Not Just Hard Work: Something About Douglass' Success

On success: "It's more than just hard work; it's a mindset and how you lean into your career."

That was the observation made by an NPR WGBH 89.7 radio presenter today, in conversation with Chef Douglass Williams, the only black chef/owner in Boston fine dining. Williams runs MIDA, an "Italian-influenced" restaurant in Boston's South End. 

MIDA means "he gives me." The careful and loving preparation of food, for him, is the gift he gives others, along with smiles, warm words, and hugs, according to the restaurant's website and most clearly according to today's interview. His warmth, his positivity, and his kindness were palpable, right through my tinny Prius speakers that could make Barry White sound as erotic as Andy Rooney. The interview took place, coincidentally, during a disastrous water leak in the ceiling that Williams almost cheerily described as "the worst ever" to happen to his relatively new business. Still, he exuded positivity and calm.

Talk about mindset. Any lesser person would have been overwhelmed and canceled the interview. Williams instead kept his appointment, simultaneously directing the recovery operations while also taking the time to talk to the NPR journalist about hard work, the struggle of keeping a restaurant alive during a pandemic, overcoming loss and grief, recognizing the power of giving back—and, most importantly, summoning the power to overcome. 

Listen to his short interview once they post it online to be reminded of this: 

Things get hard. Success is hard to achieve. Stay positive. Think of your work as a gift to others. Don't be afraid to hug someone you barely know. And even when the worst happens, keep doing what you do, do it well, and do it with love.  

"There really is no blockade [to success] other than yourself."

"There is not a lot of time for excuses or reasons why not. I need to find the reasons why so."

"What is holding me back? With loss, you gain confidence..."

Tenacity and self-discipline. And more. Find him on the NPR website here. Worth the morning read and listen. Angels are everywhere.