Originally posted on AllBusiness.com
My heart is heavy after hearing that Anthony Bourdain, a man that inspired so many of us to eat better, travel well, and, in general, live life on our own terms, has left us. His impact resonates with millions of people (check out Twitter to see just a drop in the bucket of the respects paid). To tip my hat to the man who truly gave me a thirst for traveling beyond the tourist version of a country, I wanted to share a few things he had to teach us all about entrepreneurship.
1. Don’t be afraid to push beyond boundaries
If Anthony had let being a successful chef be the pinnacle of his career, none of us outside of New York City would have heard of him. But he decided he didn’t want to be defined by “merely” being a chef—he went on to author a dozen or so books and host multiple food and travel programs.
You might have worked hard to get where you are as a business owner. I know I have. But realize that you’re not limited to where you are. If you run an accounting firm, but really dream of teaching cooking classes, why not? There’s no rule saying you can’t do whatever your passion drives you to do.
2. Don’t stop moving
Fans of Anthony are throwing out quotes left and right in the aftermath of his death, and for good reason. He was a wise man (and wiseass). Here’s one I love:
If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.
While this quote applies more to travel, it can be applied to business as well. When you stop moving, you stop growing. If you’ve decided you’re doing everything perfectly in your business and that the world has nothing else to teach you, know that you’re wrong. Constant learning is what keeps you sharp and competitive.
3. Never stop being curious
Anthony was in his element sitting in some stranger’s living room in a developing country, his lanky body folded in half in an effort to not take up too much space in a house crowded with curious folk to see the strange American. He ate and drank things far out of his comfort zone, and very rarely did you see him grimace. (He did, though. I forget what he ate on one episode of “No Reservations,” but I remember him cussing about whatever it was and swearing it was the last time he’d ever try it.)
Being curious opens us up to new experiences. We can’t know what will make us better as entrepreneurs until we’ve tried new things.
4. Be respectful
One thing I remember clearly about “No Reservations” is how deeply respectful Anthony was in regards to other cultures. He learned words and customs that would show his gratitude, and he always politely tried any food offered to him, knowing that the families often could not afford to eat what they gave him themselves.
We’re all just here doing the best we can. The next time an employee makes a mistake, a client misses a deadline, or someone just plain irritates you, try to be more Zen about it and just be respectful.
5. Enjoy yourself
If ever there was a man who enjoyed life, it was Anthony Bourdain. He forged his own path, which is what attracted so many people to him. He was authentic (as evidenced by the many bleeps in his show to cover up his frequent cussing). While he is gone from this world, no one can look at his life and say he didn’t make the most out of it.
You get this one life. If you’re not happy running the business you’ve got, change it. Try something else. Don’t look back one day and have regrets.