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Stick to the brief

You might be the most technically skilled person in your trade. But if you try to show off every last skill just to prove yourself, you'll fail to deliver on someone's expectations

Earlier this year on MasterChef Professional, the challenge was to cook a dish that "told your story". In other words, it was all about the contestants' personal history and culture. The most memorable part of this episode revolved around two contestants.

Firstly there was Anthony – a private chef, who cooks for famous movie stars all over the world. And Anthony cooked up a storm. I don't remember exactly what he did, but it involved five different miniature delicacies. Apparently it was a favourite of his A-List clientele. I've got no doubt that what he plated on the show tasted good. The judges certainly didn't complain about flavour.

The other contestant was Akuc, a former TAFE Western Sydney cookery student. Akuc made a simple, hearty, spicy soup. She put every amount of love into that soup over the two hours they had for this task.

Clearly, the judges thought her dish tasted great. When it came to deciding on a winner, they chose Akuc and her spicy soup. Meanwhile, Anthony was eliminated.

And Anthony wasn't happy about this. He raged against the judges. He raged against Akuc. "Amateurs! All of you!" He stormed out. People had to pick their jaws off the floor.

Why did Akuc win while Anthony was eliminated? Because she listened to the brief. Anthony didn't.

A dish that tells your story. Akuc cooked the soup she grew up with. A simple recipe that had been in her family for generations. Anthony tried to show off every technical skill in his arsenal. He thought he could win with impressive technique and showmanship. He ignored the brief.

You might be the most technically skilled person in your trade. But if you try to show off every last skill just to prove yourself, you'll fail to deliver on someone's expectations. You'll also tire very quickly.

Case in point, how many hairdressing disaster stories have you heard? Customer explains the style they want. Over zealous hairdresser does something completely different just to show off their skills. Customer never returns.

Working in your chosen field isn't about showing off. It's about channeling the right skills in the right moment to deliver a product or service to another person to an expected standard.

In other words, it's about listening to the brief.