Inspiration from Debbi Fields Rose
Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
Debbi Fields (1956–) is the founder and former chairperson of Mrs. Fields Cookies, a $500 million company with over 650 domestic locations, and over 65 international locations in 11 different countries.
Success is going for the long shot. At age 20, and without any business experience, Debbi convinced a bank to finance an unproven business concept that appeared to have little likelihood of success. On August 16, 1977, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery opened its doors to the public in Palo Alto, California.
Success is innovation. In 1989, Debbi made Mrs. Fields, Inc. the first company in the food retailing business to use technology to streamline operations and production schedules using a state-of-the-art computer system.
Success is knowing how to balance work and family life. Debbie is the proud birth mother of 5 daughters and stepmother of 5 more children. She believes in the importance of integrating family and business into one successful life.
Success is knowing that belief in yourself is more important than belief in others’ criticisms. “A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.”—Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.
Success begins with a good recipe. “First, the recipe for success requires passion—you’ve got to love what you do. Second, you’ve got to persevere. There are many challenges, and it is a scary road out there—but you have to see it through. Finally, focus on perfection. To have a product or service that will last, you have to be the best, not ’me too’.”
Success is going after business, not waiting for it to come to you. The first day of business, Debbi’s store had no sales by noon. Instead of waiting around, she hit the streets and gave samples out. By the end of the day, she had sold $75 worth of cookies.
Success is effective communication. Debbi joined her local Toastmasters, a public speaking organization, because she knew the importance of communication and delivering a message. Debbi commented for Toastmaster’s magazine, “Getting your point across quickly and succinctly is essential.”
Success is accepting risk. “People talk about success, dream about success, want to be successful. But to move to the next rung on the ladder, you’ve got to take risks. You’ve got to move out of your comfort zone.”
Success is being a positive role model. “Be your child’s role model. How your children feel about you is more important than anything else. I try hard to be a good role model. When I told my kids I was being honored with the Golden Gavel award, they looked over the list of past recipients and the criteria for selection. And they said, ‘Mom, we’re really proud of you.’ Those are the best words you can ever hear.”
[Sources: http://www.mrsfields.com, http://debbifields.com, Toastmasters Magazine]
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)