• Charli

Wellness Matters 23.07.2021

Peel Back the Layers

Growing up, Mum used onions as the base of most cooked dishes and I would love to watch the wee chunks turn translucent as they released their delicious juices, bubbling in the hot oil.

During the Edinburgh Foodies Festival several years ago, an Italian chef demonstrated how to make the perfect risotto, and he became impassioned when explaining that, in order to be successful, the ingredients had to be closely watched as soon as they entered the pan. First the onions, and then the rice, looking for subtle changes in translucency, before patiently adding the stock. Observation, he claimed, was an essential element to the process, and must be done with care and attention.

I was prompted to write about onions after reading a post by Michelle Brand who made the link that building a business takes time and dedication, rather like the onions releasing sweet juices. If we rush at the process we will end up with bitter burnt offerings.

Onion metaphors are commonly used to describe layers of love and understanding: peeling off the outer skin to reveal secrets, opportunities and creativity. The Social Penetration Theory uses onion imagery to describe the processes behind getting to know and interact socially with people. This is relevant more than ever now, as we emerge from the intensity of 16 months of pandemic restrictions.

I have just returned from a short shopping trip on North Berwick’s High Street, and it was lovely to pop in and out of the local gift shops, fishmonger and greengrocer, have a chat and feel connected. Those I chatted with all agreed that erring on the side of caution with regards coronavirus exposure is crucial if society is to have a chance of re-connection. I sensed an underlying reluctance to be ‘gung-ho’ about removing face masks and immersing ourselves in crowds, but we are getting there one small step at a time.

By gently peeling away our protective layers we can start to reveal our values, self-image, self esteem, deeper emotions, and therefore our vulnerability. Hiding behind a social media lens can give a false impression not only to our online followers but to ourselves: there are responsibilities that go with living an online life, from the platform provider to those of us who interact with each other. Furthermore, it stands to reason that we are not going to showcase the failures, wrong paths, U-turns, but they are there: etched in every brave new paragraph, full stop and capital letter.

Building a business requires relationships to be nurtured, layer by layer, considering, reflecting and gently revealing the full flavour of what is on offer to tantalise, inspire and satisfy.

Charles Duhigg was in conversation with Brené Brown on Dare to Lead and afterwards I watched Charles’ video Top 5 Tips on productivity. During his conversation with Brené Charles reminds us that the best ‘productivity app’ we have at our disposal is our own capacity for deeper thinking. Being able to quell the distractions that bombard us every day, peeling back the layers, asking the right questions for clarity and understanding, and being creative before being consumed by emails, social media, and instant response mechanisms will encourage and enhance productivity.

Productivity is high for me: my desk is a bit messy, my cushions need flumpfing, but I haven’t been this consistent with writing for a long time, and that's because I am focused on doing what I love. I approach my business in a planned, meaningful and authentic way, which, in turn, will benefit you, my clients.

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