Hungry for Success... and Doughnuts

A little over four years ago, when I was uncomfortably pregnant with my first daughter, my husband and I drove to Milwaukee for a family gathering. I don’t remember many details of the event, but what I do remember is that it was a Sunday and I had the world’s most massive craving for doughnuts. My husband and I got in the car, and drove around the entire metro area, in a feverish attempt to find the perfect chocolate long john.

For whatever reason, I have a habit of wanting whatever I cannot have (more on that in another post later). This was a prime example of that. We went to one bakery after another and found nothing. Some stores were closed on Sundays and one that was still listed in Yelp was razed and just a weed-filled concrete slab and crumbled parking lot. How disappointing! I grew increasingly weary, yet my hunger persisted. I was bound and determined to get that perfect doughnut, no matter what it took.
At last, I lowered my standards (originally set by the amazing Manderfield’s Home Bakery in my hometown) and went to a grocery store. I found a chocolate long john sitting in a fairly empty bakery cabinet and placed it in a white paper bag. I checked out, returned to the car, and took a bite.
Meh.
It was likely a day old and had lackluster flavor. It didn’t fulfill my needs, but it gave my husband enough satisfaction that we found a doughnut and can move on with our lives, quitting this escapade.
To this day, I still crave doughnuts and remember that one disappointing adventure more than four years ago. But here’s what I learned from it:

  • You must be very clear on your goals if you want success (and I was).

  • You must have a support network if you want success (and I did).

  • You must have an incredible determination if you want success (and I did).

  • You must have a strategic plan if you want success (which I didn’t…).

  • You must have patience and resilience if you want success (which I didn’t…).

It’s the last one, patience, that I really struggled with — both in the doughnut hunt and in my businesses. What I have learned is that it takes time, sometimes more time than we would like, to get what we truly, deeply, madly desire. In reflection, I know I could have waited patiently for less than 24 hours and I could have gotten the best selection of pastries from my favorite bakery. I also know that in the businesses I have grown, I could have been more patient and pursued a strategy longer before pivoting. Sometimes, the right thing is waiting for you around the corner; you just have to be clear your mind of emotions and focus on being patient for just a little bit longer to get your reward.

MindsetEmilie Steinmann