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One ingredient that makes all the others work

| by Ben Marshall

When I was in high school, I took a cooking class. Really, I wanted an easy A and I wanted to eat. 

It was my task to prepare the mixture of sugar and cinnamon in the right amount and with the right ingredients to top the snickerdoodle cookies we were baking. 

As soon as they had cooled, I took a bite only to discover something had gone very wrong. I had substituted an ingredient, accidentally, that distorted the rest of the cookie. Instead of putting sugar in the mixture, I accidentally grabbed the salt.

In leadership, there is one particular ingredient that I think is absolutely essential, and without it, the “whole batch” may be ruined. This ingredient—continued growth.

What does it look like to continue to grow in leadership? Here are three things to try:

1. Learn more about what you already know 

Even experts continue to read and grow in their expertise. The amount of information available with a few clicks of a keyboard and mouse is simply overwhelming. We will never know all there is to know even about our chosen career or field of study. That means there is always more growth that can be had! 

Keep at it. Don't let pride paralyze you into thinking you know everything you need to, or that you know just enough to get by. Keep learning and keep growing.

2. Learn more about something you know little about

This could be a hobby or even a completely different field you are intrigued by. Seek to learn more about it. I am not a carpenter, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am fascinated by woodworking and enjoy it as a fun, relaxing and productive hobby. I have been striving to grow in my skill and knowledge so I can fix things, build things and make quality products for my home. 

Find something you don't know much about, but would like to, and study it. It will stretch your mind, change your thinking and possibly give you a great creative outlet. It will certainly help you grow in leadership.

3. Read deep and read wide

Don't just read books, blogs and articles about your interests. Read deeply and widely. Read deep about certain subjects that interest you, and become an expert on something. 

Also, read widely. Keep up with what's going on in the world, what other people are writing and saying. Read books not typically on your reading list. For example, I read a lot of spiritual growth books, ministry-related books and leadership books. However, one day I was at the library and picked up a TED book (based on TED Talks), and added a new genre to my reading list. These TED Books are very different from the norm for me and have been very informative and interesting. I now have a better grasp of certain ideas than I had before.

Whatever you choose to do, choose to grow each day. Growth doesn’t happen by accident. It requires care and intentionality. Put in the work today to grow and challenge yourself. It’s an ingredient in life that can make all the difference.

Photo source: istock 

Ben Marshall

Ben Marshall is a Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, Michigan. He oversees youth and young adults as well as serving as a campus pastor in a multi-site church. He is actively engaged in the social media platforms and website communication at Calvary. He is a blogger, guitar player, and sports enthusiast. Ben currently resides in Holland with his wife Connie and their daughter.

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This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.
Isaiah 48:17 (NLT)
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