The Recipe for Success: Top 7 Tips from Chef Jeff Henderson

Jul 28, 2020, 12:38 PM by Nuvision Credit Union 

Last Thursday, Chef Jeff Henderson joined us on our “Breakthrough to Financial Success” webinar for an inspirational talk. Along with foundational success principles, he shared his own story of growing up and overcoming hardships as a troubled youth to becoming a well-known speaker, best-selling author, and celebrity chef.

His advice is especially needed at a time when many, especially young adults dealing with school closures and uncertain job outlook, feel stuck. Implementing these seven principles will allow anybody to conquer the hurdles life throws at them and start building a better future.

Have the right mindset. 

Growing up, Chef Jeff didn’t understand the importance of education, hard work, or believing in himself. When turning his life around, the biggest thing that helped him was changing his mindset. “The world is not perfect. There are always going to be setbacks. This is where mental toughness, having self-confidence, and having self-worth will allow you to battle any of those storms,” he said.

It’s this same mindset that will help anybody struggling today conquer their current circumstances. “You have to carve out your future despite COVID-19, despite what is going on in the world.”

Play to your strengths.

Chef Jeff’s success only came after he was able to understand his unique skillset. He discovered his entrepreneurship and business sense at an early age but didn’t recognize how he could use it for good until years later in life. After discovering his passion for cooking, he realized he could combine it with his business sense to launch a successful career.

“You have to build a brand. You have to know thyself,” he explained. “Successful people who have financial stability, who don’t live paycheck to paycheck, who live in the house with the white picket fence--they got there because they played to their strengths.”

Know your weaknesses.

Equally important to knowing your strengths is understanding your own faults. Or Chef Jeff said, “Know what you suck at.”

If you know what you’re struggling with, you can get better or direct your energy towards something more beneficial. Spending time in an area that has no potential to grow is a waste of resources. Instead, you can grow your brand based on what you already do well.

Develop multiple income streams.

Maintaining a side hustle takes hard work, but putting your efforts into a business or project outside your day job can be instrumental in achieving financial success. It can also open doors to more opportunities and allow you to meet people in your desired industry.

“It’s ok if you work a regular job,” Jeff said. “When I worked 9-5, I had a side hustle. Multiple income streams allow you to achieve financial goals quicker than you ever thought possible.”

Develop relationships with potential mentors.

As Charles Jones famously said, “It’s the people you meet and the books you read.” Chef Jeff is living proof of this message. His career really kicked off after he got a job working at a restaurant and started getting to know Robert Gadsby, one of LA’s most hardworking and successful chefs. Realizing how valuable it was to learn from somebody else’s experience, Chef Jeff emulated everything he did.

“I peeked through the window in his office and saw the books he had,” Jeff said. “Then, I went out and bought them all and began to study.”

The people around you do have an effect on you, and as Chef Jeff pointed out, that can be either positive or negative. He didn’t have positive role models early on in life, so finding them later made a significant impact. Surrounding yourself with success-driven people is a huge motivator and can bring you one step closer to finding your own success.

Study, study, study.

At one point in the live stream, Chef Jeff turned his camera to show the rows and rows of books in his home library. “I study subject matter experts because I need to know what they know. How did they get there? How did they win?” he told the audience.

Studying is vital to success. Read. Watch videos. Connect with people who are doing what you want to do. Whatever you do, find a way to get to know your industry.

The more knowledgeable you are, the more value you can bring to the table.

If you can see it, you can be it.

During the Q&A session, a college student frustrated with the lack of opportunities due to the COVID-19 crisis asked Chef Jeff what he could do to succeed during this pandemic. Jeff’s response was the same as it would be in any other situation, “You need to hustle.”

He told the student that this was the perfect time to gain knowledge and figure out where he wanted to go. Everyone has access to books from the library, free resources online, and YouTube videos, it’s just a matter of taking advantage of it.

The principle “If you can see it, you can be it” is the title of Chef Jeff’s book because he believes realizing your dream just a matter of making it happen. With hard work, the right mindset, and a little direction from your mentors and studies—you can accomplish anything.

Don’t miss your next opportunity to learn! 

We’re grateful Chef Jeff was able to join us and share his advice. We hope that these principles will inspire young people everywhere to make the most of their time, even when the future looks uncertain.

Helping the next generation succeed has always been a part of our mission—it’s why we’ve hosted an essay challenge program to bring in experts and former NFL players to teach financial literacy, a subject often ignored in the classroom. During these difficult times, we are even more committed to bringing resources and mentors into the lives of young adults just starting to build their lives.

For more resources on finances, success, and entrepreneurship, remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There, you’ll find updates on the new ways we’re helping hard-working people accomplish their goals and dreams and ways you can get involved.

To view more clips from Chef Jeff’s talk, visit our YouTube page here.

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