“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails” (Elizabeth Edwards)
Music is filled with themes…and variations on themes. Most importantly, the variation on the theme still carries the theme. There may have been creative adjustment of some kind, but the basic melody continues to emerge and shines through. The same holds true for your pursuit of life goals. Creative adjustments may need to be made along the way, but always with an eye toward the pursuit of the goals and priorities that are important to you. Making adjustments that are in alignment with your understanding of your personal purpose are necessary in the ever-moving sea of changes that we are experiencing in our world.
Beverly Sallee, author of Hitting the Highest Notes, relates the story of Margaret Rudkin, who had a successful career on Wall Street in the early 1920’s. She quit, however, when she married and moved with her husband to a horse farm in Connecticut. She liked living off her farm and feeding her family wholesome foods, but she couldn’t find bread that she felt was healthy, it being made from highly processed flour. So, she began to experiment with an old bread recipe given to her by her grandmother until she found just the right mix of whole-grain ingredients for the taste and texture that she liked. She asked a local mill to grind unprocessed flour for her and began to bake bread and market it locally. Even though she charged more than other bakers for her bread, the quality was unmistakable, and within five years, she was selling two million loaves a year!
Apparently, other bakers also began to copy Rudkin’s recipe to sell healthy bread products, so she felt the need to make an adjustment to her business plan. She developed a real love for European cookies and partnered with a Belgian baker to create a line of cookies that she named after famous European cities – like the Milano cookie.
Rudkin, the “mother” of Pepperidge Farms, catered to customers with discriminating tastes in an ordinary market. She eventually sold her company to Campbell’s Foods in 1960 when her stock was worth twenty-eight million dollars.
Richard Hooker’s quote – “Change is not made without inconvenience” – rings true, but without creative adjustments to our goals, our lives would stagnate and even suffer unnecessarily. Staying focused on our mission, values, and overarching goals, but tweaking our methods, is essential if we are to keep up with disruptive change. The winds of change may blow, but then we must adjust our sails to harness the best of the winds.