StewYesterday, I described awesome in the context of cooking a stew. You’re the chef, and you’re the one who’s responsible for putting together the ingredients. In other words, you’re the one who’s going to make the whole larger than the sum of its parts. I described it in the context of working on your ideas, but I’d like to broaden the meanings out to those people who have an influence on your awesomeness. When you’re working on your ideas, you want to find someone who’s going to enhance and bring their own technical expertise to the table. When you’re working on yourself, you want to bring certain types of individuals with you on the journey.

In cooking, there are some ingredients that are meant to be together and some which are ill advised.

Angry doesn’t work

Think about angry folks like putting acidic ingredients into the awesome stew. A little bit goes an incredibly long way, because angry usually doesn’t have buffers and controls on it. Angry for the sake of angry removes the subtlety and the delight – those who are angry will spread it everywhere. It’s like putting too much vodka in a screwdriver, or putting too much hot sauce into the stew. Folks who are perpetually angry will try to take over the project of being the chef, twisting the stew toward their purpose.

Depressed doesn’t work

Depression is anger turned within. These folks are the self deprecating ones. They’ll be the first ones to tell you what’s going on in their lives that makes them unhappy. They’re gonna be the ones who will yammer about money and other things. Just like the anger puts way too much acid into the awesome stew, depressed tends to have the opposite effect of offering way too many potatoes. In either instance, the awesomeness isn’t going to flourish as much.

Cynical doesn’t work

There’s a fine line between pragmatism and cynicism. The cynic will see what’s wrong and won’t proceed. The pragmatist will just know the odds of something happening. That cynicism in a project will take away the absolute desire to pursue it in the first place. When the cynic gets involved with the chef, a few ingredients get put together and then the enthusiasm peters out. As a chef, make sure that your’e not adding a bit of cynicism to your stew, so it won’t get forgotten on the stove because so many things could have gone wrong.

Selfish doesn’t work

It’s all about me. Me me me! These are the folks who will find a way to turn the conversation back to themselves, or they’ll find a way to make sure that all of the drama revolves around them. When you’re working on your own awesome stew, you have to remember that this person’s personal stew is more important than yours. The best way to work with these folks is to find places where the goals are common. The selfish person will be an awesome asset if you’re both striving toward the same end.

Remember that you’re the one who gets to determine the flavor of the stew that you’re producing. The best ingredients, the best flavorings are from those who you deem awesome. Essentially, awesomeness makes awesomeness. They’re really neat to be around just because of the way that they are. They’re awesome because of the things that they’ve done or the stuff that they think. If you’re working to be that much more awesome, pare down those folks who make you feel crappy or depressed and pick up those who make you feel like you could take on the world.