Cheesecake Wisdom

There I was standing next to the owner of the Cheesecake Factory, David Overton, in the middle of his 4th restaurant opening in Washington DC. I was honored to be on the opening team to get the restaurant up and running. It was a Saturday night around 7:30 pm (the restaurant opened just two days prior) and there was a 3.5-hour wait for dinner. The place was buzzing with activity and we could barely keep up. I remember asking David, “What is the secret to your success?” He said without hesitation, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I like to make sure all the parts are created, designed and well trained to the best of my ability and then I just let go and see it become bigger than I could have ever imagined.”

Looking back, this was a mic drop moment for me.

Now, here I am, about 30 years later, having just experienced this exact experience myself. Chuck and I just completed our Produce U production intensive for our 22 private clients and boy was it big. So big, in fact, many advised us that we were attempting to do way too much in a 3-day period.

In service of helping our clients bring their individual Bigger Games to the world, we scheduled individual professional photo and video shoots (studio and on-location). While all of that was happening, each person also received his or her own group coaching mastermind session.

The logistics and coordination of this event were awesome (thank you Chuck!) and we had the team in place to make this happen.

Just like that moment at the Cheesecake Factory all those years ago, there was that same feeling of experiencing something bigger than we could ever have planned for or put onto a timeline. It truly was a Bigger Game made real.

Many of us talked about both the inner growth as well as the outer expression (photos and videos) combination that had it be something beyond our wildest dreams. The energy in the studio was electric. I love those moments when you can connect the dots of wisdom of your life and begin to see how they all relate.

Back to Cheesecake. What I find amazing is that the Cheesecake Factory has NEVER advertised ever. Have you ever seen a print or TV ad? Nope. David’s vision, attention to detail and dedication to the guest experience from start to finish is what makes it so amazing. The colors, the design, the flavors, the smells, the textures, the sounds, the lighting, the hiring, the training, the systems and the space are all given major attention and intention.

David turned his passions into a very real, very tangible form for others to experience. And that is truly the definition of a Bigger Game – turning your own love and passion of something into something real for others to experience.

That is my life’s work. So I ask you, what is it you wish to put major attention and intention on so that you may experience the universal principle called “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?”


PS – If this interests you even just a little, you will so want to attend our Bigger Game Live event this June in Minneapolis.


  • Dean Regan Reply

    “The whole IS so much greater than the sum of its parts,” [emphasis added]. Identifying the parts and allowing them to be the very best they can be can be a challenge. What I’m experiencing now is how “One bad apple can spoil the whole darn bunch.” Engaging your team and sometimes pruning your team can be so important. And, I’m amazed at how folks find their own level of engagement. Greek philosopher Epictetus is attributed to having said, “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” Though sometimes I can have little “control” over the people who I am working with, I can keep it in my deep intention to uplift those around me. That’s what I’m focusing on this week.

    Going back to the topic of the PRODUCE U event that Rick wrote of; that was such an example of gigantic intention paying off magnificently. It required organization, flexibility and grace on everyone’s part and was like an exciting roller coaster ride of the highest caliber. I’m so grateful to have been apart of the event and to be experiencing my BIGGER GAME unfold … in amazing ways. In the process, I am learning to embrace that graceful life experience of change and unexpected outcome. What glorious tools I am using through this process. PRODUCE U – just like life – is such a trip! Thank you, Rick and Chuck!

  • Maureen Knapp Reply

    Being one of those brilliant parts of the ‘parts being bigger than the whole’ at the Produce U Retreat you’re referring to here Rick has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in a life full of experiences! As Dean Regan says so beautiful in his reply above, embracing the graceful life experience of change and unexpected outcome — and seeing how much bigger and magnificent that outcome can be that you can anticipate, has life-altering impact. Rick, Chuck, and fellow Produce U-ers, and our collaborative work in ‘Making Things Real’ — REAL BIG! — is as good as it gets. Thanks to you all!

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