A few years ago, I was in a relationship that – it turned out – didn’t really work for me. In many ways it was fun and exciting and adventurous, but something was amiss. The guy I was with was kind of aloof, and it felt like, no matter what I did, I didn’t get the love or time or affection I really wanted.
My coach at the time, Rachel Cole (whom I adore), is all about living a well-fed life, and she had the perfect food-based metaphor.
She said, “You feel like you’re gathering up the crumbs from under the table, when what you really want is the whole damn cake.”
Well. Rachel put words to something I had been feeling intensely, but hadn’t been able to articulate. I hadn’t even known I was allowed to want anything other than what I had. (This, for the record, is one of the moments that made me fall in love with coaching…)
In fact, it felt like I’d been wanting the whole damn cake my whole damn life: relationships, work, friendships, family, food – everything.
It wasn’t just this one relationship in which I was gathering the crumbs from someone else’s table. The metaphor applied to almost everything.
This was probably the moment I woke up from my frustration in my job, and started wanting to ask for the whole cake in my career (which brought me to starting my own business…).
I share this story because I’ve heard variations from my clients, too. They want the whole damn cake: the support they really need, the success they really deserve.
We can be guilty of making do with just the crumbs in our businesses as well as our love lives, thinking we don’t deserve even a slice.
Or maybe we kind of forget that there even IS a big old cake available, we’re so used to crumbs.
Like me in that relationship, we have to figure out how to ask for more. (And sometimes we have to go someplace else where they sell cakes, because it turns out that this place doesn’t have whole cakes available, or perhaps not the flavour that we really want…)
If you feel like you’ve been gathering crumbs, I invite you to grab a notebook or have a conversation with a friend, and perhaps consider the following questions and ideas, designed to help you ask for, discover, or even bake your own whole damn cake:
What does the cake you want right now look like? If you take the metaphor as far as you can, what do you want from the sponge, the icing, the decorations? What flavour is it? What ingredients does it use? What could these things mean to you?
When you see the cake, take the first bite, enjoy it over a few days – what does that feel like? What would be different if you went from gathering crumbs to having the whole damn cake?
How could you ask for the whole damn cake? Would it be asking for the help you really want, carving out the time to be creative, pricing your products appropriately? Or perhaps something else?
How could you learn to make your own cake? Maybe you’d learn about cultivating your audience and making your marketing really effective so that you get the results you want. Maybe you’d learn about scalable income or wholesaling your products. Maybe you’d learn about adding in strong foundations to your business so that it becomes really enjoyable and satisfying to run (aka eat!).
I share this story and these prompts because we all deserve to have the whole damn cake. We don’t need to scrabble around on the floor for crumbs, left over from someone else’s perfect cake.
My job is to take clients from feeling frustrated, feeling stuck, and feeling overwhelmed to feeling confident, clear, and courageous. Normally this requires heavy doses of defining success on your own terms – making up your OWN recipe, rather than following someone else’s. (You like the darker chocolate for the icing, right? Or the frosted rose petals? Or maybe a perfectly ripe, perfectly organic lemon drizzle…)
The cake, to me, symbolises more joy, more fulfilment, and having business and life in flow.
How about you?