Thank you to blog reader, Michael Walters, for turning me on to Chef David Chang. Chang is a prolific restaurateur, but is probably most well-known for his Netflix series “Ugly Delicious” and “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.” Learning about Chang, it quickly became apparent that he is a major Activator®. Read on to see how he meets the telltale Activator® signs.
Ordinary desk jobs are boring. After college, Chang went to work a finance desk job in NYC. The monotony of being behind a desk day-in and day-out with no ability to make any real moves or changes suffocated him. Needless to say, he did not last long at that job. From there he taught English, then went into cooking. Both of these jobs come with new daily challenges, require constant action, and frequent improvisation. All of which are great for an Activator® on the balcony.
Starting new projects is FUN! Bringing the energy to get something off the ground and moving is what Activators® do best. Proof is in Chang’s ever-growing portfolio with a restaurant group (https://momofuku.com/), TV shows, podcasts, books, and a delivery service app. And, he does not rest on the laurels of his success. He keeps pushing for more things and newer things. He is constantly brainstorming and experimenting with new dish and restaurant ideas.
His Activator® is not just self-motivating, but it is also quite influential. On the Christina Tosi episode of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table,” Chang was instrumental in encouraging Tosi to create new culinary treats and start her own restaurant/business. In true Activator® fashion, he refers to it as “pushing her over the ledge.” And, Tosi admits she would not have taken those chances without Chang’s support.
Moreover, an Activator’s® biggest pet peeve is people who refuse to try new things or get in the way of the Activator® trying new things. This is quite apparent when Chang visits New Orleans. He tries to coerce cooks into trying new fusion dishes, and they all deny him in favor of keeping tradition with standard Cajun and Creole cuisines. Chang has a tough time grasping how people would not want to try something new. But, the cooks feel, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Maintenance and finishing details are exhausting. Activators® gain energy from beginnings. They lose energy in ends and continuations. Back to the Christina Tosi “Chef’s Table” episode, Chang hires Tosi to help with basic kitchen management and some health code violations at Momofuku. This is a sign of a mature Activator®! He uses his energy to start a great project, but hands it off to someone more steady and stable to bring the project to completion and continuation. This way the Activator® does not lose energy to small detailed tasks, and can return to creating energy with big, new exciting ideas. Subsequently, it is quite common for me to see serial entrepreneurs with this strength.
So, if you are an Activator®, are you surrounding yourself with new challenges? If you are close to an Activator®, support them in focusing their energy away from the mundane and towards the new, so they can be on the balcony.
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