New Orleans Dooky Chase restaurant owner Leah Chase died yesterday. She was 96. Known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, Chase helped popularize as well as revolutionize classic NoLa food. I used to live in the Crescent City and her impact has always been strong in the city.
She was just as known for her work ethic as she was for her cooking. Like, she never retired. She was cooking every day she could until her death.
The New Orleans Advocate shared the perfect quote for her philosophy:
"When I wake up in the morning, I don't ask God what I want anymore, I tell him," she once said. "I say 'I want to go out and work.' Then I go home at the end and say, 'Thank you, God.'"
Here's why you should, and how you can, follow.
Your work isn't your burden
It's easy to take the weight of our responsibilities and interpret them as burdens. Indeed, as the saying goes, others would kill to have our problems. The key thing to remember is that our biggest issues often come from our privilege.
Chase's restaurant opened in 1946 by her husband's parents (her partner's nickname was "Dooky"). By the following decade, Chase took a leadership role and the small restaurant became a cornerstone in 1950's and 1960's civil rights discussions, continuing its influence through Barack Obama's presidential tenure and beyond.
She showed up every day, even as recent health problems made it a struggle. But, every day, Chase had the privilege to see how her business was impacting culture. Aches, pains and tiredness seemed to be a small sacrifice for her rare opportunity to change the world.
I have the privilege of
What I love about Chase is how she took the stress, instability and challenges of entrepreneurship and turned them into an exercise in gratitude. I believe this is the best way we create joyful and often more successful enterprises.
I talk about it in my latest book, Bring Your Worth: Level Up Your Creative Power, Value & Service to the World:
The car note. The credit card bill. The grocery budget. They give you the privilege to do what you do.
Your exhausting day as an entrepreneur reflects you having the opportunity to be an entrepreneur. Your mortgage reflects you being a homeowner. Your have tos are really your get tos.
You have the privilege of doing what you do. I suspect this is what sustained Chase until her last day.