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Unfolding

Unfolding

In January, I wrote a blog about Chipotle's founder and a statement he made when his father asked him what he was going to do with a liberal arts degree:

"I don't know. We'll see how it all unfolds."

I based my thesis on something Sam Morris, founder of Zen Warrior Training, had talked with me about extensively:

"The sweet spot: Having a good, strong belly laugh over the futility of most human endeavors while also being an agent for positive change."

Let things unfold without taking yourself too seriously, but be utterly relentless in following your intention. As Steve Ells put it, approaching the development of an idea like how he trained to be a chef: start with the basics and taste along the way to make adjustments that will get to where you want to be.

These last few months have been a remarkable reminder for us of this lesson. We started with a basic plan, and of course, the business grew differently than we expected, some good surprises, some not-so-good surprises. 😬 

  • How people have used the gruel as a side dish or base for bowls surprised us. We've seen the gruel with marinara and cheese, chicken and curry, teriyaki chicken and broccoli, salsa, chicken, guac, and black beans, to name a few.
  • We're learning about seasonality and how people eat differently when fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant during the summer months. 
  • Serious athletes have very different nutritional needs, and the gruel has turned out to be a fantastic pre-workout meal, especially for runners.

It's not just about the product itself. As we think of the larger goal - restoring the foodways system to its local roots - we're uncovering so many opportunities to share stories of how people and small food companies are working to transform our current industrial, highly-processed food system. 

Startups working to connect food from restaurants and grocery stores would have thrown out to food-insecure households. Small companies are tackling the food waste problem through composting. Families that are creating community gardens in back yards and feeding neighbors (I'll have a great story to tell on this soon!).

So the lesson is, let things unfold. Don't get too hung up on things not going according to a specific plan. It's one thing if it's because you aren't executing, but usually, it's because the world wasn't concerned about your plan, and life is progressing how it wants to. Your job is to learn how to respond to what happens rather than force the world to fit your plan or desires. And most important? Just enjoy the ride along the way.

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