The No Strings Attached Apple Crisp


A few months ago I made apple crisp for a team that I serve on at work. The apple crisp was partly to celebrate our accomplishment, partly because I love a good apple crisp, and partly because they totally guilted me into making it. (I made one for another team and this team got jealous, but that is another story.)

We consumed most of that crisp, with many having two or three helpings.

Some apple crisp remained.

In order to be able to clean the baking pan, I called another co-worker and offered the remaining apple crisp.

“Hey, I made this apple crisp, it is really good. Do you want some?”

Long pause…

“I guess so…but what do you need?”

I was a little stunned at the reply. I had to regroup.

“I don’t need anything, you see I made this for this particular team, and we had extra and I thought of you.”

Another long pause…

“Ok, but seriously, do you need something from me?”

Eventually the crisp was delivered. A cautious first bite, followed by a second and a third. As I left their office, the suspicion remained.

A few weeks later, I stopped by that office again (not because I needed anything). It was then that the real story came out.

At a company prior to this, if someone did something for you, it was not simply a gesture of goodwill. There were strings attached. Receiving from others created an obligation for you.

Nothing was free. Everything came with a price.

Maybe what we all need is a little more no strings attached apple crisp.

Try it out. Do something for others without expecting something in return. It may be awkward at first because of the expectation of strings from those around you.

Let us all know how it goes. Next time I may try cookies.

I am on YOUR Team!

Your TeamImagine how much simpler life would be if those around you had to wear team shirts. All of us have people who are on our team. All of us have people who are not on our team.

Sometimes we confuse the two, especially during a conflict. Shirts could make it easier to keep track, and not confuse our interactions between these two distinct set of people in our lives.

When we are interacting with people who are not on our team, we have to play defense to protect ourselves.  We also play offense to get ahead or gain the upper hand. Both are designed to “win” against the other person. Over time, our playbook is filled with these strategies.

Unfortunately, our playbook can become our default method for all of our interactions, even our interactions with people close to us…with people who are actually on our team. The team shirt could serve as a reminder.

“Look at my shirt! I am on YOUR Team!”

I need this reminder. It helps me to switch gears and let go of my strategies. When I remember who is on my team, I remember they are here to help.