It is fashionable to talk about ‘emotions’ and ‘purpose’ in a professional set up but most often than not, they end up as elements of nostalgia, only to be rediscovered as old writings on a notepad, faded posters on back walls or underlined magical quotes in our evolving list of favorite books. Human minds, majority of times, are hardwired to fall back on objective, measurable & visible attributes which drives the quickest impact; whereas softer elements like ‘emotions’ and ‘purpose’ keep oscillating & definitely not instantly measurable. They are a distance away from our usual interactions of “How are you”, “I am fine”, which many of us subconsciously indulge into and perceive as “connections”
But if we do decide to unravel the layers of emotions and purpose, we discover the innate desire of ours to create. Creation is at the epicenter of our emotional super wheel. And any creation has to begin by celebrating the voids of our vulnerability. Yes, being honest about them! When we do that, magic happens! Slowly we fill those voids with layers of our own hidden strength. And that’s what I have been seeing since the last 45 days in the eyes of 181 baristas making coffee in 181 Starbucks stores in India. Passionate smiles with sparkling eyes, proudly presenting their own crafted coffee in each of their stores. It was different- a drink specific to that cafe, to that set of customers and to that specific season. Every 181 outlet serving 181 unique creations, with each of the barista’s names etched on the menu board behind.
‘I never thought I could create a drink for Starbucks’, ‘Yes my name is up there, but nothing matches the self-belief which I have discovered’- these were some of the lines the baristas spoke. Again, the power of emotions is all inside and it just needs an environment to catapult it into a realm of discoveries.
“Upside Down Almond Nonfat Double Short Americano for you”, he said to me. There were 2 of them, one for me and the other one for his mother who was there to witness his creation. She smiled as she took the cup from him. “His manager had come to our house to invite me with a personal letter thanking me for enabling the creation. He gave me a personalized card handwritten by the CEO, thanking me. I never expected such a gesture. And I haven’t done anything. It’s all his creation and the place where he works.”, said his mom as her moist eyes proudly seeped in the steam of the coffee. The program called “Barista Pride” provided an opportunity to unleash baristas their own creativity. And enabled them to build numerous drinks before they got it right. His mother glanced at the board mentioning his son’s name and a card gifted to her having his son’s image. She smiled, as she handed over the camera to click her picture with her son’s drink. An emotional flash further moistened her eyes!
It all boils down to the environment one creates at a place. It has magical powers to unleash the hidden strengths. And it takes time to build it. Yes time! It needs honesty- it needs intent, belief, patience to unlock emotions and mold it! It’s easier said than done.
There was absolutely no need for the manager to visit his team member’s family with an invitation letter, there was absolutely no need for the leader to write so many hand written letters and there was absolutely no need for the entire team to be there with the family celebrating her creation. But that’s what makes the difference. Moments when we respect the power of emotions from our heart and mind together. And it can never be faked. It all comes from within, like the espresso shot which cascaded down all along the dash of milk and water, across its layers, as I sipped through witnessing the magic being created, both in the drink and in their eyes.