This Is Your Story

Want to really piss off a millennial? Ask them “What did you think your adult life would be like growing up?”
Want to have a full-on existential crisis? Truly and sincerely listen to the answers– and wonder if you haven’t forgotten being that pissed off once too.

Sorry about that. Let me make it up to you by sharing a comforting truth- success is relative, and how it looks is up to you.

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Good Food, Good Vibes, Good Business- My Dream Pie Shop

I get asked a lot of questions about my career as a baker.

Was it what I always wanted to do? (No- I remember wanting to be Indiana Jones for years.)
Aren’t the early morning hours rough? (They can be, but you eventually either get used to them, go mad, or advance far enough that you don’t have to work them anymore.)
Is it rewarding? (Absolutely.)

The most common one, however, is “do you want to run your own pie shop one day?”

The answer to that one is “…Maybe kinda?” I have kicked the idea back and forth in my head for ages, especially since I moved out to Portland and started surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs in the industry. Over post-shift beers and conversations across counters, I’ve gotten some solid insights into the life of a small business owner. It’s rewarding, and it can be fun, but it can also be a massive stressor and its own flavor of hell. You can’t really blame everything on the owner or boss, either- you know just how much of a screw-up that fella can be, but they’re trying hard.

All the same, it doesn’t hurt to dream. Between chats with other pros and a little soul-searching, I think I’ve got a good idea of what my dream shop would be like. It almost certainly won’t wind up quite like this, but I wouldn’t mind trying.

A close up of two beautifully baked tiny apple pies
Photo by Nishant Aneja on
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Legacies- A Baker Looks At 36

“Voice” in writing is one of those things that’s easy to define but hard to describe. It’s an amalgamation of vocabulary, style, tone, cadence, and rhythm. In other words, all the things used to describe someone’s speaking voice but translated to the page in a way that it comes across through silent letters. Read enough of one person’s work and you’ll start to detect their voice in new works, even if they change the subject matter, style, or context.

Since I’ve started writing books, I’ve had several people tell me they hear my voice in every word. They may not know me in person, or not heard my voice in ages if they do. It’s always the same though- “I really love your voice. Reading your book feels like I’m listening to you talk straight to me.”

That means a lot to me because it means that I’ve created something that accurately represents me and who I am. It means I’ll have left a bit of myself behind when I die.

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Crossroads and Signposts- Where Do You Go From Here?

I really don’t like the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It’s not because most of the popular ones are superficial or shallow (as someone who wrote a weight-loss book, I know just how narrow my space to talk is by saying that.) It’s not even because they are cliche and nebulous (Not everything needs to be a “SMART” goal, but you can’t expect much from a resolution of “play less video games and get outside more.”)

What bothers me about them is that people set these big, noble but vague goals for themselves, then get down on themselves when they fall off the wagon- as they inevitably will. It turns the elements of effective goal-setting on their heads and, as someone wiser than me said, “people overestimate how much they can do in a day and underestimate how much they can do in a year.”

Regardless of your personal commitment, keeping goals “SMART”- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed- rewarding yourself for achieving them, and working toward them slowly will add up to success more (and disappoint you less) often than trying to “sprint up the mountain” on Day 1.

Before you start writing those goals down though (and yeah, put them in writing,) you need to ask yourself two questions and answer them as honestly as you can:
Who are you? What do you want?

Once again, an Uncle Iroh moment…
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