal is probably to get a good job. Your objectives might be to get your resume updated with your social profiles, start applying for jobs and connecting with new people on LinkedIn, and scheduling conversations and job interviews.
  8. Keep score of your activities. You can only control how you behave; your activities. Getting the soulmate of your dreams, winning new customers, succeeding any sport or endeavor, we set goals and keep score of our activities. It's a numbers game! The more you connect with new people and apply for jobs, and follow up better than most, the faster you will be on your way to sleeping well at night.
  9. Follow up. As you build your network and list of potential employers, follow up! I hire a lot of people for my business and client companies. I coach sales and marketing teams and one of the most important points I hammer home is the power of ongoing, relevant, appropriate follow up. Most people don't follow up enough. They quit.
  10. Visualize, work on your inner game. Life is a game of confidence. The fastest way to get confidence is to practice seeing, feeling, and trusting you are doing your very best. Clarity comes from contemplating and living life with intention and purpose. Clarity gives you confidence because you know where you're going. If you know where you're going, you can take meaningful action steps.
  11. Be accountable, disciplined, and focused. The best strategy people know not to do. They are accountable to others, often their team or family. If you know where you're going and you work hard at it, you will get results.
  12. Never stop. The process of learning, growing, networking, and serving others never stops if you're willing.

Next Steps

Remember, the process of planning, learning, and growing is the secret to success. Follow the process I've given you and make it yours!

In summary, I'm sorry if you're suffering through a job transtion that is due to circumstances far beyond anyone's control. If the time is now for you to reinvent yourself, now you have a simple formula, or steps to follow.

Follow the steps. Believe in yourself and the power of the process I'm giving you.

Connect with me on LinkedIn if we're not already. Ask for help. Find mentors. Read books. Take online classes. Hire a coach you like and trust.

Build your network and never stop. Your network is your net worth!

I can't emphasize enough how grateful my family and I are to live and work on purpose. Our journies began working in restaurants, kitchens, and hotels.

What this means for you is you can do the same thing we did if you follow the process and never stop.

Need help? I'll give you up to 20-minutes of my time IF you book the time on my calendar and show up on time!

Click here to get on my calendar.

Learn more about what I do professionally by clicking here.

P.S. Want a free career coaching session from the #1-rated career and life coaching company in America?

Click here to connect with my friends at Ama La Vida.

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