I believe in drinking the good coffee.
In 2015 I spent a month travelling through Vietnam, I was amazed by the country’s beauty and rich heritage. I particularly loved Hoi An, a town that is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At sunset paper lamps light up the cobblestone streets, illuminating the bright coloured buildings. The atmosphere of the town made it one my favourite places that I traveled in Asia. I always smile when I reminisce about the bike rides I would take to the outskirts of the town where the coast met the ocean.
In Vietnam the coffee is incredible. Typically it is served as a small concentrated shot either black or with a spoonful of condensed milk. At a local market I bought two pounds of fresh local coffee beans. I had been backpacking for three months and decided to send a package home with souvenirs and gifts from my travels.
When I got home, instead of making my friends and family a cup of Vietnamese coffee, I tucked it away to save for a special time. When I moved to University, I decided to bring it with me and open it once I had “earned” a celebratory coffee. That year I didn’t drink the coffee, even though many occasions were cause for celebration.
I moved that coffee into another house the next year. Again, I waited for a special time in my life to arise so that I could justify drinking the coffee that I shipped from across the sea. I remember running out of coffee one morning and refusing to open the bag, because it was “just a regular Tuesday morning.”
The following year I moved the bag of Vietnamese coffee into its 5th home. All year it sat tucked away in a closet until it dawned on me that by the time I was ready to celebrate it could be expired. Finally, on a regular Tuesday morning I opened the bag. While I made the first cup I reflected on all of the things I was grateful for that were cause for celebration at that time.
Drinking that coffee reminded me of the colourful streets of Hoi An and brought me a simple joy. The small action of drinking the good coffee changed my perspective, I realized that in my life I was holding back celebrating my accomplishments because I didn’t think I was good enough. It made me reflect on all of the moments I could have and should have celebrated.
I had to ask myself, if I don’t believe in myself, why should anyone else?
I believe in drinking the good coffee because I believe in making the most of whatever circumstances I am in. I believe in finding moments in my everyday routine that are celebration worthy and I believe in doing the same for the people around me.
Living and working from home has caused me to search for more joy in the little things that I have around me, and I challenge you to do the same. Light the “good” candle during your family zoom call on a Sunday night, open the bottle of whiskey that is collecting dust on the top shelf, wear your nicest clothes on a trip to the grocery store.
Life is not guaranteed and circumstances can change in an instant. Recognizing the importance of the little things in life is an everyday practice that will make you a better partner, friend, parent, and person — because it makes you more grateful for what you have.
My mentor once told me about a CEO who hand wrote thank you cards to the people who worked for him, even ones he didn’t work with directly. At the C-suite level your time is expensive but this leader knew the value of gratitude. Imagine the impact that a personal note would have on an employer’s otherwise regular Tuesday morning.
In 2019 I travelled to Ethiopia to teach business at the University of Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and I brought home beans from the oldest coffee shop in the city. This time I did not wait to enjoy them, I had changed my mindset to believe that I was worthy of drinking the good coffee. I recognized that the time I was in was special in its own way. I made a point of being grateful for the moments I could spend with my loved ones over a cup of Ethiopian coffee.
Maybe you have a dress that you are saving to wear for a special occasion or silverware that you only use on holidays. I challenge you to think about why today is not worth celebrating. When you recognize your worth and celebrate the little things you actively practice gratitude. When you only save things for big occasion you risk letting the those things go to waste while subconsciously telling yourself that the life you are living is not good enough.
So drink the good coffee and see how it changes the way you see the world.
Written by Jessica Orchin
Gasparotto Group helps organizations create cultures that develop highly effective leaders and build strong, resilient teams.