avatarMika Oka



Don’t Break the Yolk

Life lessons often hide in unexpected places. I learned something more than the recipe for my favorite Japanese delicacy: pickled egg yolk or misozuke.

This seemingly simple dish offered a powerful analogy for my own shortcomings in leadership.

Throughout my working days, I managed several teams. While I have the best intention for all as we were all under the same team, I struggled with both patience and communication.

Unlike the polished approach of my superiors, my communication was often blunt and direct. Communication is still my biggest weakness this day.

While some individuals thrived under my direct approach, others would take it the wrong way, leading to misunderstandings.

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We all have those moments from our youth, those reckless adventures that shaped who we are today. Young and naive, but somehow, we made it in one piece —older and wiser.

As we mature, we reflect on the lessons learned from our younger selves.

Each of us experiencing different things and we each bring different value to the table.

We are the stage where we can both offer and receive guidance. The mentor or the mentee.

Sometimes, the journey is like making the misozuke. Seasoned miso bed as the mentor and the egg yolk as the mentee.

The egg yolk is full of nutrition just like the inherent potential in each person.

The seasoned miso bed is full of flavor, provides a nurturing environment for the mentee to grow.

Through careful guidance and shared experiences, the mentee gradually acquires knowledge and wisdom, enriching their skillset and potential.

This process, like the miso pickling the yolk, takes patience.

Done properly, the yolk matures perfectly, its flavor deepening into an umami-rich delicacy far exceeding its initial state.

However, mishandling due to carelessness or impatience would leave a broken yolk and a ruined miso bed — a mess benefitting no one. Everything has to be discarded.

©Emika Oka

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Previously published on From The Corner of My Mind

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Life Lessons
Self Improvement
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