Buttercream Roses and ChatGPT

May 13, 2024 | Administrative Professionals, Innovation, Technology

I have been decorating cakes for several years. I grew up around it. My grandmother and her sister used to make wedding cakes, and she made us the most fantastic birthday cakes as kids. So, it’s always been something I aspired to. I’m good at it. I enjoy it. And I’ve made a lot of cakes for various family and work events over the years. But the one thing I have never been taught or able to figure out has been how to make frosting roses.

I can still see the most beautiful and perfect red roses my grandma used to put on our cakes, and I’ve wanted to recreate them for years!

Last summer, my nieces (ages nine and six) wanted to make their mom a cake. Not just any cake, however. A fancy decorated cake. They love the Georgia’s Cakes channel on YouTube, so we began watching some videos to learn some piping techniques for beginners.

One of the videos also explained how to make various buttercream flowers. Of course, both girls were convinced they could do it. I’m very careful not to squash their interests and enthusiasm (no matter how complicated or messy the task may be), so I helped them give it a test run.

I was stunned at how well my nine-year-old niece did on creating buttercream flowers with zero prior experience! The difference? Determination, education, and support. Even the six year old was able to successfully learn how to pipe and create some basic flowers.

We were all delighted with our progress. But I was still not happy with the final product when it came to my buttercream roses. I had created a flower, but it didn’t look like my grandma’s.

Fast forward a few months, and we begin planning for my older niece’s college graduation in early May. I know my husband’s family loves a nicely decorated cake, so I asked if I could make her graduation cake instead of buying one at the local store. They happily agreed.

I began diagramming out what I envisioned for my niece’s cake, and I definitely wanted buttercream roses. Knowing that I didn’t have the skills to create them the way I wanted, I asked my baker friends if they would make them for me so I could just place them on the cake myself. No luck. But one of my friends sent me a YouTube video on how to do it, so I decided to try again. I was determined to figure it out.

I committed to practicing daily for a week to see if I could make some progress. I mixed some frosting, colored it, filled my frosting bags, and watched the first YouTube video. It helped me get started. But I wasn’t thrilled with the final product. I saved every single one of the roses I made, though, just in case they were the best I could do.

Then I did a different search a couple days later and began watching several other bakers show and explain their technique. In a single moment on one of those videos, I figured out exactly what I was doing wrong. I needed to start with a taller, wider cone base of frosting.

It made all the difference. This one person’s extra details and explanation were the missing links. The next plate of roses that I created were my best yet. And many of them were certainly cake worthy. I was delighted! Just like my nine-year-old niece, the difference in learning how to finally master the skill myself was determination, education, and support.

No matter what skill you need to learn – whether it’s one you want to learn or one you feel like you have to learn in order to stay relevant in the workplace – these three elements make the biggest difference.

Determination: Set your mind to figuring out how to do it and your mind will help you find the path to accomplish it. When you make time to figure it out, you can and will figure it out.

Education: Be open to learning from others. The Internet is packed full of training and resources (some of it’s even free) to help you learn just about anything you have an interest in. Ask those in your network to recommend or refer you to the best resources they’ve discovered in their pursuits.

Support: Whether it’s finding an accountability partner, sharing it with a friend or family member, or finding a teacher to work with directly, support matters. My nieces have been some of my biggest motivators in learning this new skill. I want to be able to teach them how to do it too. I want them to add this skillset now at ages 10 and 7 instead of after 50 like I did. My husband has also been a huge encourager. He’s seen the evolution of my buttercream roses over the past week. I can tell I’ve made progress by the excitement in his voice when he comments on the next plate on display. Having someone supporting and cheering you on makes a positive difference!

As I write this, I’m preparing to host a live webinar on May 21 with my friend and colleague, Donna Gilliland. The webinar focuses on how AI tools, like ChatGPT, are transforming the way we work and how essential it is to understand and utilize these technologies.

It got me thinking about how learning advanced AI skills and learning how to make frosting roses aren’t really all that different. The principles are the same.

If you spend one week of dedicated focus on figuring out how to use ChatGPT for your work, you would be off and running in ways you never imagined.

If you’re determined to figure it out before you need it or can even access it at the office, that determination will pay off down the road. Choosing to spend 15-30 minutes per day for one week will help you figure it out.

If you educate yourself on all the applications it can play in helping you do your work more effectively or efficiently, then you’ll know when and how to use it (and when not to use it) when it becomes available in the workplace.

If you get support in the form of formal training or brainstorming with a fellow admin or colleague, you can expedite the learning curve even more.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re learning how to future-proof your career or learning how to make grandma’s frosting roses. With determination, education, and support, the results are always sweet.

Would you like to join me May 21 and learn how to unlock the power of advanced ChatGPT? Click here to register!

And in case you’re wondering how that graduation cake turned out, here’s the final result – complete with frosting roses I made myself.

© 2024 Julie Perrine International, LLC

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Julie Perrine is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures, and Prove Your Skills! With a Powerful Professional Portfolio.

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Enlighten: June 12-13, 2024