Something you all may or may not know about me is that I am a big fan of Mexican food. Well, I say that but I suspect what I’m really a fan of is American Mexican food, which is probably a different thing.
Growing up we had your standard Family Taco Night fairly regularly – hard shelled tacos, ground beef, the quintessential starter taco.
I’m not ashamed to admit that Taco Bell introduced me to soft tacos. I had to learn about them somewhere, and I think at the end of the day Taco Bell as a gateway drug into new taco horizons is an acceptable origin story.
The latest step on my taco journey was thanks to my dear friend and colleague Ben, who convinced me of the inherent superiority of the corn tortilla. I was a longtime flour tortilla proponent, but Ben opened my eyes. I’d been doing it all wrong. You have to heat the corn tortillas, in a pan or a steamer. It makes all the difference.
The mechanism of this introduction was los tacos vampiros, consumed in the midst of a day of coworking at Ben’s place. I made them myself a week later, and of course, being a 30 year old man in 2015, tweeted about it:
(Only one like? I’m bad at Twitter.)
Short story long, on Ben’s recommendation, I bought a cookbook by Rick Bayless – check him out. There are a ton of great recipes, and I’ve been gloriously exposed to including potatoes and mushrooms in my taco situation, but one part of the introduction has stuck with me.
Human beings have a need to blow off the top – to feast, to party. Regularly. Big hunks of meat, lavish preparations, refined anything, luxuriously rich sweets. Even if it’s just a feasting celebration of the weekend’s arrival… no one ever goes fat on a weekly feast, but missing that feast can leave you with strong cravings all week long.
I really like this idea, this approach to thinking about food and the preparation of food.
Day to day, you should eat simply, with flavorful and healthy ingredients. “Eat Food. Not Much. Mostly Plants,” says Michael Pollan.
Food should have its ups and downs and be mostly simple and steady but sometimes we simply have to blow the doors off – as one of my favorite authors of all time once said, moderation is for monks.
They say that when you have a hammer, all you see are nails. Since I’ve started spending more time writing about remote work and remote leadership, I find more and more connections to this type of work. In this case, I found some insight into my own work style in a Mexican cookbook.
This framework mirrors my approach to work – I get into a flow, I get into a groove, sort of churning along at a low hum. This is then punctuated by brief periods of intense activity and focus, really hammering a project or process that has me occupied. When that is complete, when the feasting is done, I’m able to return to my general baseline.
Working remotely, for a results-only company that is not only supportive of but encouraging of experimentation and iteration, is such a great fit for this type of mindset. I can perform, I can check my usual boxes, if my life is stressful or in flux or simply full, I can work simply.
But, when inspiration strikes, I can jump in with both feet and get things done. It’s validating to think of it in the terms Bayless presents – when I am not feasting, it’s not a matter of neglecting The Work, it’s a matter of working simply and finding the flow until it’s time to feast again.
The natural rise and fall of motivation and inspiration, and being able to follow that curve in a productive and effective way, is such a huge advantage of the remote worker.