What I learned About Success by Flipping Burgers
Action is key, but intention and practice create success.
I read an article recently about how to approach writing the way a burger flipper approaches flipping burgers.
They don't think, they just do.
Being a chef who has flipped a decent amount of burgers, I was intrigued. The premise is great, less thinking, more action. We overthink too much, trying to be perfect. It inhibits our ability to take the most important step, the only step that will get us closer to our goal - action.
The act of flipping a burger, yes, is to simply flip the burger. But does anyone flip a burger, just to flip a burger? Do you create anything just to create?
Or are you trying to make something people crave? That they will choose to spend their hard earned money on and come back day after day because it's so good, they can't live without it.
Can you just flip a burger and find success?
Maybe, if you're a home cook and your goal is to make dinner.
Maybe you write, or create for your own satisfaction. I applaud you. For me, who depends on creations for income, the action of doing is only just the beginning.
When you run a restaurant and rely on selling burgers to make money, action along doesn't guarantee a happy customer. Nor one who is willing to pay a price that makes you money, come back everyday and tell all their friends.
Whatever you create, you must have craft and intention behind it to make it successful. It's the unique dedication to your skill that makes people crave your creation and feel satisfied when they've licked the plate clean.
The Secret in the Sauce.
How will your burger be better than any other burger? What is your special ingredient that makes your burger stand out in the world of sandwiches.
What kind of ingredients are you going to use? 80/20 meat? A blend of chuck and brisket? Fresh brioche from a local french bakery? Crisp iceberg and a vine-ripened tomato? Aged cheddar or spicy pepper jack cheese?
How do you even know people will want burgers? Maybe your customer base is all vegan, or health nuts, or simply hate burgers.
You do your research. You find what makes you unique and are passionate about. What customers care about and are willing to pay for. You test your ideas and get feedback. Learn, fail and make something even better.
Exploration into what you are creating and how people will receive it in the world. You can have the best idea in the world, but if no one wants it, it won't sell. It doesn't mean you're wrong, it just means you haven't come up with the right version yet.
Now You Have the Recipe to Success
Not so fast. You've spent the time creating the perfect recipe, but you're not done. Unless you have a specialized restaurant that only sells burgers, you have to account for all the other factors that will play along side with your masterpiece.
As a restaurant cook, you are the ultimate multi-tasker. You aren't simply flipping one burger at a time. No, typically it's multiple burgers on the grill along with salmon, steak, a pasta dish on the nearby stove, dropping fries to go along with that juicy burger goodness. That's only the cooking part. You have servers making mistakes, managers demanding you work faster, and a non-stop ticket printer, constantly reminding you, customers are waiting.
It's life. No one lives in a bubble of singular focus. As much as we try, it's nearly impossible to only have one task at hand. How do you master your craft in a hectic world?
It Comes Down to Preparation
Hours are spent setting up and preparing for restaurant service. If you don't, you'll be in the weeds and fall quickly behind.
The art of flipping a burger is all about preparation. Checklists, guides, prep sheets, recipes, all tools to success. You have a gameplan and know your task inside and out so when chaos and pressure appear, you just act.
To execute in life, we prepare. We study, read, learn, make lists, plan things out. We come ready and make time to execute our craft.
Practice Makes Perfect
I have cooked thousands of burgers in my career, maybe more. Being able to cook the perfect one, started with a lot of garbage.
Repetitive action, every day, over time. Learning how much salt is just right, the intuitive sense to know when the burger was at the perfect medium rare. Everyday I cooked burgers until I could do it with my eyes closed.
There were a lot of failures in the process. Overcooked, oversalty, undersalted, too dry. Every time, it was a lesson. A chance to reflect and do it differently the next time. Failures become your best teachers.
No one is an overnight success. Any leader has had failures and being able to pick themself back up again, learn from their mistakes and try again.
To achieve your goals, you must first start.
We are all guilty of not taking enough action. But the work doesn't stop there. Action is an important step, but what goes in to creating something realy good, something people crave, something people will actually pay you money to do - takes practice and preparation.
Action is simply the beginning. You can never get anywhere unless you are willing to start and to fail over and over again.