May 4, 2021

Shawn Wenner on Entrepreneurship

Shawn Wenner on Entrepreneurship

.)  “Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well.”

2.)  “To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.”

3.)  “It is well and good to opine or theorize about a subject, as humankind is wont to do, but when moral posturing is replaced by an honest assessment of the data, the result is often a new, surprising insight.”


A little later in the show, we’ll be talking to Shawn Wenner – publisher of Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine so I thought I would read from the piece that he and his staff were kind enough to include in last month’s issue.

By the way, Shawn is offering a free subscription for an entire year exclusively to listeners of Chef Life Radio. The link and the discount code are in the show notes.

What to Do, When You Doubt

“In the meantime, cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, not to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases.” — Seneca

As a man, husband, father, chef and entrepreneur I have had my fair share of setbacks, failures and disappointments. I remember all too well the several dishes I was so proud of which didn’t sell or the restaurant I took over in Marblehead Massachusetts that six months later was shuttered because the original owner had a tax debt that couldn’t be renegotiated or wished away.

Often the memories, when I, my team or my operation have come up short, are more real, visceral, and annoyingly present than the successes we’ve enjoyed. Is there ever a time when you think about what you could have done differently to change the outcome of ‘X’? Maybe it was a stage, an interview, a job change, or a business that you started? My failures can sometimes be quite mesmerizing, haunting my actions and forming my perceptions in the now; causing me to mutter a mantra-like, ‘this time I’m gonna get it right’.

I consider myself essentially an optimist; what other label could apply to someone who has been married and divorced three times? If I am honest with myself I must also admit that there are times when I doubt. Sometimes that doubt can turn into an impediment to progress; it can stay my hand and have me questioning my decisions.

Nothing is so dangerous as doubt if it has us second-guessing our essential mission. If that is true, then it must also be true that doubt can also serve as a catalyst for change and evolution, forcing us to reconsider the mechanism for our vision. The trick is not to get stuck in the doubt and let it become a mental circle jerk, undermining the ‘why’ of what we do.

In moments when I doubt, I take heart in the realization that certainty is for fools and wisdom comes from a consistent evaluation of goals and the path with which we achieve them. There may be many trails up the mountain but the summit remains the destination.

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." — Marcus Aurelius