I put up my first Christmas tree the other night, in my house that I sort of own (with my husband and the mortgage company of course), with my lights and garland and ornaments. I got to decorate it how I wanted and now we can enjoy it for 30 days or so to come. I really like my Christmas tree.. I really like the feeling of making something happen in my house.
The same night I decided to hang some decorations above the built-in wood China cabinets in this old house and noticed how dirty some of the woodwork and window area was above the cabinets. I got out my slick non-abrasive cleaner and started scrubbing away. As I was sitting up there on the buffet, alone in the house, listening to Harry Connick Jr. Christmas tunes, scrubbing away at perhaps decades of dirt, I thought, I might be the first person in a while to really love this house. These rooms have held countless people, I have no idea how many I just know that there have been at least two different owners in the last ten years or so, and before that, who knows. I don’t think in the last ten years there has been much improvement. There has been maintenance, nothing is trashed or ruined, but I’m into improvement. I envision this a place for me and my family and my husband’s family and eventually our children to enjoy because of its comfort, utility, and elegance. I put money into the house not because I think it’s going to make me happy to spend money, but because as with my personal life or my marriage I believe in improvement.
I changed jobs not so long ago. At my previous job, I thought myself an old hand at everything. I had been around since that particular restaurant concept had opened and thought myself pretty all-around experienced and better than everyone else at most things. I wouldn’t have said it like that, but that thought was lurking there just below the surface. Changing jobs and learning the ins and outs of a new one, whether it restaurant, office, whatever, makes you realize all the things you really aren’t that good at, at least for me.
In a way I had been so confident with Chin’s that I had left little room in my person for growth there. There is so much humility and discovery in learning a different place with different rules and policies and trying to figure how to be great here. The best part personally is to meet new people. I thought I would miss my employees at Chin’s so badly, and I do miss them, but I get to interact with so many fascinating new people at Qdoba. I get to focus on running a good business with great leaders helping me become a great leader. This is improvement.