Just Take It Off The Menu

One thinks of Wisdom as something acquired later in life. If we are lucky we learn it through years of experience but not always is this so. It can be a gift earlier from one of our colleagues or friends who at times act as our “teachers”.

At one time in my health care career, I was included in a consulting project headed up by a respected friend. Her food service company was charged with the responsibility to evaluate the systems and procedures of a large hospital’s food service and clinical nutrition department. My task was to facilitate the work of the group assigned to evaluate the current menu and its preparation and service procedures with the objective of making changes to increase patient satisfaction.

It was rewarding work for me. I knew through experience the challenges of providing a nutritional and acceptable menu for a hospital patient population. I also enjoyed the interaction with the dietitian and supervisors involved in the group. They were competent, and dedicated to delivering excellent results.

There was one consistently rejected menu item involving a chicken leg. The group worked tirelessly to improve its cooking method, seasoning, and presentation. The patient trays continued to return with that item not eaten.

At the next reporting meeting with the Consulting head, the group explained what had been tried with no success. She listened carefully, was quiet for a few moments, and then said, “Take it off the menu, problem solved”. We had not considered that as an option.

That wise advice returns to remind me every time I wrestle with trying to perfect something that resists my every effort. I “take it off the menu”, set it aside, problem solved, and focus in another direction.

I am sure you have had “teachers”, givers of wisdom, in your life. Please share your stories.

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