What is the best thing you can do to achieve career success?
“Do what you love,” Garten said. “If you love it, you’ll be good at it.”
Long before she was a best-selling cookbook author and host of the Emmy Award-winning television show “Barefoot Contessa,” Garten worked at the White House in the 1970s on nuclear energy policy.
It was dreadfully boring, she said, and when she asked her husband what she should do, he suggested she pick something that would be fun.
She saw an ad for a small food store on sale in Westhampton Beach, New York, and made an offer, thinking she’d have time during the negotiation phase to decide if that was really what she wanted. But the owner accepted it the next day. Just like that, she’d bought a business.
“I had no experience,” Garten said. “I thought it was the stupidest thing I’d done in my life.”
She learned on the fly and gave it her all. “There were days when I was working until midnight,” she said, “but you want to do something you love doing.”
After 20 years of building her specialty food business Barefoot Contessa, growing it to nearly 50 employees, she again pivoted to writing cookbooks and hosting a cooking television show, making her brand even more influential.
So, if passion is key to success, how do you figure out what you’re passionate about?
“I met someone years ago who was a therapist,” Garten said. “She said, ‘I ask people to think about what they liked doing when they were 10.'”
For 10-year-old Garten, it was getting into the kitchen. Pursuing her love of food when she was mid-career ultimately propelled her to extraordinary success.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.