What holds us back?

Chef Paolo Neville
3 min readOct 18, 2023

climbing out of our shit stew

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What holds us back? Hesitation? Fear? Often times I feel like it’s literally my mind working overdrive. I get stuck in some kind of fucked up feedback loop that keeps coming up with all the reasons it won’t work. Sapping my energy and confidence, leaving me uninspired with a lack of motivation and drive…. Until I make a choice. You see, I have all the tools. I know exactly what to do. I can make a choice at any moment to stop stewing in my shit, yet it feels comfortable at times. I’m familiar with this place. It’s easy to check out… scroll social media for a while, check for any new emails. What’s going on with the new war? Surely checking in with all the horrible stuff going on in the world will make me feel okay about my first world problems.. but it doesn’t. Will I “feel” better by checking the news? Will it bring my energy level up to a higher vibration and get me pumped up? Definitely not. “Checking in” on the news also contributes nothing to improving the situation the world finds itself in, only contributing more low energy vibrations, adding to the primordial shit stew.

So today, and for the last few weeks I’ve been trying to recognize when I’m in this place and take some sort of action to change my state. I’ve had to laugh at myself when I realized that even though I’ve taken some action, putting on some upbeat tunes, doing some quick physical activity, reading a good book, drinking some water, calling an old friend… the list goes on, but still I can find my self back in the shit stew 15 minutes later, and so I have to make the choice again. This realization makes me feel grateful today. Grateful I have the ability to recognize the patterns of my mind and keep making a different choice.

Having recently made the decision to shut the food truck down for the winter and focus on my personal chef work keeps me having to constantly chase the path of growth. Feeling uncomfortable and doing it anyways keeps me headed in the right direction. I judge myself harder than anyone else in my life and I need to remember that’s I’m not always going to do it perfectly, I may in fact not be better than I was yesterday and that’s alright. I could feel my shoulders relax and a gentle smile come across my face as I typed that. So today I’ve opened up some space to be more creative, embrace my shortcomings and move forward. I know this work will shine through in my food and the way in which I choose to move the Urban Hotdog collective forward. When we’re honest with ourselves it gives us the ability to be better leaders, friends, lovers and just better human beings in general. I’ve been writing some fun menus today and soon enough they will manifest into a beautiful plate of food that will be the highlight of someones day. So yes, lots of things hold me back but today I get to choose, over and over again, to head in a different direction.

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Chef Paolo Neville

Executive Chef and author with 30 + years in the service industry. I have two amazing sons and a passion for food and the restaurant industry.