Chefs, it’s time for a celebration. Blog by performance psychologist Mike Duckett

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th December 2017

Performance psychologist, Mike Duckett explains why chefs should indulge in a 'champagne moment' when they achieve a goal with new blog.

I’ve just had an excellent glass of champagne with a client of mine and shortly I’ll be making my way to meet another client, so we can share another glass!

champagne moment1Nothing remarkable about that you might say, after all it’s Christmas and we’re all celebrating.

However, neither of my client celebrations has anything to do with Christmas, in fact my clients and I share ‘champagne moments’, hopefully, throughout the year. That’s because whenever we achieve a goal we celebrate, which is an important part of continuing to progress and achieve more.

Champagne moment

The ‘champagne moment’ is something we agree as a point in time when we’ll know it’s time to celebrate something that’s been achieved.

It’s relatively easy for sports people to know when they’ve achieved their goal because they are usually setting out to achieve something tangible and observable, such as winning a competition on a certain day or putting in a personal best time etc. All easily measurable and obvious when achieved and you’d expect them to have some sort of celebration, even if it’s just high-fives.

What are your goals

Now think about some of the goals you wanted to achieve this past year. Have you achieved them? How do you know if you have or you haven’t? If you wanted something such as to get a particular job, or to win a Michelin star it will be obvious to you if you managed it; you’ll have the job or the star. But what if your goal this year was something like ‘to develop my plate presentation skills’ or ‘to be an inspiration to my staff’? When my clients set a goal such as this I just ask them, “how will you know when it’s time to buy me a glass of champagne to celebrate that you’ve done it?” That makes us think about the goal in such a way that makes it much more likely to be achieved because it can be envisioned clearly and fixed in the mind.

Why we should celebrate our victories

So, having done that and got a clearly thought through goal established, you might ask why I insist we stop and celebrate when we’ve done it. It isn’t just because I like Champagne!

As I said before, stopping and celebrating is an important part of moving on and continuing to achieve. There has been a number of studies looking into the benefits to sports teams of short periods of celebration; even simple touching like a pat on the back or high fives has an effect on future performance.

reenergiseIn one study the researchers were looking at touch as a form of communication amongst basketball teams and they noticed that teams who celebrated with pats on the back, high fives etc. early in the season went on to better performance later in the season.

I think a large part of the benefit comes from taking a break from moving forward to be mindful of how far you’ve come and just how you’ve performed to get you so far. For example, one Michelin starred restaurant I know went through a very long rebuild and refurbishment, including a complete change of ambience and menu. During all this work the staff just carried on. However, some time later, when we took time to review the journey, the exec chef regretted they hadn’t taken a short time out to let everyone celebrate the fact they’d worked through all the disruption whilst keeping most of their regular clientele and adding new.

Allowing people a moment to savour their success has positive effects on morale and re-energises people to face the future. As Fred Bryant, a social psychologist, says, “when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience...and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress”.

From my experience of working with endurance athletes, when you’ve run 50 miles and you still have another 50 to go, that’s the time to reflect on how far you’ve come rather than how far you have to go!

So I hope I’ve made you think back over this year and recognise some milestones to celebrate but even if you didn’t set a goal, celebrate anyway – after all, it’s Christmas.

Mike Duckett
Mike Duckett

Mike Duckett has a degree in psychology and is a member of the Occupational Psychology division, the Sports Psychology division & the Coaching Psychology Special Group of the British Psychological Society. He holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy & Cognitive therapy and is a certified NLP coach.

With over 20 years experience he was one of the pioneers of applying performance psychology to coach people in the hospitality industry to get the best from themselves, in areas such as creativity; leadership; optimism etc.

As a certified NLP Coach and ANLP Accredited Master Practitioner, Mike has clients ranging from world renowned chefs, restaurateurs & sommeliers to up and coming staff in both the kitchen and front of house. You can see more of Mike's blogs

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th December 2017

Chefs, it’s time for a celebration. Blog by performance psychologist Mike Duckett