Chapter 3: Face Your Fears

by Nov 16, 2020General2 comments

Let’s face it, everyone is on a constant roll coaster of improvement. There’s career goals, self improvement, life achievements, following your passion and the dreaded New Years Eve resolutions. Everyone has a bucket list as thick as a dictionary; a laundry list of goals to hit; or a refrigerator plastered with Post-it notes of reminders. Whatever your fancy, we all have some work to do and it starts with facing your fears.

Back Story

In 2013, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. For having never touched alcohol, cigarettes or anything that was remotely harmful, life wasn’t fair. I was the one that smoked for over 20 years, I was the one that drank frivolously, I was the one that had the crazy unhealthy life….it shouId have been me, not her, and I would have given my life for hers, but I couldn’t.

On June 8th 2014, my mom passed away. This was the single most painful day of my life. The most caring person I knew; the most generous person I knew; and more importantly, the person who I strived to be like, had gone to a much better place.

In 2015, I decided to get laid off, purposely, sell the condo I had with my ex-wife, say good bye to the states, and travel the world. Who would have thought that it would have been the most stressful and freeing year off I would have ever had? I learn a lot in that one year. I learned what my upper limits were for stress before I blew up, what I could mentally block out in order to keep pushing forward, and what it meant to live without an agenda.

In October of 2017, I left a long marriage where I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t myself, but worse of all, I was developing bad and unhealthy habits. It was a long and rough year. I had lived in some interesting situations to save money as way as my life was about to hit it’s peak of rockiness. She got money she didn’t deserve, friends she has swayed, but it meant nothing in comparison if it meant the hate and anger would leave too.

I was ready to start over, as they say, start a new chapter, tabular rasa…..reboot…..Minh 2.0……you get the idea. Well, that’s what I did.

bonfire in Spain volunteer

Face Your Fears

I’ve had blogs, ideas, developed recipes from scratch and I even started a Sunday Meal Service that was word of mouth successful and actually meaningful to me but I always half-assed it and dropped my projects half way through. I lost interest, I got discouraged and I would abandoned it like a soiled pair of underwear.

It took me years to finally admit that I was afraid of failure and as a perfectionist, nothing I produced or written would be good enough.

I started a new blog…..this one and while I have been off and on with it, I am now back on track! Recipes are flowing, they are queued up, plans to finish the cookbook I started 2 years ago are in motion but best of all, I have someone who is supporting me through this crazy adventure, not financial but emotionally.

She pushes me, she encourages me and she motivates me……she’s now my wife, my rock and my biggest supporter. This is what was missing all those years when I had ideas. It’s not the “you’re stuff is amazing” or “you’re doing so great” that I needed or need, it’s the “it’s ok to fail” and “you don’t have to be perfect every time” support that every go getter and solopreneur needs.

Working Up To Failure

I always hear that you will never succeed without failing. For years, I have always been scared to death of failure. Even at the start of my career, I refused to fail. I worked 18 hours a day, I worked weekends, I never said “No”, I forced myself to learn things I didn’t want to learn and in the end, I had succeeded.

But that was my downfall, that was my failure…..I had succeeded.

rolling dough with expensive wine
rolling dough with expensive wine
Melting a colander with hot oil

Here’s a couple of mental notes while you are making do with what you have or rushing through a recipe.


  1. Using an expensive bottle of wine as a rolling pin doesn’t get cleaned very easily, so you’ll have to drink it. Not really a fail but more of a FYI.
  2. Not all mesh colanders/strainers are made of metal. I found this out the hard way while making Fried Crispy Shallots.
  3. When making stocks or broths and the recipe says strain it, it means into another pot NOT put a strainer over the sink and strain what you have been simmer for hours on end!

I got comfortable. I became complacent. In my mind, it was OK to not work on my passion because I had work to do, I had responsibilities, bills to pay, deadlines to hit.

Cooking in Tuscany with Chicca

Dreaming With My Eyes Wide Open

Years ago I had a vision of sharing rustic recipes from around the world through my blog. It all came to a halt when my mom passed away, it left a void in me that nothing could fill. I lost the urge to cook, I lost my ability to taste, and worse of all, I just shut down.

It wasn’t until I met my current wife Becky that my eyes and heart opened back up. My vision of my Vietnamese cookbook dedicated to my mom breathed new life again; my blog was rebranded; and we moved to Maine, Becky’s home state.

My friends and family were and always will be there for me and for that I am truly grateful, but it wasn’t the missing key that I needed. I have the emotional support that I have been missing for years from my partner and most importantly. I have a dream with goals and I am willing to fail to succeed.

So here’s to another try at making my dream come true and I hope you stick around for the ride because it’s gonna be one hell of a ride.