In celebration of National Mentoring Day 2023, relive the incredible insights and valuable discussions on “Tomorrow’s Too Late!” featuring our special guest Eric Couturier.
This masterclass is open to everyone, especially leaders running to burnout.
Watch the recording here:
Eric Couturier was born and educated in Le Mans, France and began a successful career as a professional chef. He convinced himself to make a go of a new start by moving to Bristol in the UK to achieve new things.
When Eric moved to Bristol, he knew no one in the country and didn’t speak one word of English besides ‘yes’ and ‘no’. He found a single bedsit and put his energy into becoming proficient in English to enable him to achieve his professional goal in the country. It was a very challenging existence at first and a lonely way to live. He called home on Sunday evenings, putting £10.00 in the phone box on the street corner to let his parents know he was fine, as this was when there were no mobile phones, FaceTime, or WhatsApp.
From a young age, he worked in the hospitality industry with a strong passion for success, chasing that elusive culinary recognition. That proved to be excellent training for resilience in those initial dark days. It also enabled him to work his way up from Commis chef to Head Chef of several successful establishments, then manager of three restaurants. He found he had a side passion and interest in coaching and mentoring young adults in the industry. Since his mid-twenties, he has mentored and coached people professionally as a chef, developing their skills for competitions. Likewise, friends would frequently come to him for advice for their private lives, having watched Eric grow into a successful entrepreneur. More than anything, Eric loved assisting people to achieve their goals and transform their lives in small, simple changes.
Things were falling into place after hard work. He was head hunted, writing articles for the newspapers and developing dishes for celebrities. By now, he had a wife and family on the way. However, working in such an intense industry at a fierce level meant it was incompatible with family life.
In his mid-30s, he decided to give something back to the future generation by pursuing a career in education. He wanted to support and make a difference to the next generation. It was not straightforward, and he needed to return to develop his education. Traditionally, chefs are not academically orientated and do not come with degrees. Still working as a Head Chef and managing two kitchens, he balanced work/study/home life and obtained a teaching qualification, a Degree, and then a master’s, bearing in mind that English is now an additional language. He enjoyed studying and learning all the theoretical aspects of what he was already doing. Leading, coaching, and inspiring people is something he has always had inside him. After gaining a teaching qualification, he worked with young adults for 16 years. He got enormous job satisfaction from teaching complete novices to cook fantastic cuisine. He also developed their mindset skills in the workplace, something he learned in those early days in kitchens and from moving abroad. He helped develop students who have since worked in Michelin stars establishments and regularly compete on national TV.
Everything was fast, furious and moving at pace, and then something terrifying happened out of the blue. Eric suffered a TIA (transient ischaemic attack) or mini-stroke in his 40s; he had to review, reanalyse and refocus his life. When talking to the consultant, it became apparent that this ‘blip’ was stress-related. The consultant was stern with him and told him if he didn’t change his working practice, he would not see his 50th birthday. So, not getting any younger and having always struggled with his weight, he took up running and a healthier lifestyle. He also realigned his purpose in life, prioritising what was most important to him.
People have always followed him and turned to him for advice throughout his career. So now, he needed to give himself a good talking to and use all the tools he had developed to get himself out of a bad situation.
After some soul searching, he decided to use everything he had learned to design a program to help people rewire their minds and change their habits. He realised so many people were burning themselves out and unhappy in their daily routines, with stress and fatigue.
Today, Eric feels very fulfilled; he has learned many things and wants to pass this on and help others who are stuck, overstressed and overworked or who long to change some aspect of their life for purpose and balance. He has rediscovered his passion for music, learning to play the saxophone. He has taken up landscape photography and walking, especially on coastal paths across Britain. Being from Le Mans, Eric is interested in anything with an engine – the bigger, the better. He never misses an opportunity to race with his two boys around carting tracks.
Eric’s reset was life-affirming. It was a huge milestone, and he now has developed a path to change bad habits for others who face too much stress, disappointment or unhappiness. He believes everyone deserves to be happy.
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Please feel free to share this opportunity with anyone else you know will benefit; it’s freely available to all practitioners, not just IAPC&M accredited practitioners.