Filling the soul by feeding the community
Café Racer : Filling the soul by feeding the community
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Café Racer: Filling the soul by feeding the community
By Luis Patino
I don’t take what I have for granted. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, including a supportive family and a good education. Even though I graduated during a tough economy, I was able to find a good job as a corporate paralegal right out of college. But something was missing.
I was selling my soul doing things that weren’t necessarily the best use of my skills to help out the community around me. The more I lived my life that way, the more I realized that you don’t get to impact the world around you the way that you want. I needed work I was passionate about. To find it, I turned to my roots—and the big meals my Colombian family shared.
It was the one way that my family was able to get together and share. Everybody was off working or off to school, doing their own thing. And at the end of every single day, my mom or my grandmother would do an amazing job of cooking a meal that reminded you of everything that was important in life. As I tried to decide what I wanted to do, I focused more and more on that idea of service, serving another individual, breaking bread with that person.
Hoping to recreate that feeling, I opened the Café Racer food truck and began serving the sort of food I grew up with. In the back of that truck, I found the place where I belong, brightening strangers’ days alongside people I think of more as friends than staff. Which isn’t to say that becoming a small business owner has been easy.
Pursuing a dream can be terrifying. That fear is what keeps so many people from going after theirs. But how big of a risk is failure, really? Think of it this way: it’s more dangerous to get in your car and drive to work every day than to start your own business. Seriously.
Even though the truck has been up and running for two years, I still have to deal with the day-to-day pressures of running a business. The way everyone feels when they come to work is a direct reflection of how I feel that day. If I’m feeling grumpy or in a bad mood, everybody will feel that way because we’re in a very enclosed, confined space.
Running a business is stressful. You’re gonna freak out. There’s no way around it. You’re gonna have days where you’re just gonna break down. Everything is gonna fail. And it just comes down to your ability to say, “It’s just another day. We’re gonna get through it.”
Even in the worst and toughest of times, you have to remind yourself, “You know what? I am doing exactly what I want to do. Even struggling at this moment—this is exactly what I want to do and where I should be right now.”
Just having the opportunity to fail is something to be grateful for. You have to tell yourself, “I can make this happen. And if I fail, guess what? From that failure I’m gonna learn a lot.” I have failed so many times. And I appreciate every single time I screw up because I take that moment and I think, “All right, what did we learn today?”
“Even in the worst and toughest of times, you have to remind yourself, “You know what? I am doing exactly what I want to do.”
It all comes down to perspective. I look back to when I was five or six years old and what I thought having everything would mean. If I think about my life right now, I am the richest man I’ve ever met because I have more than I could have ever imagined.
It’s when you realize that you’re the luckiest person in the world because you get to do what you want to do and what you love to do, and you have people around you that support you and that have helped you get there and that you wouldn’t have been able to do it without. It’s the realization of all those things that makes me feel successful. It’s being able to grow up and say, I have more than I could have ever wanted. That is success.