Last week I was in Indianapolis visiting the National Headquarters of Alpha Tau Omega for work. Getting to see my friends wasn't the most exciting part for me. Getting to catch up on work certainly wasn't either!
The most exciting part? The waffle I'd get to have for breakfast every morning. Feel free to judge me, just join me in the next paragraph when you're ready to read what I learned about leadership from these waffles.
Batter in cup. Check.
Nonstick spray applied to waffle maker. Check.
Pour batter, turn handle, wait.
Just when I thought I'd have to pass out from hunger (slightly dramatic) the buzzer goes off. Out pops a perfectly golden brown waffle. I thought I was in heaven. I thought to myself "you might need to reevaluate your life later today because of how excited you are right now."
Then it happens. The worst thing ever.
The butter decides not to play nice. You see I've got a hot waffle and cold butter. I've got nooks and crannies left unfilled. I've got butter chunks mocking me. I've got what can only be described as a full blown butter fiasco.
I kid you not I start thinking to myself: "Whose bright idea was it to provide cold butter? Who didn't foresee this coming? If they're going to have cold butter then why don't they have pancakes? Matter of fact whose the genius that decided waffles should be filled with these dang crevices?!"
Now while I'm complaining internally the butter starts to melt and slowly but surely these tragic looking waffles transform into the morning breakfast I assume Mrs. Butterworth dreams of.
Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. This is a pattern I've seen many times before in my life.
You see, leadership can be like a hot waffle with cold butter.
It starts with our preconceived notions of what perfect should look like. We meticulously plan out how we want something to look, how we want it to sound, how it should even taste in this case!
When we aren't met with instant satisfaction we often times allow our anger to get the best of us. We want to know who or what is preventing our perfect plan from coming to fruition. Now, I admit I was thinking about hunting down the person who invented the waffle (fun fact: I tried to find out but there are conflicting beliefs) but I don't think that is as un-relatable as you may think.
How often do we play the blame game when our waffles aren't picture perfect? Why is it so much easier to point blame on others rather than reevaluate our thoughts and actions?
The next time you have a hot waffle in one hand and cold butter in the other try thinking creatively rather than placing blame.