There is an expression in Italian “essere un prezzemolino”, almost literally “to be like parsley”. I think the equivalent in English is “to have a finger in every pie” and the meaning is clear: it indicates someone who is always in the middle, who turns up everywhere. What I find amazing is the difference between these cultures on what it is that omnipresent: in Italy we use parsley and in the United Kingdom it’s the pie that’s everywhere.
Other than this taste difference, though, the reflection related to business that originates from this idiom is that sometimes we think the more we are seen, the more we obtain successes and recognitions, while those who are not always “in the middle” get pretty much unnoticed.
Well, this is obviously not always the case: in my mentoring experience, some of the young women I worked with had this very feeling, to be seen and heard every possible time by upper management, while instead I tried and suggest that their actions and results speak for them louder than any other initiatives.
Clearly these results need to be tied directly to them, and they have the clear responsibility to take credit for what they have done. As an example, I used to write on my resume’ “support this and that initiative” or “help launch this or that product”: my then mentor had a good lesson for me on assertiveness. She told me that if I was the owner and the responsible for that initiative or launch, I should have used more direct terms like “manage” or “own”.
There is a qualitative and quantitative difference between choosing when to speak and when to act, and strike a healthy balance between the two. It surely comes with experience, but we can help our mentee identify opportunities to step up…or step down.
Remember the parsley, there IS such thing as too much of a good thing!
“Walking on eggshells”: have you ever noticed how many references to food we make in our daily language?
Food idioms are just another reminder that food is one of our main thoughts, especially in some cultures and countries (yes, I am Italian and yes we love food). While preparing our meals, we are often in a state of flux, just focussing on the rhythm of the knife that cuts the onion, the smell of those mint leaves, the consistency of the egg white we are whipping up, and then the pleasure of consuming our delicious food with someone we love and cherish.
Food nourishes us and those who eat with us, it helps concentrate on the task at hand, while reflecting on bigger issues and challenges in our lives. So that onion becomes the troubles you are trying to cut away, mint gives you a subtle energy to refresh your thoughts and move on with life and the souffle’ carries your hopes that a specific idea or project won’t deflate as soon as it’s out of the oven.
This is a personal space, where I reflect on my connection to food and the inspiration it gives me every day to think more and think harder to my business challenges: over time sourcing and preparing meals have become a sort of therapeutic approach to the everyday business challenges that would otherwise seem hard to overcome from the same level they were created.
In my job, I like to define myself as a renaissance marketer, one that truly loves to communicate and share the right message at the right time to the right person. I have worked in different countries for more than two decades (The Netherlands, UK, USA, Switzerland and of course Italy). Throughout my career, mentoring has always been part of my daily job, be it with current team members, former colleagues or friends who need a support and encouragement to develop their skills and careers in a fulfilling way.