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Leadership & Life Lessons from Baking Cookies with Mom

Updated: Apr 16

While baking Chinese almond cookies with my mother, I gained the secret that makes them special. The lesson can also be applied to being an effective leader.



HOW IT STARTED

I met Lynette Lo Tom who did a cooking demonstration and served her delightful dishes paired with wine for Japanese Chamber of Commerce women's networking event. We shared about our favorite recipes and I mentioned my mom's Chinese Almond Cookies. That led to Lynette's article featuring my mother's Chinese Almond Cookie recipe in the Star Advertiser's Crave on August 15, 2018.

Initially, my mom, Yok Heong "Billie" Ching was reluctant to go on camera. We had to ask three times before she agreed to the photo and video interview. Why? It's an Asian "thing" to be humble.

LESSONS LEARNED

There is another important lesson I gleaned from learning the art of her delicious and delicate cookies. The secret and most important ingredient: L O V E

During the baking demonstration, my mom and I mixed the cookie batter together. Then we formed the cookies in her special way. Her cookies were perfect in shape, size, and smooth. My cookies were varied in shape, size and cracked. Same bowl of dough. Different outcomes.

I am determined to make these cookies like my mom. I watched the video, asked her questions, and gave away cookies, asked for feedback, then tried over and over again.

I'm pleased to report that the constant practice and adjustments in my own style are showing better results. How did I do this? Practice. Practice. Practice. And when I baked my 3rd batch, I remembered the coaching from my mom on the most important ingredient that is not written in the recipe: L O V E !

Yes, LOVE. I started rolling the ball of dough in my palm and infuse LOVE. I gently pressed it down and with each dot, I affirm: Abundance, Peace, & Joy.

HOW IT RELATES TO LEADERSHIP

This cookie experience is a metaphor on leadership. What make good cookies or leadership? The results will vary by each baker or leader because each person is unique in her or his own way. I looked up "Almond Cookie Recipes" on Google and about 123 million results popped up. I looked up "Leadership Principles" on Google and about 522 million results popped up. How to begin?

  • Pick the recipe or leadership practices that resonate with you.

  • Be open to constructive feedback from superiors, direct reports, peers, clients and trusted coach.

  • Keep learning and practicing to refine your style according to the situation, environment, people, and desired outcomes.

  • Do things with LOVE and intentions for the greater good.

Recipes and leadership fundamentals are basic. The key ingredient in each cookie and each interpersonal relationship is L O V E. The human factor. I invite you to treat each person you interact with compassion, care, and concern as you master the art of being a great leader.

I'm striving to carry on the legacy of Mom's cookies and the key ingredient to achieve success and fulfilling life.

Let's talk story about your leadership challenges and life lessons. I'm baking lots of Chinese Almond cookies based on Mom's recipe and would love to share with you.

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