180 – Focus on your work – Christine Ha

Posted by  Anecdote International —March 15, 2023
Filed in Anecdotes, Podcast

Don’t compare your work to that of others; focus on yourself. Listen to hear how Christine Ha’s vision impairment helped her win the third American season of Masterchef.

Chef plating food

This week, Mark shares a story he saw Anecdote Partner, Maria Marenco, share on LinkedIn to celebrate International Women’s Day last week. Maria was a guest on the podcast earlier this year, featuring in 173 – Knowledge can come from any source with Maria Marenco.

If you’re a Masterchef fan, this is a story for you! And as you’ll hear, you could use it to make a variety of business points. Please feel free to share how you would use it in the comments below!

For your story bank

Tags: competition, comparison, confidence, focus, performance, planning

This story starts at 01:18

Christine Ha is a Vietnamese American living in Houston, Texas. Her parents became refugees during the Vietnam War.

She had a normal upbringing until her Mum died when she was fourteen. Her Mum had loved to cook, so she had been teaching her.

In her early twenties, Christine was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called neuromyelitis optica. Her immune system was attacking her optic nerves, and over three or four years, she became almost completely blind.

She decided to regain some of her independence by teaching herself to cook. She soon started a blog, The Blind Cook.

Her blog gained a following, and in 2012, she was invited to audition for the third American season of Masterchef.

Throughout the season’s 19 episodes, she won seven challenges and placed in the top three in three others. She was in the bottom two twice but fought back into the competition.

In September of that same year, she found herself in New York for the finale, where Gordon Ramsay announced the winner.

“Christine Ha!”

Reflecting on the experience, Christine has said that while her vision impairment was a disadvantage, it was also a strength.

She explains that, during the competition, other contestants would look around the room and think, “Oh, what I’m doing is not good enough.”

They would change their dish halfway through a challenge or start to rush. And at the end, they couldn’t finish their dish and would serve it up incomplete.

Christine focused on her work, carried her plans through to the end, and paid much less attention to what the other contestants were doing.

She would tell herself, “I’m just going to compete against myself.”

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.

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