I don’t cook that often but when I do, I especially like to braise. Braising is a cooking method that typically calls for a few minutes of searing on high heat (this is perfect for chicken thighs or short ribs) followed by some combination of butter, onions, garlic and mushrooms and then some wine or a broth…something to create a sauce.
And once that sauce is reduced, the magic happens: the protein goes back in the pan and the pan goes in the oven, where it cooks for an hour, maybe two. This is when everything comes together, when every ingredient becomes a part of every other ingredient, where the whole truly becomes the sum of its parts.
It’s the combination of short-term and long-term that make this method so effective. You start with intensity to lock in the flavors of the primary ingredient but then you incorporate other flavors, over a longer period of time, to transform what you started with into something altogether more appealing.
There’s a lesson here for transforming anything that’s important to you. A powerful beginning is essential to any change effort but will only be sustained with the timely addition of the right resources. And anything worth sustaining needs a powerful beginning to show us why the longer term effort is required at all.
What finally emerges is something that resembles all of the original ingredients but through the commitment of time and energy has now taken on a new and even more compelling identity.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.