“Today I brew. Tonight I bake. Tomorrow…? The task here is for you to finish the quote. This might tell me a number of things: what school system you grew up in; the nature of your childhood reading; how long ago you were in elementary school; etc. One of my pastimes is baking, especially bread baking. Today’s post is about leadership/life lessons from the bread-making process.
Stage 1: We begin with a combination of whole wheat and white flour – dry ingredients easily moved. If we blow on it it will go in any and all directions like dust in the wind. If we heat it all we may end up with is burnt dry flour… not much good for anything. This stage represents the life of a leader or individual without a foundation; core principles on which to base their life. At this stage the saying, “If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything” will be true of the leader’s life.
Stage 2: We now add a variety of ingredients: oil, water, yeast,salt, and honey that will help to bind the dry ingredients together. These represent the core qualities/principles/virtues that will form the foundation on which the leader will base his/her life. These may include love, honesty, courage, justice, spirituality, hope and integrity.
Stage 3: Having these ingredients all together is not enough to produce the dough that will eventually become bread. We have to knead and mix them together working the mass over a period of time. From a leadership perspective it is not enough to know about the importance of core principles we have to actively work them into our lives applying them to the way we live and make decisions as often as possible. Information with application leads to transformation.
Stage 4: Dough.
Via the kneading and mixing process the yeast, oil and water have infused the entire mass. What we have now bears little resemblance to what we started out with; transformation has occurred. In the context of leadership as we consistently begin to live our lives from the foundation of our core principles they begin to become part of who we are. Transformation occurs. Our lives begin to take shape and form; to have substance that will positively impact and influence those with whom we come into contact. This transformation takes time
Stage 5: Bread.
Dough becomes bread when it experiences the heat of the oven. That heat releases an aroma that for most people is a sweet smelling aroma. If you have ever entered a home where bread has been freshly baked you have experienced this sensation. In a leader’s life adversity [or success] can represent the ‘heat’ that can release true fragrance from a life founded on the bedrock of enduring principles. This fragrance will pervade the atmosphere that surrounds you and will attract people to you. So, will we choose to be bread or dust in the wind?
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