In their latest book “Great Leaders Grow” authors Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller describe how to “Become a Leader for Life”.  One of the four key aspects they mention to continue to grow as a leader is to “Open your World”.

I am a firm believer that to be an effective servant leader one needs to keep balance in their life. To be the best you can be for the people that you work with, you must inject enjoyment in both your personal and professional life. A great way to keep balance is to open your world in areas outside of your profession.

To open my world I have started a new hobby this year. I am testing the water on maple syrup production. I have spent my spare time the last couple of months researching this exciting new hobby. I have read a lot, I have sought out a number of people that have been involved in maple syrup production to learn from them, and I have visited maple syrup operations.

I have also expressed my enthusiasm and excitement to a number of friends who are now equally as excited about the endeavor. I decided to start small to discern whether or not this would be something to commit to in earnest in the future. 

Well this was the big week. The weather is now warming above freezing during the day and back below freezing at night. We tapped 20 trees on Saturday and have enlisted a current maple syrup producer to take our sap and evaporate it into maple syrup. Like expectant children on Christmas morning we went out yesterday to see if we had any sap in the buckets.

Much to our glee we collected 3 gallons of sap on the first day out of just six trees. The rest have not started running yet. I will keep you posted in the future on our output and whether or not we taste any maple syrup from our trees.

What are the key takeaways from this endeavor of expanding my world?

  • Expansion of my knowledge about a subject that I previously knew nothing about.
  • Increased passion for my day job knowing that I will not make a living producing maple syrup
  • New friends that I have gained in a different industry
  • Enhanced relationships with my friends as we work on something new together
  • Hobbies are a great way to relax and in some cases like maple syrup production – enjoy God’s creation at it’s finest
  • Hopefully a few years down the road when we gear up the operation – Christmas gifts for clients, friends, and family!

As I mentioned last week, I encourage you to continue to grow and commit to a value of learning both inside and outside your profession. 

Mark Deterding