I like to move from one thing to another fairly quickly. It’s been a bit of a struggle of mine. It’s easy for me to live in the future. Having a vision, mission and constantly working and reworking the strategy to get there, is always exciting. And because it’s exciting, it’s easy to “live” there. The normal, mundane things of everyday life seem to not be as exciting as the “what could be” dreams and ideas constantly running through my head and on paper.
About two weeks ago, I was with a very good friend of mine. He was more or less my business partner in the city and country we had just moved from. I saw something in him, was drawn to him, believed in him and hired him on to roast coffee with me. I believe, I intuitively knew from day one that Andrei would be the one whom I could hand this business over to, though I didn’t know it at the time. It turns out I was right.
We were hanging out at a cafe he had helped design and was selling our/his coffee at. The thought of this being the last time we would ever meet and hang out was lingering in the back of my mind, but I couldn’t-check that- I wouldn’t engage it. Though in many ways the model and strategy of the business business to train leaders, had accomplished much. But, the fact that financially, it didn’t take off like I had hoped or thought it would left me wondering “what had I done, what kind of lasting impact had I made.” It was hard not to go there and I have found myself going there at times still.
So, because of this, I tend to live in the future. I don’t laugh when I say this-Step One is the step that you start to step out of your denial, and for me in this particular case, it is stepping out of the denial of not engaging when it’s hard. The Steps (12 Steps to be exact) are important to me…but that’s another post.
After the normal chit chat of what coffee he was roasting, the subtle notes in the flavor, catching up on life, etc., Andrei told me to pause. “JB, don’t ever let anyone say that you failed. Don’t ever take to heart and believe that you were a failure and your time in this place, in this city was wasted.” I looked towards the ground, began to tear up (also quite normal for me), and just gave a simple, but polite, “mmmhhmm” of unbelief.
Andrei began to list the people, organizations, relationships, businesses and hearts that I had impacted, that our business had impacted for the good the past five years we’ve known each other. “You gave each of these people and places inspiration to do what they were afraid to do. You showed them what risk was and suddenly they began to believe they could do it to. You have positively impacted a group of people that may have not been otherwise…and you helped bring me out of the pit I was in.”
I would be lying if I didn’t say I was more than welling up at this point (I am as I type this). What he said was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment and exactly what my heart was longing to hear to squelch out all doubt. Don’t get me wrong, this is not about building me up and there are times in our lives where we need to focus on the myriad of details in the future that come with a big move, or job transition, event, etc. But, when we constantly live there…that’s where the danger lies and we begin to lose the beautiful gift that we have…the gift of the present.
Andrei challenged me in that moment to simply pause “(simply”, that’s funny..). He stopped time, helped me to pause and reflect on the legacy I was leaving. It caused me to engage in the present. It caused me to acknowledge not only what I was feeling, but that I had friends, true friends who we were going to miss and who were going to miss us. Pausing and reflecting. We need these moments in our lives to help us remember what we’ve learned, how we’ve learned it and who we learned it from. Just a suggestion, take 30 minutes in the next couple of days to just pause, reflect and engage in what you’ve accomplished, the relationships you’ve impacted and the legacy you’ve left. Take a small step in engaging your past…you’re worth it!