Ministry Resources

How an Upside Down Turkey Ended in Success!

Author: Angela Craig

It was Mother’s Day, and we were having a thanksgiving feast.

The choice of turkey dinner on a sunny spring day is odd, I know. But when your husband, the main chef in our home was taking the morning to celebrate Mother’s Day with his mom, I had to pick a risk free meal that I could handle. (I was thinking crock-pot or take out.)

Over the last 19 years of marriage, I had watched my husband cook a turkey. It seemed simple enough. I looked up a recipe online. The recipe said: Rinse turkey, take out the neck and other foreign objects (the fact that I write, foreign objects here, should tell you how little I know about cooking a turkey), and bake at 325 in the roaster for 4 hours.

At 3 1/2 hours the guests had begun to arrive, the kitchen was filled with the smell of thanksgiving dinner. I was filled with pride as I opened the lid to check the turkey. My smile dropped as I realized there was something DRAMATICALLY WRONG.

The turkey had exploded!

But how?

I am not sure if it was my aghast or my shriek, but at this point, the turkey became the center of everyone’s attention. It was like a car wreck. The entire family gathered around, trying to make excuses for the exploding turkey.

Not knowing if the turkey was eatable, my husband decided to roll the turkey out onto a cutting board to see what he could salvage. Then in the silence with everyone waiting to hear the results of our dinner prospect, my husband burst out – –

You put the turkey in the roaster over UPSIDE DOWN!

I retorted: How was I supposed to know the turkey was upside down? The turkey didn’t tell me!

At this point my family was laughing and I was trying to make a mental “plan B” for Mother’s Day dinner.

With my step-father looking on (as if to bring moral support and encouragement), my husband began the “carving” process of the upside down turkey. But what I noticed as they carved was that more turkey was going in their mouths than on the plate. Then they looked up and said to me in unison: I think you’re onto something here!

We discovered something that day. We discovered that what looked like a disaster turned out to be an innovation.

Everyone should cook a turkey upside down! (Maybe I should start my own cooking show? Okay, maybe I will stick to leadership coaching!)

Every day leaders are faced with the same challenge.

Will you take a risk?

Are you willing to fail?

Are you brave enough to try something new?

I recommend listening to last week’s, The Portfolio Life podcast with host Jeff Goins. You will walk away with many sound bites on life, leadership, and the power of failure from his guest, Dr. Eric Bryant (author of A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created to Be).

Here are some examples:

How you respond to failure will determine how much you will innovate and succeed.

Fail early, fail often, fail inexpensively!

Everything looks like failure in the middle. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Serve someone else’s dream until you find yours.

In his research on entrepreneurial failure and success, Dr. Bryant studied companies like Google for their innovative technic. Specifically, Dr. Bryant talked about the importance of Google’s 20% Rule where they allow their employees 8 hours a week to create and explore outside of assigned work projects.

Other companies, like 3M (15%) have also adapted corporate environments to devote their time to personal projects. 3M’s former Chairman of the Board, William McKnight, called it, “Experimental doodling”*.

The things you will fear doing the most are the things that are intrinsic to your nature. Intrinsic motivation is what psychologist call, a motivation that comes from within. Your passion, your calling, your purpose in life, all come from within you. You were born to live a life of meaning. But so often, this is the very thing we are not brave enough to risk. Deep inside of us is the feeling that if we risk living for what we are truly created for, we risk losing our everything. It is easier to keep our desires for meaningful life work hidden and go with the status quo.

I challenge you today to be brave. To live your life outside the status quo. A life of meaning and purpose looks different to each individual. Don’t miss it! Be willing to through the turkey in upside down and see what happens!

*Girard, Bernard. The Google Way: How one Company is Revolutionizing Management as we know it. Bernard Girard: Paris France. (2008).

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