In praise of rookies.

Botanicals prepped for a day of formula testing.   

Botanicals prepped for a day of formula testing. 

 

We are flying by the seat of our pants. Our kitchen is a lab and we're on a crash course of culinary chemistry, physics, and mechanical engineering.

It's hard and it's not for sissies and we're starting to get nervous and a little bit tired. But we're okay with that. It's fun and it's stimulating and there are benefits to being clueless and naive. When you don't know what the hell you're doing, you have:

1 / No fear. When you're a rookie, you have little to no fear. Because you don't know what you don't know. You don't know how things might go wrong yet or how badly they might if they do. Most of the time, knowledge is a good thing. But sometimes, especially in highly creative endeavors, too much knowledge can be like sugar in the gas tank, lead in a balloon. It makes you scared and slows you down. 

2 / FEAR!!!  Honestly, you’re scared out of your mind. Trembling, even. Who the hell are you to think you can just waltz right into the universe and do something you’ve never done before at all, let alone well? What if you crash and burn? What if at first you don’t succeed and you try, try again but you never have any successes? What if people hate your chocolate milk? What if you never figure out how to temper chocolate correctly? What if we really are at peak cacao? What if you lose all the money you’ve invested? What if, what if...? Well, you’ve already signed on the dotted line to ship chocolate milk in less than two weeks, so it’s too late now.

3  / No apologies. When you're a rookie, you have the freedom of not apologizing for your reckless abandonment approach to failing fast and failing hard. Apologize? What for? It's not your fault. You didn't know any better!

Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

4  / Lots of optimism. When you're a rookie, you're hungry and curious, willing to trying anything to make something work. Thoroughly believing in your ideas. Believing in them enough to invest your own blood, sweat, and tears to make your ideas come to life. Because everyone knows that good ideas are a dime a dozen. Good execution is the hard part. It's where the nibs hit the grinding wheel. The crushing will either kill you or slowly release the sweet, smooth butter of success. 

5  / Unbounded exuberance. The faster and more often you fail, the greater your chances that small successes will eventually lead to bigger ones. And this, in turn, feeds your soul. When you solve one little problem on the way to solving a much bigger one, it makes you giddy and courageous and confident. It makes you want to grab another one. And that, in turn, starts the cycle all over again. 

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.
— Stephen McCranie

5  / Guts. Well, it's hard to say which comes first. You probably have to start out with your fair share of guts to jump headfirst into an industry you have no experience in (except for that time you worked as a barista at a drive-thru Starbucks) to make a product you know nothing about (except that it tastes good and you really like it and you take great pleasure in sharing the experience of delicious food and Pacific Northwest bounty with everyone you meet). 


Callie NeylanComment