Lessons Learned by Breaking my Bowl at Breakfast

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Some of my friends say that I can find a relatable lesson in almost anything.  I’m beginning to believe they might be right.  We’ll blame it on far, far too many years of conducting root cause analysis in the office but I think it’s a good skill to have.

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Yes, this happened. But, why?


So here’s what happened.  After dropping the kids at school this morning, and grabbing a coffee on my way home, I was really looking forward to breakfast.  Especially because I had to get my coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and it’s quite low on my preference list.

#1 Cappuccino IN Italy

#2 Bailey’s & coffee made by my son or my husband 😉

#3 Custom-crafted cappuccino in a decent US coffee shop

#4 Lavazza

#5 Starbucks

#6 Dunkin

#7 Gas station coffee

Yes, I might have a “problem” with coffee.  Do you see how easily, I got distracted and off track just mentioning the word?  But, anyway.  Dunkin’ will work.




That said, my cup also had a Patriots’ logo on it.
I’m a Seahawks fan, so, umm, ya….




I digress.



With all of the (additional) recent travel, it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed protein pancakes so I whipped up a batch

These were the pancakes I envisioned.... not the pancakes I ended up with.

These were the pancakes I envisioned…. not the pancakes I ended up with.

(egg whites, dark cocoa, and red velvet cake protein powder – that’s it).

– I reached over the stove for the olive oil, sprayed the pan, and reached up to put the spray away.

– It didn’t slide all the way into its slot, fell out of the cupboard,

– Hit the pan handle which

– Caused the pan to fly across the counter and

– Hit the glass bowl containing my pancake mixture, causing

– It to crash to the floor and break into a million pieces.

– There was pancake mixture and broken glass, everywhere.




My first thoughts, in order (and happening within seconds of each other) were:

(a) Crap!! That was my last bit of red velvet protein powder – it’s my favorite for pancakes/waffles.

(b) Is there any way that I can scoop this up from the floor and still make the pancake I was soooooo looking forward to?  Yes, that’s gross. No, I didn’t do it but YES, that did go through my mind!!!

(c) Well, this was a series of unfortunate events.


I really DID think that (again, see my initial sentence about root cause analysis – in several of my past jobs, I couldn’t just say “this happened”, I had to say “here is the likely reason that this happened.”) and I said those words, verbatim, to my daughter this morning.  “Well, this was a series of unfortunate events.”    

One thing didn’t “go wrong”.  My pancakes didn’t just end up on the floor.  Everything actually began with me not taking the extra half a second to get the olive oil back into the slot.

In fact, then, I created the problem.

This didn’t “happen to me”.  The world is not conspiring against me.  I didn’t have “bad luck”.  This did not happen because “it’s one of those days” or “it is definitely Monday.”  This happened because I was in a rush (which saved me nothing, by the way).



Plan B…and there it was.  My breakfast on the floor.

I took the time to clean up the mess first because it forced me to slow down a little bit.

I didn’t have any more of that protein powder but I did have more cocoa and a couple more eggs.  My daughter had some vegan protein powder in her cupboard.  That stuff is okay to drink but it’s too thin to make decent pancakes. Oh well.  It’s all I had.

I mixed up another batch of not-so-great pancakes.  Topped them with a little peanut butter.



My point is that lessons don’t come just from large, paradigm-altering, life-shattering events.  Lessons can come in the tiny little inconveniences that happen every day.

Stay calm

You can choose to allow those things to ruin your day OR you can choose to


RE-EVALUATE (What caused this problem)


MAKE A PLAN (It happened.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  What can I do at this point to move forward?)


EXECUTE THE PLAN EVEN IF IT’S NOT PERFECT  These pancakes were not anywhere close to what the original pancakes would have been like). I concur with James C. Collins that good is the enemy of great – and we should not settle – but perfection is the enemy of good.  The fact is that some days, good has to be good enough.

Do what you can, when you can, with what you have available to you.

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