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Updated: November 27, 2023 The Hustle is Real

Nearly ruined wedding cookies & the value of patience

Renee Diaz smiling Photo | Courtesy Renee Diaz Renee Diaz

Growing up, patience was never my virtue, but I have always been honest to a fault. I loved immediate gratification, hated waiting for an answer, and when I wanted something done, I wanted it done right away. When I brought this up to my husband, he laughed, because he still thinks my patience is not at an all-time high, but he definitely knows I can be honest, and blunt. But, since becoming a mom and now a business owner for 11 years, patience has been a new part of my life.

I have noticed more lately when I hear my employees talk, they are their own worst critics. They often second guess themselves, not trusting the skills they have honed through years of experience. They fixate on the small things, and while I do believe the small things matter, I do not think they should overtake their minds when it hinders the end goal. I was joking around with a few of them in the kitchen, and asked if I was a scary monster in their minds. They laughed but explained they are always nervous to make mistakes. I have more confidence in them than they do in themselves!

In the past, I was way more of a micromanager and didn’t have the same type of patience I have now, and it makes me wonder if I instilled fear and timidness in past employees. I hope not, but it is almost inevitable. All I can do is build my employees' confidence by pointing out the great things they do and offer constructive criticism in a way that is not belittling, but empowering. Patience is key; so is honesty.

Besides having patience, when I reflect on my world, I wonder how we can establish better coping skills. Mistakes happen every day. As much as I would like my bakery to be perfect, we aren’t. But how we deal with the imperfections is what matters the most. When an employee makes a mistake, how are we going to cope with it? Are we going to treat it as if the world is ending? Or will we band together as a team, come up with a solution, and then deal with the aftermath? We can fix our mistakes, and if an issue arises, we must think on our feet rather than dwell on what happened.

A few weeks ago, I tried a new technique on wedding cookies for a customer. It had worked for me in the past, but this time around, the gold writing I tried stayed tacky and did not fully dry. I dusted it with cornstarch, a hack I saw online. When I started to package the order, I realized the cookies were being ruined. I had a few options. The first one was to continue packaging the cookies and send them on their way. Obviously, I would never do that. Second was to remake the cookies and deliver them myself the next day to the wedding venue. Third would be to smudge the gold all over the cookie and then write on top of it. The second and third options were best, but I knew I had to be honest and call the bride. I was completely honest with her. She could not have been nicer, more considerate, or patient with me. She said it was totally fine; but the wedding venue was in Maine, and she was not going to have me drive the cookies to her. She said she would take whatever we had on hand.

I was so thankful for her grace and told her I was going to go with option three. I texted her photos, she was thrilled, and we baked fresh cookies for her as a thank you. I handled the situation, though not ideal, with honesty, and she met me with patience and understanding. If I went with the first option, or let this scenario ruin my day, it would have thrown off everything else. I was able to work through that much differently than I would have in the past.

My main goal has always been to help create strong, confident people. I will continue to do so until The Queen’s Cups is no longer. Being a boss, employer, and/or business owner is a marathon, not a sprint. We all evolve over time and hopefully reflect back on what works and what doesn’t. What works for me is patience and honesty. I can only hope these traits are being passed on to those who I work side by side with every day.

Renee Diaz is the owner of Worcester bakery The Queen's Cups.

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