To Lead and Be Led.
For a really long time i searched for a purpose.
I searched for something to make me feel like I mattered. Something. Anything.
I spent many years — my whole life — searching. For something that would bring me to life. Give me worth. Something that would change my mind about life, and push away self limitations.
I felt like I had no idea what I was doing in life, and then I had my first day at Starbucks.
I started reading my introduction to my First Sip, and i read the following; “To Inspire and Nurture the human spirit — One Person, One Cup, One Neighbourhood at a time.”
I felt encouraged, and kept reading—
“Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.”
This is something i thought that i would never find. A “Third” place, that turned into a first for a very long time. Then my love for our values grew as i realized that they were all i ever wanted to be.
“Acting with courage, challenging the status quo. Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.”
I was obsessed. I immediately decided in that moment that i wanted to develop in the company. I asked for lists of things that i needed to work on in order to be a leader. I worked every single day. I cried, i swore, i had melt downs in the process, but eventually, it became time for the count down until my interview. I remember sitting there with my district manager of the time — pouring coffee, hands shaking, words stuttering and sweating — hoping that i would get the job. After what felt like the longest interview of my life, i was being handed napkins and receiving hugs because i was bawling my eyes out with excitement that i got it. I remember yelling “I GOTTA CALL CHRIS” and running outside freaking out. When i walked back into my store with slightly more composure, I immediately turned to my manager at the time, and told her i wanted to start training for assistant store manager. Everyone in the room looked at me like i was insane. I hadn’t even been registered in the system as a supervisor before i decided i was going to go for it. She smiled and was happy to start talking about my next steps. The next couple months were stressful. I doubted myself and my capabilities everyday. And the tears? If i thought i cried a lot before i got the job, I hadn’t seen anything yet. I was screwing up everything. I had no idea what i was doing. I felt hopeless at the time. I was commuting over an hour to a job i thought i sucked at. Then one day I decided to jump on a huge opportunity for me. A chance to open a new store, and train half a brand new team. I started training 9 people in one store, while also working in my home store as a supervisor. It was stressful at first, but then i was extremely grateful. I felt like my cup was full for the first time. It felt like a sudden click one day. I was standing there telling one of my new green beans how proud i was of their accomplishment, when i realized in that moment that this was really my passion. Now i’ve had thousands and thousands of amazing connections with people over my time at Starbucks. Some that i dont think i will ever forget. The human connection i get to make on a daily basis became a love of mine, but the ability to nurture, inspire, and encourage people, and be apart of all their great successes, became the biggest passion of mine. I trained 9 people in a two week period, and started preparing to open this new store with one of the best mentors i’ve ever had in my life.
I felt so many emotions— anxious, excited, — — scared out of my freaking mind— but opening day came, and i walked into this big sparkly store, and put on my apron for the first time, and I immediately felt at home. This was it — my chance to prove myself. I began planning new ways to inspire my team each day. New ways to lead by example. New ways to encourage them to step out of their comfort zones, and be the best they can be. No at first i didn’t have wild success, but it took consistency.
I am so unexplainably, overwhelmingly grateful that I can walk in those doors everyday and make human connection come to life, and create a culture of warmth and belonging. Where our customers are friends, and our partners are family. Everyday i think about how nervous i’m going to be, sitting in my store manager interview— sweating and shaking — and i feel inspired to work harder. I sat in the café watching the flow of my morning team today, and i was overwhelmed with pride, because with kindness, compassion, and excitement, we have achieved results. And that is a feeling of satisfaction that i will never forget.