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East of Eden/ West of Lutsen

by Hannah Hoaglund on

“In human affairs of danger and delicacy successful conclusion is sharply limited by hurry. So often men trip by being in a rush. If one were properly to perform a difficult and subtle act, he should first inspect the end to be achieved and then, once he had accepted the end as desirable, he should forget it completely and concentrate solely on the means. By this method he would not be moved to false action by anxiety or hurry or fear. Very few people learn this.”

Working My Way Through

Do these words ring a bell? If they do, it’s because you have read and most likely enjoyed John Steinbeck’s work, particularly “East of Eden”. The date on the receipt, which is my bookmark, is December 8th 2020, so for the better part of a year I have been working my way through this Nobel Prize writing of Steibecks. Over a year ago now, I decided to read a Nobel Prize novel. I mostly stick to non-fiction. It has taken me some time and I have picked it up and then set it down but always engaged with the story to the best of my ability. I dog eared this section above a while back and now coming back to it. 

At a Turning Point

Fika is at a turning point currently, I have been at turning points two other distinct times with Fika. 

One, being when the roaster moved from a garden shed to a coffee shop in Lutsen.

The second one was when I brought on Fika’s first full time year round employee.

In both of these turning points there were similar things going on, which has allowed me to look back and clearly identify those as turning points and now has given me some history to see that I’m approaching another turning point.

Delicacy Successful

As I feel the turning point approaching and look ahead, I'm brought back to Steinbeck's text. When I think of the “delicacy successful” that he refers to, and apply it to my own life, I think of Fika Coffee.

Truth of the matter is that the larger Fika grows, the more delicate it becomes. It requires more intentional fineness to get to where I want to go.

For a moment, let's take an analogy of hopping in a canoe or ship and going across a vast water. When Fika first started what I did and what I wanted to do was pure and simple: roast coffee, brew coffee and share it. So simple, right? All I needed to do was just start roasting coffee and selling it.

Our boat has left the shore and we are slowly moving out to sea. The far coast  on the other side we cant see is the “land” of coffee.

The further away we get from shore towards the middle of the sea also means the more speed we are gaining.

In the Middle of the Sea

Right now it pretty much feels like I’m in the middle of the sea, can barely make out land either behind me or in front of me. I'm moving at a pretty good clip compared to when I left the shore. One difference now is I have more people on my ship and it’s continually proving to take, fineness, strength, intention, leadership...the list goes on.

Mounting Pressure

The pressure is mounting to finish this trip and often when we feel pressure it blinds us. We become sharply limited by hurry, we trip by being in a rush. 

For me, those “things” that come and trip me up are often voices from the outside or emails of people trying to sell me things.

These distractions are only distractions because either I have let them in to distract me or “they” don’t know where I’m going on the other side of the sea. 


Finding a Remote Island

You see, I’m not just trying to get to the land of coffee on the other side, but in reality, I need to get to a specific bay on a remote island of that shore and I want to get there on a certain date, too. So, I need to go and scout out the bay on that island. I need to do my own reconnaissance of what it will take to get there, how many people, supplies and gas. I will need to know the speed we should travel to get there right on time.

The Pressure to Rush

Those voices easily produce the sense of being in a rush, because we are in the wild sea and a storm is brewing and from the outside. Yeah, just sell more coffee beans, make more coffee drinks for more people and that will get you to the shore faster and out of the “wild sea”.

his often looks to me like someone trying to sell me their newsletter marketing strategy, or telling me how much I could sell more if I only ran google ads, or suggestions to open up more locations, etc.

These are all good things, but good things at the wrong time have the potential to be catastrophic.

To Lead and to be Led

So as I write these, I have from my experience recognized that I’m sitting at a crucial turning point.

To get where I want to be going will require the due diligence from me to go and thoroughly expect that end outcome and get very familiar with it. Then, I'll need to get back in the ship, put my head down, concentrate solely on the means, and continue to lead and to be led by my team.

Finding the Island

As I discover exactly what the remote island looks like, I will let you know. For now, let's keep our heads down, block out the distracting noise and move forward.

Thank you so much for hoping on the Fika Ship and for being a part of this journey.


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