I own a coffee shop in downtown Defiance Ohio. It’s called Cabin Fever Coffee. It’s a place that, like the old sitcom “Cheers”, everybody knows your name. The atmosphere there is pretty amazing. The lighting is soft and noninvasive. You can meet a group there and do a business meeting or you can bring a book with you and spend several hours reading. It is one of those special places that settles deep down in your heart and brings you peace.
Whenever I travel anywhere, the first thing I look for is a coffee shop where I can spend the first few hours of my day. I have been sitting outside of many coffee shops waiting for them to unlock the door and open up for business for the day. I’m a light sleeper and am up early every day. I usually look for a place inside the shop that I can get alone but not feel alone. I want to see what’s going on and the people coming in but I don’t want to be interrupted. I want to hear background music but I don’t want it so loud that it invades my focus. I want to connect with the barista’s but I don’t want them to invade my space.
I usually look for a “Mom and Pop” coffee shop and not a coffee shop chain. I will settle for a chain but my objective is to settle down and be at peace. Coffee shop chains don’t afford me anything. They are usually sterile feeling and designed to allow you to sit down for a short time and then casually invite you to leave. The environment is ok comfortable, but not living room comfortable. It’s like meeting your girlfriend’s mother for the first time. They are usually welcoming but the time you spend with them is awkward.
We take the attitude at Cabin Fever that we don’t sell coffee, we create connection. Connection is the why of what we do. I just watched a Ted Talk by a guy named Simon Sinek. He is the author of a classic business book called “Start With Why”. It is worth watching. The book is worth reading as well.
He advocate’s backward thinking. The great companies start with the why of their existence. Why are we here? Great leaders do that as well along with great churches, great fathers and mothers. Awesome grandparents and aunts and uncles get the why right first.
I believe you can reduce this kind of thinking to one word and that word is connection. The why always leads to connection. Connection is the key to anything you do. Connecting to people.
Connection is the key raising good kids, it is the key to have a successful sports team or a strong school system. The power of connection propels everything.
Money is emphasized in our culture and many people try to connect around it. The guy with the money draws a crowd until it runs out. It reminds me of my druggy days. The guy who had the marijuana or the cocaine drew the crowd until the drugs were gone…I was often that guy.
The key to your life is connection. Connecting with people and not things. Things are ok to have but they will pass. People are eternal. They are the valuable part of your life.
Do things that connect you to people. Think about the connectors and the disconnectors. There are actions that cause connection and those that cause disconnection. I will be writing about those actions in my next blog. Remember this one thing until then. People are the most valuable things in your life. Not your car or your house. It’s not your career or your hobby, it’s people.