Thanksgiving & the Gift of Mentorship
I’m from a family of self-trained chefs. Cooking has always played a fundamental role in my life, especially during the holidays when it paves the way for multi-generational bonding. My sister is a sweet potato pie MASTER. Every year, people call her and request one of her buttery, sweet, perfectly spiced pans of deliciousness.
As someone who loves to expand my cooking repertoire, I decided that I’d deviate from my normal dessert expertise and attempt a sweet potato pie. I studied (like seriously took notes) then whipped, seasoned, tasted, studied some more and thought that I had a similar version of my sister’s legendary pie. When I was done, we both drove to my parents’ house, the midway point between both of our homes, to slice my first pie and see how well I fared.
Two chews in, something was missing.
My sister bit into the pie and said, “The crust is phenomenal. The texture is perfect. You simply need a bit more brown sugar.”
It’s human nature to only focus on the bad.
“More sugar?” I thought to myself.
Well that’s impossible since the pie is already baked…and there are TWO pies.
“I guess I’ll find a sugar-free family and give them away.”
“No you won’t.”
She’s the big sister so I’m used to her being ever so supportive, motivating, and full of love. But c’mon. These pies are done. She immediately started asking questions.
“Don’t you know how to make a caramel sauce?”
“And don’t you have a bag of pecans that you can roast.”
“Uhm, why yes I do.”
I was excited and inspired. I was so elated that I insisted that after I layered the pie with the caramel sauce, I would bring the second pie to her so that her family could enjoy. In that moment, my sister, in the role of mentor, highlighted my strengths and helped me figure out a solution to a problem using my own talents.
Although this story takes place in the kitchen, it’s a figurative blueprint for mentorship/mentee relationships. Find someone who will take the time to invest in your growth without asking them to “do the work” for you. And always, ALWAYS have something to offer in return. Yes, she’s the pie champ but she didn’t have this version of the sweet potato pie on her dinner menu.
This pie makes me reflect upon my career. I am so grateful for every professional glitch. When problems occur, I am tempted to throw a tantrum and exclaim frustration. But I constantly remind myself that every moment, every mistake, every hurdle, every screw up is one step leading to a greater later.
This pie is amazing. This life is amazing.
Happy Thanksgiving! #Gratitude