November 1 marks one year since the release of my cookbook, Cook ICT.
A little over a year ago, I was placing an order for 500 cookbooks, and shaking in my boots wondering if I would be able to sell that many. I feared being embarrassed by the possibility of a failed project, invested time and money lost, and the risk of family, friends, and peers losing trust in me and my abilities.
My judgments of ordering just 500 books was quite wrong, as in the past year, I was able to sell over 4 times that many cookbooks. I’ve been blown away.
This project taught me a lot of lessons and the last year has brought opportunities that I’ve been so grateful for. First, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I’m not good at sitting still. I get these crazy ideas (for real…just ask Matt) and then I drive myself crazy with the desire to execute these ideas. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad quality to have, but the lesson I learned was to intentionally be still at times. Even today, as I type this, I’m in a state of letting my mind rest. My brain has been going in every direction regarding wanting answers and a vision to questions that I have. So, I’m quitting thinking (until maybe like Wednesday or Thursday ;)). Am I succeeding? Nope. But I’m trying. I’ve learned this last year that it is so important to let things “simmer.” Everything doesn’t have to be executed immediately in a short amount of time.
I also learned that trying with the risk of failing is better than not trying at all. When I started this project in 2015, I worried so much about failing. But I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to stand it if I didn’t try at all- the thought of it would haunt me for a long while. Learning to swallow my pride, not worry about what naysayers “might” say, and press on. And for the record, I’d say I fail at many of my “projects.” My chocolate chip cookie recipes yield flat, ugly cookies. I have unfinished quilts in my basement. I paint on canvas and the paintings absolutely suck. But heck, the cookie batter got mixed; the quilts have a start; and the canvases don’t stay white. Try. Try. Try. Try, and try some more.
Success is relative. I think so many times we get caught in the trap of comparing ourselves to others. I’m (still) learning to put on blinders and quit looking at other people’s work, comparing my work to theirs. There’s a verse in Galatians that says, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” This is SUCH a good reminder! Each of us is gifted in some way. Use your gift to the best of your ability and use it to bless other people. Run your own race as your success is relative to your own race. No one else on this planet will be better suited for the job that is yours. I’ll say it again. RUN YOUR OWN RACE.
My husband is a freaking trooper. I already knew he was before I started this project. But I am reminded over and over again about it. I whined and cried when things got hard. He listened and encouraged me to not quit. He’s run errands for me and delivered books for me. He’s carried 40 pound boxes of cookbooks up and down the stairs overANDoverANDover again when they arrive from UPS and go down to the basement for storage, until they go back up the stairs again to be delivered to a store. He has kept records of all of my book sales despite me not giving him the proper numbers. He does my taxes and bookwork. He does everything that is necessary on the back end of things- I’m so thankful for him.
There’s something bigger than a personal project/cookbook. The cookbook was real hot last year at Christmastime. It was awesome! Sales have slowed down since then, and I do hope to see another tide come in of book sales at Christmas this year and beyond, but here’s my point: This cookbook and anything else I could ever physically produce doesn’t last. The more time that goes by, the more this project will become unimportant. When I’m gone off of this old earth, I don’t want my funeral eulogy to talk about this cookbook (In fact, I’d be embarrassed if that was what my eulogy was about!), or any other work I could produce. I want and hope that words about me will be about being a kind, caring and loving individual. Someone who made others feel loved and important, and that I had a heart that was genuine, real, and honest. Seeing those words I am reminded that I have such a long way to go in that regard! But in terms of what success is, I don’t consider this cookbook a success…cause it really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the long run. How we love and have loved is a better way and measure of success.
In addition to learning lots of lessons, I also gained fun opportunities. It was so neat to meet so many great people along the way- the chefs, store owners, artists in Wichita, foodies, and many more. Wichita has some really neat folks and I’m thankful to have met some.
A year later, I’m satisfied and thankful. The project has brought it’s share of stresses, but it’s been tons of fun. A great learning experience, and if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would! If you are new to these parts and don’t know what I’m talking about you can check out more info on the cookbook here.