When we first moved to Nashville, someone gave us a “starter” for Amish Friendship Bread.
It looked like a Ziplock bag of liquid glue. It came with instructions. It was the “starter” for Friendship Bread. Follow the instructions and mix in other ingredients, and you will end up with magnificent dessert-like bread.
We loved it.
And my wife loves to bake, too.
When you bake this bread, you end up with more of the “starter” mixture. It seemed to be a mixture of yeast, flour and sugar. Before long, my wife was baking this bread as if our kitchen was a commercial bakery.
If you visited our house to change the locks, you walked out with Friendship Bread. Same for the plumber, the handyman, the electrician and the alarm salesman. Basically, if you walked within one hundred yards of our house, you were going home with Friendship Bread.
Still, it kept growing. Our kitchen counters were literally overflowing with this stuff.
Until, one day, we had enough. My wife gave all the starters away, and we were finished.
(I’m not sure how much weight I gained during this period, but it was worth it.)
Friendship Bread really was named perfectly. It was a great gift, a good conversation starter, and who wouldn’t immediately like someone giving them homemade bread?
The experience is a good lesson for leaders:
Leaders Give With No Expectation of Anything in Return
In watching my wife, I saw her give this bread away simply as a thank you or as a way to make people smile. She wasn’t looking for anything.
Most of the people I admire are people who give of themselves.
Leaders Pay It Forward
The magic of the Friendship Bread is that it keeps going. You give a starter to someone else, and they keep passing it along. It’s like a baking version of a good old-fashioned chain letter that may never end.
Leaders Think of Others
A leader thinking only of self is not a leader you want to follow.