Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What's Your Story?

Disclaimer: this is going to be a rambling of my thoughts, but hopefully by the end you leave inspired, encouraged, and motived to share your story. 

This post has been influenced by my opportunity to hear the story behind two successful companies, both of which inspire me on a daily basis, one of which I am blessed to call my employer.

For those of you who know me, you know I am a major Dutch Bros groupie! I hit up MY drive-thru every morning, the baristas know my drink, my name,  and my story {often inquiring about my morning run or whatever non-profit event I am currently working on}, and I have been fortunate enough to work with the local franchisee for several fundraisers.  But often times, I hear a lot of criticism in the community about the "bro-ista, whats' up dude!?" culture of the company.  A couple weeks ago I, along with hundreds of other individuals in the local business community, had the opportunity to hear the owner of Dutch Bros' story.  A story of faith, of compassion, of loss, of doing doing the unthinkable, of risk taking, of family, of paying it forward....and so much more.  As an owner of a company that started in a parking lot and now has over 260 locations in 7 states, Travis' mission it to provide a compelling future & hope for people both within the company and the community...he wants to make a difference, and be a ray of sunshine in the lives of others.  As he said, he's not in the coffee business, rather he's the relationship business...and the product is LOVE! So do me a favor, next time you buy a $3.50 cup of coffee & the barista takes the time to ask you about your day, think of the individuals you are blessing {as Dutch Bros donates millions of dollars each and every year to local communities} & perhaps take a moment to ask the barista about their day...maybe, just maybe, you could return the favor and be a ray of sunshine in their life.  

On a daily basis, I am beyond blessed to go to work for a family and company that embraces integrity, compassion, generosity, community, family and so much more. Stephen, the owner of the company, was recently named The Chamber's First Citizen, and the presenter of the award said it best: "He creates a preferred future and brings it into present reality. He's somebody who puts common welfare in front of self-interest. He's a servant leader who has given endlessly and tirelessly of himself to make our community a better place to live."  That is powerful! That is the kind of company I want to work for and support! In his emotional & moving acceptance speech, Stephen shared that he prides himself in carrying out the legacy of his papa.

So where am I going with all of this...

Whether you're the owner of multi-million dollar company, a stay-at-home mom, single, married, a recovering addict, someone struggling to find their way & purpose in life...EVERYONE HAS A STORY! Yes, YOU, have a story! 

I think often times we underestimate the impact our stories can have on others OR perhaps we don't genuinely take the time to listen and hear the stories of others.  I think so many times we all present the best version of ourselves, avoiding sharing the ugly, the struggles, the pain.  But its through those that we can provide hope, courage, inspiration to others. Those who have been blessed abundantly I think feel the need keep quiet, out of a humble heart, for fear of bragging, making others feel inferior...but there is so much we can learn from others' success.  And let's be honest, how quick are we to judge others before we truly know their story! And I am here to tell you that EVERYONE has a story.

So now what!?  I have a have challenge for you...

Share your story with others and take the time to learn the story of others.  Why do you do what you do? How have you overcome failure & obstacles in your life? What are you passionate about and what drives that passion? How did you get where you are today? How have you been the recipient of and/or extended grace & mercy to others?

I know what several of you are thinking right now..."but I don't have a story!"  I challenge you to dig deep and discover your story, because I guarantee you that your beautiful story has the power to inspire, encourage, and provide HOPE for someone.  Perhaps the story you are currently living is one of pain, discomfort, loss and you are searching for that hope...I beg you to embrace vulnerability and share with someone, allowing them to pour into you, and walk along side you during these difficult times.  If your story is one of abundant blessings, pay it forward and share with others, as your story might have the power to greatly influence the life of another.  

In a world of go-go-go, where we are consumed with to-do lists, deadlines, goals to meet, standards to live up to etc., I encourage you to take the time to meet with someone over coffee, lunch, a drink...and have no agenda or purpose, other than to just be present and get to know the other person. It is amazing what can happen when we take the time to truly invest in the lives of others.  

Are you ready!? Let's go share, giving and receiving hope & love!