You should start cooking without following recipes.
People, including me, see pictures of pretty food on Pinterest and then want to replicate what they pinned. It’s unlikely that they have the ingredients for it. Instead, they have to go out and buy them. When they do this, they overlook the fact that they have so much in their house already to work with. Instead of replicating a recipe they found online - they should look at what they have in their pantry. They can then do some research and see what they can make with what they have. They can modify a recipe and make their own unique creation. There’s no need to feel like you have to copy someone else to make something great. You have your own stocked pantry. Just use what you have to make something phenomenal.
I’m not really talking about cooking. I’m talking about business.
Figuring out what you are great at, passionate about and what you should pursue in business is hard. But figuring out what is in your pantry is easy. Just open the door, look in and start writing down what you have. You have all sorts of resources - your innate talents, your education, your experiences, your money, your time, etc.
I check what I have in the fridge and pantry, then I think about what we’d like to eat with those ingredients in it, then I look up ways I can make it happen.
Make the pantry list. Then turn that list over in your head for a short time. Think about what your pantry items could make that could serve the world well. There is something incredible it can make. I’m sure of it. Then, look up how to make that happen - the best way to make that happen.
But you should know - when I do this for dinner, it sometimes bombs. There are dinners I make and am disappointed in. This isn’t because my ingredients weren’t good. Instead, it could be that the concept was bad. Or maybe it wasn’t what we wanted for dinner. Or I executed the concept terribly.
So yes, my chances of success would likely be way higher if I started with a proven recipe and went out and purchased all the ingredients and then executed the recipe to the letter. I don’t think I have ever done this in my five years of married life. Cooking is my place of rebellion, the place of my art. It seems this mentality has spilled over into other parts of my life. Because I started with the life plan to go with the proven recipe - go to school, get a degree, get a job in chosen field, work lots of years for an employer, make money, retire and live off of made money. It is a very clean recipe. I think the success rate is fairly high as long as you can execute it. But, to the disappointment of most of the champions of the recipe around me, I decided that my life would be my art. I know what I’ll get with the proven recipe. I don’t follow recipes when I cook because I know what I’ll get with them - and I have hope of creating something better. Though I could totally bomb, I am rejecting the proven recipe for the hope of creating an incredible life.
There are so many business recipes out there that give you a perfect formula to follow. I don’t want to give you one through these posts. I want to write about how ingredients interact, provide some basic cooking knowledge and encourage you to put care into your cooking. Beautiful, artistic, world-changing business isn’t about following a proven recipe. It’s about using what you have to create something to serve the world well.
I’m not saying don’t have a business plan. You need one. But it shouldn’t be someone else’s that you’re following. You’re you. The uniqueness of your business depends on you breaking from the proven recipes and creating your own.
We settle for following someone else’s recipe because we don’t know if we can make it on our own. But hear me - we can. We may bomb a few meals, or several, but what if we created a revolutionary, world-changing meal? We can’t do that if we keep following the proven recipes - we know how they turn out.
I’m not discounting business experts’ mastery. We still have so much to learn! But there is no point at which you have to follow their recipes to the letter. You should continuously learn how to cook from the best, but once you gain an understanding of how certain ingredients come together and how to cook, you can create your unique masterpiece.
I’ve been encouraged by these unconventional recipe creators in my life:
The Fosbury Flop - The quintessential story of using what you have to succeed - Dick Fosbury couldn’t make the other high jumping techniques work, but he excelled at a his revolutionary customized technique.
The Crispy Egg - I hate crispy egg whites and would have recommended that no one ever cook an egg trying to make the white crispy - which is why this egg is so incredibly, surprisingly delicious. I love that Frank Prisinzano had an idea and didn't follow conventional wisdom.
Joni Eareckson Tada and Paul Smith - I remember hearing about Joni when I was little. I was floored that she painted as a quadriplegic. I saw Paul Smith’s video today. Their pantries seemed so very limited by their disabilities, but they found ways to better the world with what they have.
These people all had some sort of understanding of the conventional recipes and how to cook. But then, at some point, they made a choice to not follow the proven recipes.
Do this with your business. Please. I want more of these people with their creative breakthroughs, products and ideas bettering the world. I think we all do.