What “Cut Throat Kitchen” Can Teach You About Business

I’m not a huge reality television show watcher, but what I do like to watch are competition shows. Whether it’s sports or competitive cooking, I like watching how people respond to pressure. (After all, as entrepreneurs we’re always under pressure, it’s just not as condensed as it is on television nor is it typically terribly visual.)

Anyway so there’s a new cooking competition show called “Cut Throat Kitchen” that is the perfect analogy of how we view challenges in our biz.

Here’s the premise — professional chefs are able to sabotage their opponents while they’re cooking. Maybe they take away a key food item, maybe they force them to do all their cooking in a microwave or take away their knives. It always changes depending on what they happen to be cooking (the chefs “bid” on the sabotage items).

Anyway so on one particular show, the last two chefs standing had very different paths on how they got there. The woman had very little sabotage done to her, but the man had pretty much everything thrown at him.

The last dish they had to cook was lobster rolls. When they collected their ingredients, one of the woman’s lobsters fell on the floor. She was so disgusted by the thought of cooking with “living” food, she decided she couldn’t be bothered picking it up and left it there.

Cooking commenced and as par for the course, the man lost both sabotage auctions and ended up having to cook around the sabotages.

And you know who won? The man. The reason why the woman lost is because she didn’t have enough lobster in her lobster rolls — if she had just picked her lobster off the floor she probably would have won.

Okay so where are the business lessons? Well to me this was a beautiful analogy of how you deal with set backs in your biz.

The man had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him, yet he prevailed. He easily could have folded and used what he had to cook through as an excuse for failing. Yet he didn’t. He found a way to succeed despite the outside factors working against him.

As a business owner, we deal with outside forces beyond our control every day. We could easily say we’re not successful because of the “economy” or not having the money/time/team or not living in a supportive environment, etc. But is that REALLY why we aren’t successful? Or is it just an excuse to fail?

The woman, however, sabotaged herself. She didn’t pick up her lobster. And she lost. Her mindset kept her from doing the one thing that would have allowed her to succeed.

So now I ask you — when you hit a speed bump in your business, what do you do? Do you immediately blame outside forces? Do you look for a way to succeed despite outside forces? Do you look at yourself to see where your mindset or actions could have led to this outcome?

There’s no question what I’m saying is much easier said than done, but if you can change how you view set backs, challenges and obstacles, that could be the difference between winning it all or going home empty handed.

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