Tag Archives: compete

I Have Something To Confess, How About You?

I hate cooking!

I sat down in my steaming hot kitchen, put my head in my hands and cried.

My face was flaming, there was ‘stuff’ on every work surface, recipe books were smeared with flour, the oven was working away, dishes were piled up, dirty pans that won’t go in the dish washer waited,  and I was in despair.

We were giving a ‘dinner party’ for  six guests (I know, not exactly a crowd) and I’d been running round in circles since early morning. I thought I’d been looking forward to it. I’d written my lists, done the shopping, even  laid the table. But the fact remained – I was in tears.

Apparently I’m not alone.  A recent press survey reported that many of us find the whole dinner party thing more stressful than seeing the bank manager or commuting to work!

So what’s the problem?

Here’s my Positive Spin.

  • I don’t like being ‘judged’.

There are so many cookery shows on TV and it looks so easy! They’re run by real chefs, all with years of training and experience,  owning  successful restaurants. Of course their meals are amazing. That’s what their diners expect! Of course I can’t match their expertise. But somehow, when I have friends around for dinner, because I’m not a natural cook, I feel judged.

  • I don’t want to ‘fail’.

I feel embarrassed if my roast potatoes aren’t perfect, my sauce has lumps (surely not!) or the steaks are over/undercooked. I worry that my menu won’t live up to expectations.

  • I feel out of my depth.

At the last dinner party I went to there were three desserts.  I just can’t compete!  What will they say if I only produce one! I don’t know how to make filo pastry by hand, unlike my talented friend. I’ve not mastered the art of home-made ice cream or perfect cheesecake.

And so it goes on.

So! What can I do about it?

  • I need to get ‘real’.

Sharing a meal is a way to get together and enjoy one another’s company. If cooking for a dinner party puts me out of my depth then I need to be very brave and say, ‘ We’d love to see you for dinner. I’m not too confident about cooking so we’d like to take you out instead.’

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are plenty of great pubs in the UK that serve moderately priced meals and even more choices in the US.

  • I can cheat!

There’s an amazing array of food out there, ready cooked. Indian food is especially plentiful and not expensive. I’ve found fantastic savoury pies, casseroles and pasta dishes on sale in some butchers’ shops, along with fruit pies, crumbles and mousse. Sometimes I buy the main course but make the dessert. Or I make a really easy but tasty and interesting starter.

I always tell my friends that I cheated and they don’t turn a hair. At least, not so far as I can tell. It’s their company that’s the most important part of the evening.

  • I must live in the real world.

Everyone has skills. Everyone. Not everyone is an expert cook, home decorator,  dress-maker…. whatever. It’s time  to stop stressing about it and simply confess that I don’t enjoy trying to cook restaurant style food for guests. It’s silly to pretend otherwise.

There! That feels better…

How about you?

Is there anything you need to confess? Go on, you know you want to…

You’ll feel so much better if you do!

Header image by cursedthing, post pic by lisaclarke, on Flickr.



Filed under action, adjust, anxious, change, confidence, expectation, failure, fear,, realistic, success

Hey! Failure’s OK! (Part 2)


from Schlusselbein2007


‘I can’t do it!’  

‘I’ll never be able to.’  

‘I’m rubbish at writing.’  

Steven threw down his pencil.  

I could see how red his face was.  

Tears weren’t far away.  

Many years and no doubt many tears later I met his mum in a local restaurant.  

‘It’s so good to see you again!’ she beamed.  

I listened while she told me with great pride, that Steven had just passed his law degree. A ‘2.1’.  A huge achievement for a dyslexic student.  

I learnt a lesson that day, a lesson about failure.  


Last week I wrote about my first two reasons why Failure is Good For You.  

Here are the next two:  


Failure is good for you because:  

3.   It makes you stronger.  

Steven had a very hard time at school.  Every step along the way was a struggle. Until he discovered the truth that his dyslexia was not his fault. He simply needed to be taught in the way that he could learn.  As soon as he  believed in himself and his ability things began to go his way. His self-esteem grew. It was a slow process, but he got there. He was determined to succeed, he believed he could, and he did.  

4.   Failure opens your eyes to the real world.  

It seems to be the fashion in some of  our schools here in the UK, not to allow a child to ‘fail’ at the annual school sports day.  

There must be no winners or losers, just ‘participants’.  

How can that be right?  

As the child grows he will face many situations in which he has to compete. That’s real life. Surely it’s good to experience not coming first while still young and to learn that,  

Hey! Failure’s OK!   

Why do we want to protect our children from the real world?  

We do them no favours.  

They need to grow stronger and a little failure from time to time will help them, in my view.  


So… over to you:  

  • Has failure made you stronger in any way?
  • Has failure opened your eyes to anything in the real world?

Do add your comments… you know what to do… 

Header image by abbyreed, on Flickr


Filed under action, adjust, anxious, dyslexia, expectation, failure, goals, hope, persistence, plans, positive, progress, realistic, success