Embracing Flexibility:

From Baking to Breaking Limited Mindsets

By Kelly Featheringham

As a passionate cook, I must admit that I’m no stranger to culinary adventures. I love experimenting with new recipes, blending flavors, and creating unique gastronomic experiences. These usually lend themselves to an abundance of garlic, rich and complex sauces, and of course loaves, and loaves, and more loaves of bread.
But let me share a little secret with you: for the longest time, there was one area where I found myself finding excuses to avoid making or simply sticking to the box. You know the kind that just say add eggs and oil?
The magical world where precision and exact measurements rule supreme, and any deviation could result in catastrophe! I used to think that even a slight misstep would lead to cakes that defied gravity, cobblers that tasted like science experiments gone wrong, and textures that could double as doorstops. It felt like a dangerous territory where creativity dared not tread. But, oh, how wrong I was! But let me tell you, I had a revelation in my culinary journey recently. It was like stumbling upon a hidden treasure, a recipe so forgiving that it whispered, “Go ahead, make it your own!” And you know what? I decided to throw caution to the wind and challenge my limited baking mindset.
I mean, who needs strict adherence to recipes when you can pick and choose ingredients and play with flavors? So, armed with my apron and a touch of audacity, I started substituting, adding my unique twists, and even tinkering with unconventional pans and cooking techniques.
Let me tell you, the results were nothing short of a delicious miracle, if I do say so myself! I created new variations that left taste buds tingling and had my family and friends begging for more. It’s safe to say that my newfound baking adventures have opened up a whole new world of sugary possibilities.
Who would have thought this cooking rebel could conquer the land of precision and turn it into a canvas for edible art? Not me! But hey, sometimes you just have to laugh at your own apprehensions and embrace the sweet surprises that come your way.
This experience in the kitchen got me thinking about my work as a team and leadership coach and trainer. I often encounter individuals and teams struggling with this similar affliction of limited vision of possibilities, much like my initial belief about the limitations of baking.
They approach challenges and change with rigid thinking, fearing that any deviation from the norm will result in
failure. But just as I discovered in baking, embracing flexibility and out-of-the-box thinking can lead to remarkable discoveries and breakthroughs. When we allow ourselves to let go of rigid expectations and embrace a growth mindset, we open doors to new possibilities. Change becomes an opportunity for growth, innovation, and improved outcomes. It’s about being curious, exploring different perspectives, and challenging the status quo.
Just as I discovered new flavors and textures by experimenting with baking, teams and individuals can unlock their full potential by embracing flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to step outside their comfort zones.
As a team and leadership coach, my role is to inspire and encourage others to break free from limited mindsets. I work with individuals and teams to cultivate a culture that embraces change, welcomes diversity, fosters creativity, and encourages out-of-the-box thinking.

Together, we explore new approaches, challenge assumptions, and empower individuals to unleash their unique strengths
and ideas. By fostering a culture of curiosity and open-mindedness, organizations can tap into the collective intelligence of their teams, unlocking innovative solutions and driving sustainable success. Embracing flexibility doesn’t mean abandoning structure or disregarding best practices. Instead, it means recognizing that adaptation and exploration are essential for growth and progress.
So, let’s challenge ourselves to break free from limited mindsets, both in the kitchen and in our professional lives. Let’s celebrate the joy of experimentation, the thrill of discovery, and the power of flexibility. Who knows what amazing flavors and opportunities await us when we embrace change and unleash our creative potential?

Together, let’s bake a future filled with endless possibilities!

Oh and if you want to try out my recipe, see below. Please feel free to take some initiative to change it up. I’d love to hear what you did.


Lemon Bars:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh lemon zest from 2 large lemons
½ cup unsalted butter
1 15.9oz can pumpkin
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


– Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9” x 13” pan with parchment paper so that the opposite sides have an overhang. Or spray pan lightly with non-stick spray. Set pan aside.

– In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon zest and whisk again to separate and coat all pieces of zest. Set bowl aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, butter lemon juice, and vanilla.

– Add bowl of wet ingredients to bowl of dry ingredients and stir until combined. Slowly add in pumpkin and mix with rubber spatula slowly folding into batter but don’t over mix. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The lemon bars should spring back lightly when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

– Variations to try: add fresh blueberries or dried cranberries, swap lemon juice for 3 tablespoons of honey, add 1 egg and swap ¾ cup of peanut butter for the pumpkin, add 2 eggs and swap 2 tablespoons of cocoa for the pumpkin and add chocolate chips.

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