Pat Katz Pat Katz




PAUSE – 11.37 – Voila!

REFLECTION:  Root vegetable soup, bison medallions, creme brulee, and a large serving of ‘Laurent’ on the side! That was the menu for a recent dinner in Montreal at a small restaurant made larger than life by the presence of the one man show that was Laurent.

Our server/chef was a tall, wiry character with an easy smile and a strong desire to please partnered with a clear love of food. Laurent moved back and forth through the restaurant orchestrating the experience for several small groups of diners. A smile of welcome here! An ‘I’ve not forgotten about you’ nod and tap to his forehead there. A hand resting lightly on a diner’s shoulder as he rounded the corners between the tables.

His eyeglasses flew repeatedly from their fold in his pocket to the end of his nose as needed. Warmth and energy emanated from the open kitchen – with the odd flambe thrown in for effect. The presentation of each dish at the tables was accompanied by a grand flourish of the arms along with a delighted, childlike clapping of the hands. The message? ‘Voila! Magic has just been performed before your very eyes.’

The food was good but the experience was delightful! How engaging to be in the company of someone so solidly in their element and so clearly in the zone!

We dined the next evening at a high end restaurant in Vermont where the food was superb, and the service was stellar. However, we both agreed our dinner was missing one key element – the joi de vivre of Laurent!


ACTION:  This experience made me wonder what others notice when they see me in action at work and at home. You might ask yourself the same question.

As we go about our daily rounds, do we infuse them with a sense of joy that brims with with the spirit of life?  Does our approach leave others smiling, delighted to have been in our presence for a time? Or does our approach fall into the ‘business as usual’ category – acceptable but unremarkable?

What would it take to tap into that playful enthusiasm more often? If we were to take a lesson or two from Laurent, the magic starts with a smile, it grows with an animated connection to those around us, and it culminates with pride in our accomplishments. Voila! We could do that just a tad more often, don’t you think?


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  “Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


RESOURCE OF THE WEEK:  One person who really loved what he did and believed in himself was Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, who recently passed away. If you haven’t already watched his life lessons commencement address at Stanford in 2005, pour yourself a cup of coffee and check it out.

This advice is part of the message: “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”


READERS WRITE:  In response to last week’s e-zine, “Psych Safety – The New Workplace Imperative“, Pause reader LC writes: “All the recommended actions are valuable and should contribute to a healthier workplace.  I would add random acts of thoughtfulness.  This should not be a contrived thing, though.  As we spend time telling people that we appreciate them in different ways, it can become second nature.  Maybe it means complimenting a person on reaching some goal or asking (without prying) how things are going. Maybe it means occasionally bringing a plate of cookies or a bowl of fruit to the office.  It is important to do these things without needing or wanting a “thank you”.  If it comes, that’s a bonus, but if not, you’ve still done the right thing.”

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Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines

No Responses to “PAUSE – 11.37 – Voila!”

  1. Peter Hiddema

    Dear Patricia,
    What a lovely post, with very useful reflections and excellent action items.

    I know for myself this notion certainly holds true. When I ground myself properly and focus on making an authentic and playful connection with the people I’m working with, magic happens.

    When I don’t, I might still manage to do excellent work, but NOT magic.

    Today I’m running a very different kind of session with a client and I’m doing my final prep. I was having my “warm up” conversation with myself when I saw your post. It’s perfect because I’ve had a number of VERY short sleeps and some big questions are weighing on my mind right now. But I need to be “present” for these people, and for myself.

    I will be sure to implement your wise words.


  2. Pat Katz

    It does start with each of us from the inside out. That’s so true.

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