• Raina

B.O.T.W- Book of the week

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

Today is the day to publish a post on the book of the week!

The book of the week is .......(drumroll please).. Sunita Williams a star in space

I read this book a while ago and made notes in my diary. Through this post I want to share with you all what I have learnt from this biography and how I implemented my learning in my everyday life.

Let me first start by sharing more about Sunita Williams. She is an American astronaut and United States Navy officer who formerly held the records for total spacewalks by a woman (seven) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes).

Her story is one of having to settle for second choices. Let me explain what it means. She grew up wishing to be a professional swimmer. Then she wanted to train as a vet. Instead she went on to join the Naval Academy and serve as a pilot. Before long, however, space was calling. A new dream was born in Sunita. She broke records on the ISS.One line from this book really helped me "Life is no cakewalk.

The path to becoming an astronaut(or any success) called for resilience, patience and grit.

And even more than inspiration, she makes life as an astronaut seem thrilling and fun.

I used these learning from this book for many of my baking adventures. One of them I am sharing here. It wasn't as big as being an astronaut but it was a challenge.

Sometime back, I was asked to bake a cake for one of my best friend's birthday. I already knew my friend's liking for vanilla, strawberry and blueberries. After talking to my friend's mom I came to know that there will around 30-40 kids and the location for birthday celebration will be in the Snow City and also there should be no icing/cream in the cake.

I usually make 3-4 birthday cakes(each for 10-15 people servings) in a month. But this will be a big cake. I was very excited for the challenge. I decided to design and make a plan for all elements to be organised. I thought that the flavour combinations for the cake were great but I wondered how I would make a cake without frosting and also make it look amazing.The party was in a Snow city so I thought of the theme of the cake and came up with idea of Aurora Borealis (The beautiful Northern lights).

I applied success principles I learnt through the book and many other books I read earlier to bring this cake from vision into reality.

Success principle 1: Visualization is one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there. Before I started with baking, I sketched out the cake I would be making.

Success principle 2: The most effective way to achieve important goals in your life is to break big goals up into smaller ones.

Breaking down your goals will ensure that you’re consistently taking steps toward achieving your bigger goal. So I made list of all elements needed in this cake.

Success principle 3: Celebrating the milestones achieved will make the journey beautiful!! It will recharge you to work further with more rigor!!

I started measuring the height of the cake, plan a structure and also plan how to store and carry it to the venue. Phew!!

Then I started making white chocolate brush strokes to look like the northern lights and I had some problems in melting the chocolate so I did it again. Then I made the meringue igloo. The meringue batter came out great. It should stay stiff and I tested it by lifting the bowl over my head and that it should not fall over. It looked by the book but after piping an igloo and baking it for 2 hours, it was still sticky and would not dry out. Second time it dried but when I tried to take it out it crumbled. So I started on meringue igloo all over again. After failing 3 times, and adjusting the recipe and piping technique, 4th time was a charm. I even had some extra meringue left and made some colourful domes to go around the cake.

I celebrated with a dance around the meringue igloo!! Yahoooo!!

Success principle 4: Learn from a proven successful system and others mistake. Have patience for you to learn the system and work in the system to get similar results.

I researched on vanilla cakes and made four of them to test it. While the three were yellow and vanillae, one of them was pristine white and tasted equally good and the texture was so soft it melted in the mouth. The proportion of sweetness was just right. So noted the recipe, proportions etc to make a larger batch. Got one system right.

I made jam from fresh strawberries and blueberries and then added gelatin to make it into a jelly so I could layer the cake more evenly and have clean finish on side of the cake section as it will not have icing to hide all the flaws.

Now I had the cake base cooled in the fridge, jellies ready, coloured chocolate decoration housed in compartmentalized boxes for each color of aurora borealis and the igloo, and polar bear from marshmallow(yumm yumm) waiting for assembly. Happy sigh!!

Success principle 5: Focus: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Take up a goal, be a student, learn from the best, practise for next few years without loosing focus and adding new learnings to your practise, you will be master of your craft.

I have been watching Cake Boss series where Carlos bakery bakes some most incredible cakes. This helped me with this cake so much from planning, working on the bits, assembly and most of all keeping my cool in tough times of failure like how Buddy Valastro does in his Carlos Cake Shop. I have been baking 4-5 cakes(3 tier each) per month since a year and half now. So all this focus and hard work helped me now.

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. It takes YOU in driver’s seat and it takes courage, blood, sweat and tear and will leave you happy tired end of the day.

Thanks to the Young Leaders program, we got into habit of reading books everyday and now we get to practice these success principles everyday and be a leader in real world.

Finally after the assembly and trial of light in igloo and photo session, we dismantled the cake igloo, packed in another box, rest of the 6 tier cake in a big box. I needed branding and has already printed out the Rworld logo on sticker and put on a bigger box.

It was time for delivery and sprinkling the magic dust. With help of my parents, we arrived the earliest to the venue. I still had to do some finishing touches and place the igloo on top. A sprinkle of powdered sugar made the cake look like it is in Norway with all the snow. The cake looked amazing with light in igloo and snow! I had goosebumps to see what I have achieved applying the success principles.

The best moment was when my friend arrived and saw her birthday cake. That expression of hers and others was priceless. It made my day!

As you can see in my experience I used resilience, patience and grit to make this cake.

I had to settle for second choices and I had to be an adhoc problem solver.

I am so thankful for this book. It has given me so many learning which after implementing it I will never forget.

I hope this post inspired you to never give up on anything, use the success principles and to always keep reading and learning.



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