Everything is a learning experience. Every choice, every moment, every meeting or conversation, there isn’t one instance where we can’t take a step back, reflect and grow from an encounter.
Last weekend, my office was prepping for an appreciation celebration for our (amazing!) volunteers. My Friday night ticked away to the beeping of my oven timer, to the taste of a warm cup of coffee, the smell of brown sugar and the company of my favorite baking companion.
(Not to worry: Watson is simply a spectator, not a taste tester!)
I spent my evening baking one of my favorite treats, a usual crowd-pleaser when it comes to work-related gatherings: my crumb cake.
Powdered to perfection and dyed purple (for Mardi Gras), I was excited to share my cake at the celebration. The next day, our breakfast began smoothly. The crumb cake was quickly dwindling, and I was happy to see that everyone was enjoying it.
As the party quieted down, I stayed behind to keep an eye on the room. Another volunteer had wandered in and helped herself to a piece of the crumb cake. After one bite, she quickly exclaimed, “Oh, that’s not good!” and tossed it into the garbage.
Perplexed at the bluntness of her comment, her words began to simmer, like a faint buzzing in the space between my ears. I was not angry at her honesty or her dislike for my baked treat; I was simply frozen. I quickly began to overthink every recipe step in my head, wondering if there was anything I could have done to change this outcome. She then explained why she had tossed out the cake, describing her reasons as to why it simply was not her cup of tea. In the end, we both had a good laugh about the encounter.
Criticism or a difference of opinion can be such a powerful thing; although sometimes perceived as a negative, both can help open our eyes to a road less traveled and bring us outside of ourselves, even if only for a moment. It is okay to be sensitive about the things we are passionate about, but one difference of opinion should not derail us. Listening to someone else’s experience can bring a whole new meaning to a situation, a topic or a person. We should never shy away from a chance to learn and grow, even if that means a piece of your crumb cake ends up in the garbage.