023How To Deal With Disappointment? 


You are in control, but you are not in control. That is one of the little jokes life has played on us. We make plans that are well thought out, and we execute the plan with precision and purpose. Yet, no matter how well we do that and how good we are at doing it, we can get an outcome that was not part of the plan. We behave in ways which we deem appropriate and somehow that behaviour can be judged as not good enough by the community we are trying to be a part of. How do you react when things just don’t go your way?

“Keep cooking, your journey now begins”. These were the words from Andrew Atkinson, an Executive Chef at the Michelangelo Hotel. Andrew is one of the judges on MasterChef South Africa, and he was speaking to Berdina Schurink, whose dish had just been judged as not good enough for her to stay in the competition. She did well to get this far. After all it’s the last sixteen contestants out of thousands nationwide that had put their name in the hat.


The thing is, she did not come into the competition to do well, she came into it to win! She felt she had a good chance to win, as by her own words she is focused, organised and can handle pressure very well. She has a broad knowledge of cooking meaning she would be versatile in adapting to the various requirements that would be thrown at her. In her mind applying all this would get her to win.


This did not happen. You could argue that Berdina did not even deserve to be in the Pressure Test (the process used to determine who to eliminate). Her team during the challenge was far more organised than the team that was judged to have been better. Berdina’s team leader, Manisha, had been clear on decision making from the start of the challenge to the end. Manisha as a team leader knew what she wanted, communicated it effectively to the team and delegated responsibility to the team very well, giving them room to deliver on the outcome.


As a team leader, Manisha did not hover over her team and micro-manage, but made her team feel her presence and availability to support as she went around checking that everyone was still on the same page and going as planned. She had a calm demeanour, but spoke and moved with a sense of urgency and that worked well for the team as there was no panic or chaos in how they executed their tasks.

As a leader, Manisha did enough things right for her team to win. As a team, Berdina’s team did enough right things to win. As individuals in the team, Manisha could not identify one person whom she thought let her down in the challenge. How then did this team that Berdina was a part of not win? How do you choose from that team one individual as not being good enough to remain a part of the team?


The result was Berdina for that moment, after that series of events, was judged as not good enough to continue on her ambition of competing to win MasterChef South Africa. It does not mean she is not good enough at what she does. These things happen! It does not make them easier to accept, but they happen.


It’s easy to pass the blame when things don’t go according to the plan but it will not reverse the result. It’s easy to find excuses, but that does not reverse the result. No matter how accurately you look backwards, you can’t reverse the past, but looking forward you can create the future! “Keep cooking, your journey now begins”.



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