Now What? Q &A: Doubts, Fears, & Big Undertakings

Today’s question is an excerpt from Ginny’s interview with lawyer-turned-chef, Andy Broder, highlighted in yesterday’s article.

 GINNY: Once you decided to build your own studio, was there any point where you had doubts or fears arise?  And if so, how did you deal with them?                                                                 

ANDY:  Well, I think there are always doubts. I don’t think I had doubts about specifically wanting to do it. I knew that it was for me going to be a big undertaking. I think that when you’re in the mode of saying, “I like this prospect and I think it’s going to be good,” and you’re being creative about it and you’re practical at the same time, and you’re applying tools to take ideas and turn them into something that’s a real thing, that if you are excited about it, you have concerns or those fears but you deal with them and you keep moving towards your goal.

Cooking Up a Change: Lessons from a Lawyer Turned Chef

by Ginny Kravitz, Deputy Editor


As a kid, Andy Broder spent his Saturday mornings watching Julia Child on TV, but a career in cooking wasn’t even on the radar. It’s hard to imagine now but this was before celebrity chefs and Food Network. Viewing cooking as a hobby, Andy chose the field of law for his career and became a litigator.

Change Brewing

After five or six years, Andy had the vague sense that he would not be practicing law for the rest of his life. His dissatisfaction grew and he began to entertain the idea that by age 40 or so, he would transition to a new career, whatever that might be. A few years ahead of schedule and after 12 years practicing law, a potential change in his firm’s partnership arose and it became a natural time to leave. With no specific destination in mind, Andy sold his interest in his firm and decided to take some time off. “Because sometimes not doing anything is really doing something.”

He thumbed through books in the library and contemplated various professions. “But I always kept going back to the food section.” Andy’s decision to enroll in Scottsdale Culinary Institute was made with the rationale that even if he ultimately chose not to have a food career, he would be happy to have the knowledge. In that case, he would call it a sabbatical and could always go back to practicing law.

He followed his instincts and, rather than take a kitchen assignment at a hotel or restaurant, Andy obtained an internship on his own, writing for the Food Section of the Los Angeles Times. There he felt he would learn the most and be able to do what he loved: develop recipes and test them. Stating that he studied as hard for the culinary exam as the bar exam, Andy graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was a graduation speaker. “I wanted to get 100%.”

A Career That Cooks

Andy describes his process after graduation as part Zen in approach. “I continued to do what I liked and test the waters of what I thought I was going to like.” After five years of teaching around town, he decided to pursue the vision that was taking shape: his own “culinary studio” — a term he has registered as a trade name. To do this, he added some very practical disciplines into the Zen mix, namely a 20-page business plan and precise design specifications that would transform a former Pilates space to the kitchen and studio he envisioned.

AndyFood opened in 2003 and today offers cooking classes to the public, team building for organizations, client appreciation events, and private parties. Operating with the mantra of “the art of a good meal”,  Andy has observed that people like being part of a creative process. Classes culminate with a buffet of the students’ collective culinary creations which Andy says produces the feeling of being part of “something bigger than you”.

Commenting on how house parties usually end up with everybody in the kitchen, Andy says that part of his own enjoyment with AndyFood is that on a daily basis he gets to be “in the kitchen where people are having a party”.

When I asked Andy what he would say to someone who is contemplating a career change, he offered: “I think people should do something they really care about.” He then added that it’s important to be wary of “ruining your hobby” because not every hobby is meant to be turned into a profession.

“So, you haven’t ruined it for yourself?” I asked, “You still love to cook?” Andy’s answer: “I do.”

“I didn’t find a place where my peg fit into that shape hole.
I sort of created my own space to do what I want to do.”
Andy Broder

See Also: How Careers Are Made, 8 lessons we can take from Andy’s story.

Complete interview posted here


by Now What?® Coaching Founder, Laura Berman Fortgang

Here’s a far out idea. If your job search or dream goal is not coming along as you had hoped, write a story about how it could and watch your circumstances change.

“Really? Can that work?”, you might ask.

Yes, it can and let me tell you why. When you write fiction and allow your imagination to take over, you are wiping out linear, logical thinking and tapping into your intuition, also known as your superconscious. (vs. subconscious) When we approach a strategy linearly and it does not work out, we have a hard time tapping into a new, creative approach and tend to get stuck repeating the approach that is not working over and over again.

When we use our imagination, as in writing a fictitious, outrageous story about how our goal can come to be, we are tapping into our intuition, getting away from linear thinking and coming up with new ideas that may work to change our circumstances when put into action. We are also tapping into a greater knowing within ourselves that may not have been obvious to our conscious, linear mind.

For example, Marty is a hard working CFO of a hospital and has been ready for a new job for a long time, but has been stuck and not getting any substantial results from sending out resumes. He has used the bad economy as a reason to drag his feet and not be too aggressive about his search, assuming he should be grateful to have a job and not rock the boat to find another. When he gets a burst of energy about his search, all he can think to do is to send out more resumes.

When asked to write an outrageous, fictitious story about how he lands a new job, Marty struggled at first. That’s not unusual. We are not used to using our imagination or even thinking it’s a worthwhile exercise to stop and write a childish story about getting what we want. Yet, Marty managed to leave his disappointment and disbelief aside for an hour and let his imagination take over.

“I am sitting outside the hospital one day and the CEO’s of several hospitals are walking around during a break from some sort of conference. Two of them come over to me at different times and tell me they have heard of me and wondered what it would take to get me on their team. We have meetings in the next couple of weeks and they have a bidding war to get me. I have my choice and go with the highest bidder securing a contract that with bonuses that could create great security for my future. Within a month from that day on the bench, I am in a new job and very happy.”

Marty’s story seems far-fetched. That’s GREAT! That’s the point. Now, will his story come to be just because he wrote it that way? Likely not, but we have seen stranger things happen in our Now What?® career transition coaching work. However, where the gold is here is to then interpret what your intuition may be trying to tell you as it snuck into your story. What parts of the story are actionable? What hints can you glean from it?

Marty saw that he was not networking at all and that he had to be out to industry events and shaking hands again like he did in the beginning of his career. He took that message from his intuition to heart and created a linear plan of action for being in touch with more industry people. This was his ticket to a new job. Within six months of active networking, he was getting responses to his resumes and interviewing with hospitals that he would be happy to work for. In eight months, he had a new job.

No matter what you may be stuck about, career or not, use fiction-writing as a way to see your situation differently and be released from the ‘no -results-zone’ and ushered into the ‘opportunities-come-my-way-zone’.

It really is all in your mind and how you see things……..I want you to see what I see……POSSIBILITIES. You really can write your own ticket.

Based on Chapter 9 of “Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction”, “Life Often Does Imitate Art; Write Your Own Fiction”. More on this topic in Laura’s upcoming “The Prosperity Plan” (January 2011)

Now What? Q &A: Laid off, where to go from here?

Today’s question comes from a member of our community in New Jersey who participated in a recent Community Call, and is answered by:Laura Berman Fortgang.  


Hi, Laura.  Like you, I’m an alumna of Montclair State University.  I was the first one in my family to go to college and after I graduated, I realized I had no professional models to look to.  Rather than work with children, which was my interest at the time, I became a secretary because I was able to make more money.  But now, I got laid off and I’m wondering where to go from here.  At this point in my career, I enjoy working with adults.  I have a 21-year old daughter and I’m not sure whether to go back to school or look for work elsewhere.  What do you think?


I want to acknowledge you for the paths you pioneered in your family and  for modeling to your daughter what’s important in the world.  Of course security is important to you, but being laid off is an opportunity to change.  Just like the stock market corrects itself if it goes too far one way or the other, a lot of people now are getting to correct course as well.  If doors are not opening in secretarial jobs, for instance, maybe it’s now time to get to do what you want to do, after having done what you had to do.  I can hear in your voice that you’re a poised person and that you have a good personality and an honest work ethic, so remember to build on these things.  This may mean meeting people in person, networking, and talking to people you already know vs. just sending out resumes. 

See what other opportunities might be available and launch a multi-faceted work campaign.  Sending our resumes is not enough.  Paper doesn’t work as well as meeting people does.  When you get out there and meet people, you’ll be able to make your own opportunities.  For example, you mentioned that you work as a volunteer to teach English as a second language.  Do they need a program coordinator or other person on their staff?  Think creatively.   Every industry has people they need in support roles.  See what you might find just by being more aggressive.  Allow yourself to dabble, to try some things.  You’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone and when you do, just remember that discomfort = growth.  Go out and shake some hands.


A Lifetime Passion Lights Up a New Career

Michael Leigh started looking through telescopes as an 8 year old and his interest in astronomy stayed with him in the form of a lifelong hobby.  After losing his job as vice president in a manufacturing plant, Leigh took temporary employment with a telescope manufacturer, while making plans to run a bed-and-breakfast with his wife.  The Observer’s Inn, located in Julian, California is designed for star gazing, with a  private observatory that Leigh built by hand with a friend.  In reading Leigh’s story, we’re struck by how one’s interests and passions, when nourished over the years, can germinate and come forth in unexpected ways.  Kudos to Leigh for creating a new career he loves and for sharing his sense of wonder with others.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

“Star Gazing as a Second Career.”