Did you ever do something you really loved? You knew at the time, but perhaps you did not know the impact on you until later in life? And, because you can now possess the vantage point of hindsight, a greater appreciation of that thing has cultivated more love for the moments you experienced in the past.
I have gone through many such experiences. But the one that taught me, “learn it, live it, love it” was when I was a seafood chef in Scotia, New York at the Captain’s Cove, or “The Cove” as the folks who frequented the restaurant and worked there called it. I got the job at the age of 14 and worked through my undergraduate years during breaks and holidays until I was 23. The people who worked at the Cove came from all walks of life and have since gone in directions that have taken them around the world and back. We were all unique in our personalities, temperament, and perspectives on life, but we were a family. From the moment you walked in the back door of The Cove, you felt you were home.
Hughie and Mark were the owners (Hughie was Mark’s father, and Mark the head chef). Mark taught me everything I know about high-end seafood, soups, salads, and steak. Hughie taught us all the value of a quarter. More importantly, he coined the phrase for us, “Learn it, Live it, Love it!” On Friday nights, we would be in the weeds. In the weeds is an industry term for getting slammed with orders, dishes stacking up, and rolls for deuce (2) being called out by waitresses for busboys (like my brother) to prep and bring out to customers. Hughie would be sitting in the back at the desk, taking orders on the phone and handing them to my brother, who was running the front counter, prepping salads and rolls, and busing tables. In the middle of the chaos, Hughie’s calm voice would say, “Learn it, Live it, Love it.” He would say this phrase about other things, but these moments struck me as odd when they occurred. However, in time, the message became clear.
You see, we were not just coworkers serving food at the mom-and-pop restaurant. We were part of something great. We were connecting with each other as a team. We were connecting with customers with every order taken and food delivered. We were developing skills for a lifetime and not just for a moment. We were developing patience for others, the practice of living patience every day, and loving people more when that patience was rewarded with success.
But patience was just one value and skill; we were learning. We were learning how to be a community. We were living as a community connecting and serving others. And we would all grow to love those moments and those lessons for the rest of our lives.
Hughie passed away several years ago, but the spirit of his words lives on with everything I do. If I want to succeed at any skill, I need to LEARN the necessary skills, LIVE what I have learned, and LOVE the way I live.
What is it you want to learn? How will you live what you have learned? And how can you love the way you live?
Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate. That IS the 3C way.
With compassion, kindness, and appreciation,
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