Baking cakes and tapping into the Power of Yet

15 October 2015

Gemma Bullivant

Gemma Bullivant

Former HR Director

As a newcomer to the Great British Bake Off this year (yes, I must have been living in a cave), I would never have predicted I’d be drawing deep meaning from baking cakes. But I couldn’t help share the mood of the nation of GBBO fans in ‘having something in my eye’ when Nadiya made a winner’s acceptance speech that would put Oscar winners to shame.

“I'm never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never going to say 'I can't do it'. I'm never going to say 'maybe'. I'm never going to say 'I don't think I can'. I can and I will.”

So what is it about this declaration that hit home with some many of us?

While a good deal has been said of Nadiya’s elaborate bakes, her facial expressions and perfect eyebrows, for me it was the fact that she clearly dug deep when it counted. Every week she appeared unequivocal that she would lose, and yet every week she produced sheer baking genius. Not to mention a good sprinkling of witty quotes to keep us all entertained.

Mel: “Why have they given you paperclips? To file your soufflé?”

Nadiya: “Yeah for filing away in the folder marked NEVER BAKE AGAIN”

Frankly, Nadiya is a classic example of the Power of Yet. 

The Power of Yet is a philosophy proposed by Dr Carol Dweck, an academic expert in human motivation, and in particular the topic of why people succeed (or don't).  Dweck suggests that people approach a challenging problem in one of two ways – either:

  1. Are you not smart enough to solve it?
  2. Have you just not solved it yet? 

She challenges the way we are so focused on results NOW. By doing so, we lose sight of the fact that improvement and potential in the future is accessible to everyone, if we approach it in the right way, and with the right mindset. If you haven’t seen her TED talk on this topic, it is a valuable way to spend 10 minutes.

Then ask yourself the question Dweck poses:

Are you luxuriating in the Power of Yet, or gripped by the Tyranny of Now?

Or to put it another way,

  • Are you so focused on results now, at the expense of noticing the potential for better results in the future?
  • How often do you readily accept that this is best you can do?
  • When did you last say no to a challenge through fear of failing?

I’ll end with the words Nadiya’s husband used, which ultimately convinced her to take the leap of faith onto the Bake Off…"What’s the worst that can happen?"

About the author

Gemma Bullivant

Former HR Director

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race