How Starbucks Changed My Life Through The Power of "Pouring Your Heart Into It"
August 8th, 2005-On this day nearly 13 years ago I sat in a store in Milford, Michigan with my new manager Ara, and I had my first coffee tasting. I honestly don’t recall the cup of coffee we enjoyed at our “first impressions” meeting but what I do remember, and have never forgotten is the Starbucks Mission Statement:
“to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
This was not just the Starbucks Mission Statement but My Life’s Mission as well. It took me nearly 13 years to realize this.
Through out my journey with Starbucks, and my life I ventured off to many new places, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and now what I affectionately call home, Las Vegas.
Although my life changed in many ways, along this journey, one thing that always remained the same was, Starbucks. I found myself in new cities, new stores, with new managers, partners, customers, trying to pursue different career paths, moving across the country, marriage, children, deaths, and challenging personal and professional relationships. I even left the company a couple times for less than a year, but my heart led me back home. Why did Starbucks feel like home?
Fast forward 12 years, and this is where it all comes together. Please grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.
June 5th, 2017 my first day at Charleston and Town Center in Las Vegas, NV. I had just transferred to this store to work with Store Manager Nikki. Nikki was gracious enough to accommodate my limited availability and demand for 20 hours a week.
I have a wonderfully talented husband living his dream crafting beautiful custom cabinetry, and two amazing daughters Lyla, 4, and Livi, 18 months, and I was determined to be a full-time mother while providing health care for our family.
Prior to this, I had the privilege of managing Westland Fair for five years. When I started there I was gifted this adorable cafe store with 8 amazing partners that I still call family, a district manager Shelli, that is an incredible mentor and friend, and about 400 daily customers, some I am still in contact with, some I still see in my green apron up the street.
One thing remains the same about all of these incredible people, they all had an impact on my life and my heart.
When I was trying to make the decision to step down from Store Manager to Barista I was fearful for one reason, how will I tell my partners and my customers? How can I disappoint them? We had just opened our dream store. We had taken Westland Fair and created Charleston & Decatur with a drive thru.
I had always reached out to Shelli for guidance, and I wanted her to give me the answers to all my questions. She didn’t operate that way. So when I asked her “should I step down?” She didn’t reply with yes, she helped guide me to make my own decision though the power of discussion. I felt so much better that day, but was still on a mission to find peace within my heart.
I remember telling Tina my assistant store manager and friend like it was yesterday. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I knew this was the right move for me and my family and so did she, but why did it hurt so much? Tina and I were both fearful of the unknown. We had spent the last five years together almost everyday. We hugged each other, and cried and felt blessed to have been able to work together for so long.
"To inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time"
I want to tell you about a friend of mine, Brian. Brian and I met at Starbucks. Brian came through the door one morning and shouted at the top of his lungs “GOOOOOOOD MORNING”. We all looked around at each other and thought "yikes who is this crazy?” Typical reaction right? I mean who yells like that? I said "good morning, how are you? " He replied DAMN GOOD. How the hell are you? Now even though I did initially pass judgment on Brian, like he’s a little odd. I felt an unexplainable connection to him, I loved this Brian and I didn't even know why.
Each day he would come in and say things like I never take a day off, not here for a long time, but a good time, say the words your mean to say, words are powerful, I never worry, BLT. Hmm what does he mean by all of this?
This man was my lesson. What was I to learn from him? I asked him one day Brian what is BLT? Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato? He said no. Believe. Love. Trust. He didn’t elaborate much further. I wondered why. Six months pass and we all keep saying BLT, we even write it on his cup.
This made me feel good. but why? Why did Brian make me feel good? I keep thinking about the words Brian speaks and what they mean.
One day it hits me. YOU are powerful. Believe. Love. Trust. When we open our hearts and our minds to accepting love, and looking at every situation and every person in a different way, we can live the life we ARE born to LIVE.
This very same day I walk into my store on my day off and ordered a latte. As I am waiting for my latte my co-worker Nancy, hands me a poem, a poem Brian had left in the drive thru earlier that morning. The end of the poem is so powerful it moves me to tears. All of the things I was just realizing were the words in this poem I read “search your heart and see the way to do is the way to be.” -Lao Tzu
This was an eye opening moment of change in my heart. I was distracted by life and forgot to live it. What was I learning? What was I being? Who was I to be?
It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine of life and to stop living it.
Through all the amazing people along my journey I learned something, I just didn’t know what at the time. To embrace and love all the people that come my way, to believe they are put in my life for a reason, to love learning from them, and to trust that living life with BLT is the only way to live who we are to be.
The beginning of 2008, Howard Schultz made the decision to close down all US stores for three hours to teach, educate and share our love for coffee and the art of espresso.
The message from Howard was we had lost our way, we had created bad habits and sacrificed the core of who we are, trying to keep up. So, we started to learn how to produce the perfect shot of espresso. He gave us permission to correct these behaviors he said "its not about the company or the brand its about YOU. YOU decide whether or not it's good enough."
I had lost my way and my heart, I needed to shift my perspective. While you may ask yourself why I didn't come to this realization sooner, It's because I wasn't really listening.
We often times lose our way and get caught up in life and self doubt. We forget to B.L.T. but we don't have to. Just like Howard said "YOU decide whether or not it's good enough."
Let's change our perspective on how we think, listen, and feel. Let's pour our hearts into this thing called life.