First Bump on a Rocky Road
Maybe it was a dream come true in a crazed disguise. After all, a black and white visual of what was happening could have easily placed me in an I Love Lucy sideshow- that being the dream part. You know the very episode too: Lucy and Ethel are racing a conveyor belt streaming in chocolate bon bons needing to be packaged and soon enough, they’re desperately stockpiling all the surplus into their mouths… hahaha.
Now imagine the cameras cut to a separate room. Here, the scene would open up to a few kooky researchers wearing chef gear (me being one of them) dumbfounded while watching their golf cart- sized machine audibly drop piping after piping of ice cream onto the floor ::plop plop plop:: along with dense sticky dough that was meant to encompass the ice cream into little snow balls but instead… ::splat splat splat::
The latter was a very real, in full color experience I recently had. In the first few seconds I just stood there, trying to process the machine settings and what variable from this experiment was off. And then I realized I was the least skilled one in the room for operating the unusual hunk of equipment and began shoveling the mounds of ice cream and sludgy dough off the floor and into a garbage bin. This is just not working. Is this going to work? How do we make this work?
I can keep a cool exterior when the pressure is really on because it’s during times like this that staying calm seems to be the only possible way out. You can’t hyperventilate a path into view. And speaking of focus, I hadn’t yet told the guys helping me that I had um, quit my job to do this. The mentality that I shift back to time and time again though is this: I’m here more for the experience than for the results. Of course, I believe in the vision and the value in what this could offer if it lives the way I’ve intended. But at the end of the day, I’m not performing brain surgery or finding the cure for cancer. I’m taking on a project that involves art and storytelling which in its essence, is meant to be a learning experience.
My day-to-day is now full of learnings from categories involving design, recipe testing, commercial kitchen operations, photography, legalities of starting a food business, technology, and all the insights that come from meeting people along the way who have a hundred times the expertise in their respective fields and are somehow also willing to bring a piece of their heart into my little project. This alone is enough for now and keeping this in mind is what helps me take steps forward with a sense of excitement instead of worry. It’s a “let’s see what happens” attitude that doesn’t acknowledge a particular result to be labeled as failure or success, but instead, feedback to spur new ideas for how to keep going and tend to the purpose.
Admittedly, I can say this more easily now because of the new breakthrough yesterday. Ice cream wasn’t plunging to the floor. For the first time in fact, these adorable balls of ice cream dropped one by one onto the conveyor belt and we swiftly took to action placing them onto trays and loading them into a freezer. You better believe there were high-fives all around. Now, I look back at the previously described, comical experience with endearment. It’s helping to reinforce why you have to keep going- because you do learn and there’s no use crying over spilled ice cream.