A cup of coffee is a small cost to invest BIG in our leadership journeys. Coffee is a starter of the day and a starter of conversation. It can be the great connector of people.
First Cup of Coffee
I did not start drinking coffee until I was twenty-seven years old. Loved the smell of it, didn’t care much for the taste of it. On Saturday, August 8, 2009 that all changed.
See…two days prior to that…our son Grant was born. He didn’t sleep worth a flip! We were sent home from the hospital late Friday afternoon. I had a game to coach early that Saturday. With minimal sleep, and out of pure necessity and survival, I decided to stop by the local McDonald’s. Igot a cup of coffee, the rest is history.
At the time, I probably didn’t fully realize the impact coffee would end up having on my life and leadership journey. From that point forward, it was not only a way to start my day, but a way to start conversations that would change my world.
Here are four random thoughts on a what a cup of coffee can do for us:
Builds Relational Margins
I am a firm believer that relationships are like a bank account. We must make regular, small deposits before we make a withdrawal.
Poor leaders are transactional leaders. They regularly try to withdraw from a relational account that has a zero balance. The result…insufficient funds.
A solid relational bank account is one that is deposited in regularly. The small deposits create a margin for a withdrawal, if needed. In any relationship, things can get out of balance. When there are sufficient funds in the account, we can dig into our savings to preserve the relationship and right the imbalance.
How many times have you left an introductory conversation and ended it with, “Let’s grab coffee sometime!” Coffee is a conversation starter. It is a great way to break the ice and establish a new relationship.
As an introverted person. Coffee has been the excuse to step out of my comfort zone and stretch myself. It has presented opportunities to get to know people outside of my typical world.
It also creates an opportunity to catch up on conversation. Maybe someone has drifted out of your world, busyness has created distance, or life has just happened. A cup of coffee can serve as the great reconnector of people. It brings us back together when we are far apart.
Coffee is an opportunity to share stories. It is casual, comforting, and opens up opportunities for storytelling. Stories are the great connector of people.
I once heard a friend tell me that, “You can’t hate someone if you know their story.” Stories create understanding, they bridge divides, and connect people on a deeper level.
Coffee has always given me the opportunity to meet with those further ahead in life and leadership than me. I am a firm believer that wisdom is experience. We gain experience one of two ways, through our own experiences or someone else’s. Lessons learned from our own experiences can tend to hurt a little more!
I have been blessed to sit across a cup of coffee with some of the most wise, brilliant, dynamic, innovative, and selfless people I have ever met. With every cup, they poured themselves into my world. Simply being in their presence made me forever better.
Now, to my other child, Ashtyn. The one that did not provoke a parental lifestyle change through lack of sleep! She is sixteen years old and has taken to coffee-based drinks way sooner than I did.
The other day I decided to give her a lesson in the cost of coffee. We were at the gas station getting fuel. After starting the pump, I opened the door and told her to “Get out, come with me.” In typical teenage fashion, she resisted and questioned the why. I just started walking and said, “Come on.”
We walked back to the coffee section of this large gas station with a wide variety of offerings. I told her to “Pick one, I’m paying.” So, she selected a Caramel Macchiato. We proceeded to the register where it rang up $1.70.
Then, on the way back to the car, I had her pull out her preferred, pricey coffee company’s app to compare the price of the same drink. At first, she resisted and had to stand out in the cold before she eventually complied, and I unlocked the doors. It was $3.30 more expensive!
It was a solid financial lesson for her (hopefully) and an even better life and leadership lesson for me. We created a memorable moment that hopefully neither one of us will forget. All over a $1.70 cup of coffee.
Coffee connects us in life and leadership. Give it a try.