Our family Wednesday night theme dinner last week was Mardi Gras. We were late. Mardi Gras this year was celebrated 8 days earlier, Fat Tuesday. But, who cares? Why can’t any day can be Mardi Gras? James R. Creecy in his book Scenes in the South, and Other Miscellaneous Pieces describes New Orleans Mardi Gras in 1835:
Shrove Tuesday is a day to be remembered by strangers in New Orleans, for that is the day for fun, frolic, and comic masquerading. All of the mischief of the city is alive and wide awake in active operation.
Fun and frolic is certainly one way to get your kids engaged in enjoying a family dinner together. Usually celebrated on fat Tuesday, to prepare for lent I feel that you can use this at home to celebrate fun and celebrate being goofy. Unintentionally, we celebrated it just in time to kick off our beach body readiness. Just about 30 days before spring break this was our last binge before bikini season. In a way, it was our own Fat Tuesday.
Our menu: -bayou shrimp -lobster bisque with crusty bread -healthier chicken and Andouille jambalaya
To set the stage for a “party” instead of dinner we had the Dirty Dozen Brass Band station on Pandora and fancy kid cocktails.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne. Stirring often, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 45 to 60 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Stir in the green onions and serve.
Notes: resist the temptation to add additional seasonings. There is something magical about the bay and cayenne combination.
My friend’s enthusiasm over this book, The 4 Hour Body, interested me enough to download it the same day. He was geeked, and rightfully so. He attributed techniques in the book to losing double digit pounds in 14 days. For a tall and naturally thin person this is quite a feat. As a health conscious person, always looking for ways to improve, I was intrigued.
I downloaded the book on Audible and listened to it in it’s entirety in less than a day. I was not hooked by all of the great tips that I couldn’t wait to put into practice. I was hooked by the bizarreness of it. Much like you can’t take your eyes off of a creepy movie, I listened to nearly 4 hours of weirdness.
Practices I will put into place from 4HB:
1) Start each day drinking a glass of cold water. This one makes sense and is practical and I heard Cameron Diaz tout it is one of her beauty secrets.
Practices I will continue that were reinforced in 4HB:
1) Don’t drink your calories. I am much happier enjoying cheesecake at the end of a meal than hating my pillow for hurting my head after too much wine. 2) Cheating regularly. Not only does Berta (the 300 pound Italian girl within me) win sometimes she should.
Practices I will ignore from this book (and recommend that you do too).
1) Avoiding all things white. This is too stressful (and expensive) and you should be able to enjoy the food you eat in moderation. 2) Avoiding all fruit. No comment necessary. 3) Avoiding dairy. I don’t think any of us would be too fond of osteoporosis. 4) Eating canned beans and vegetables. Have you checked out the sodium in these? 5) Drink 2 glasses of red wine every night. What happenend to not drinking your calories?
Downright ridiculous comments in the book
1) Europeans didn’t have fruit year round and yet we exist today. Yes, but they only lived into their 40’s and how about that scurvy? 2) The 15 minute orgasm. He is pretty liberal in what he considers an orgasm. Me, I am much more specific and I bet that you are too. 3) CEO’s don’t act like sex machines. He obviously doesn’t watch much news. Business leaders, politicians, clergy, there is no industry free from sex addicts. 4) On cheat day eat until you’re sick. Boy, that sounds like fun. Just like the diarrhea he says you may get from this lifestyle. I think I will pass . . . and I don’t mean pass gas.
As for the 4 Hour Anything, hard work is and always has been the only way to get ahead.
What is the craziest diet or exercise that you have tried?
A colleague of mine recently posted this in a New Year / New You accountability group on Facebook and I found it so simple and at the same time so powerful that I wanted to pay it forward.
101 Three-Word Success Tips
1.Drink more water. 2.Watch less TV. 3.Action makes traction.
4.Try new things. 5.Hang in there. 6.Get better daily. 7.Begin with enthusiasm. 8.Finish with flair. 9.Celebrate small wins. 10.Eliminate wasted steps. 11.Aim higher sooner. 12.Never stop learning.
13.Start fresh today. 14.Write that letter. 15.Practice deep listening. 16.Pay yourself first. 17.Seize the day. 18.Cashflow is king. 19.Life is good. 20.Eat more vegetables. 21.Thank your Mom. 22.Make others shine. 23.Ask me anything. 24.Think WAY bigger. 25.Focus your energies. 26.Now beats later. 27.Tweet more often. 28.Zig don’t zag. 29.Marketing comes first. 30.Hug your kids. 31.Content before commerce. 32.Never sell alone. 33.Don’t get distracted. 34.Always ask “Why?” 35.Amp it up! 36.How doesn’t matter. 37.Invite and engage. 38.You’re already there. 39.Make silly faces. 40.Get off email. 41.See the sunrise. 42.Simplify, eliminate, outsource. 43.Kiss your dog. 44.Fascinate to dominate. 45.Write it down. 46.Keep on truckin’! 47.Love your clients. 48.Ask for help. 49.Value follows fee. 50.Never give up. 51.Decide, organize, act. 52.Sharpen your edge. 53.Lose some weight. 54.Hammer it out. 55.Doodle more often. 56.Drink hot coffee. 57.Expand your circles. 58.Consider crazy alternatives. 59.Chinese food rocks! 60.Use beautiful things. 61.Not so fast. 62.Get a massage. 63.Unlock, unblock, unleash 64.Go for no. 65.Blow ’em away. 66.More chocolate, please. 67.Fill your buckets. 68.Don’t shy away. 69.Give more generously. 70.Don’t be scared. 71.Freshen it up. 72.Go play outside. 73.Thank your heroes. 74.Respond, don’t react. 75.Sing real loud. 76.Schedule “me” time. 77.Bake a cake. 78.Live the dream. 79.Invest in yourself. 80.Fall in love. 81.Seek the truth. 82.Avoid the obvious. 83.Laminate your kudos. 84.Birds gotta fly. 85.Fish gotta swim. 86.Potential ain’t performance. 87.Relationships are perishable. 88.Kill your television.
89.Make that call. 90.Hire the weirdo. 91.Speak more honestly. 92.Track your progress. 93.Decisions drive momentum. 94.Take notes everywhere. 95.Look further ahead. 96.Stop playing small. 97.Sell the dream. 98.Deliver the goods. 99.Never shortchange yourself. 100.You’re so ready. 101.DO IT. Now!
I know, I know . . . who goes to an animated film and looks for the business lesson? Me, me, me, me. As a parent and as a business leader I could kiss the producers of these fabulous children’s movies. They are captivating, entertaining, enjoyable for all ages, and, if you pay attention there are great lessons in them.
A Bug’s Life – never give up on your inventions. Meet the Robinsons – never give up on yourself. Even Shrek- look for the inner beauty. Robots, is one of my all time favorites – “find a need; fill a need”. Look for what the world needs, what is missing or needs to be complete and fill the need. If we all looked for just one need to be filled, it can be as simple as picking up the little piece of trash instead of walking past it, imagine the sense of accomplishment we would all carry with us.
We decided to start a new tradition this Christmas and we joined millions of people at the movie theater. Who knew so many people enjoyed movies Christmas day and where were the Walmart people screaming that theater employees have to work on the holiday (we’ll save that for another discussion).
We chose Rise of the Guardians.
Super movie with two great lessons. Earlier this week I posted that one step to reaching your goals is to find your “why”. Your purpose for wanting to achieve your goal. In the movie each of the Guardians is driven to keep doing what they do by their why. North, who we would call Santa Claus, is driven by wonder. He is trying to convince Jack Frost that he is destined to be a Guardian and urges him to search for his why so that he can understand his destiny. Jon Gordon recently published a book “One Word That Will Change Your Life”. If you can get your “why” described in one word you will find more success in achieving your goals. With business goals, financial goals, fitness goals, personal goals; you will find it to be easier to stick to your plan if you are driven by your one word.
Here was the second lesson. This one really struck me. In the clip from the movie attached you see a brief moment when the guardians face a child. Their job, their purpose, is to protect all children on Earth yet when they meet this little girl they don’t know what to do with her. They have found that they were so busy working for the children that they forgot to work WITH the children. As I relate to this as a leader, I think are we so busy working on the policies and procedures for the business that we forget to work with the people on the front line of the business? The workers, in my case the sales team. As leaders it is important to not only work on the business, but to work IN the business.
What is your one word? How will you make sure to work IN the business?