Each morning we wake up to light streaming through the window as we stretch and shake the sleepy fog from our minds to start yet another day. If you are anything like me, my first thought generally involves a mental review of my to-do list immediately followed by an urgent need for coffee. There is something about the steaming hot liquid that seems to awaken our senses. A life coach in a cup that says, “go get ’em tiger”.
Through good times and bad, this simple beverage has a way of bringing people together. A single cup of coffee provides opportunities for meetings, smooths awkward interactions, and builds connections. One particular coffee company has successfully capitalized on our daily addiction. Building this sense of community is at the center of its mission. This company has weathered controversy. Its logo invokes strong feelings—you either love them or hate them. This company started 2017 with a simple thank you and a message that communicates how being good to each other can have a tremendous impact.
Too often, we forget the impact that our seemingly insignificant actions have on the world around us. By giving in to our daily habit, this company reminded us that we drank 671,396,071 cups of coffee and 347,394,871 cups of tea. Our consumer mentality allowed this coffee company to hire over 8,000 veterans, send 6,535 baristas to college, give 10,000 young people a job, donate 22 million trees, support 301,506 ethically sourced farms, and start a 1,468 pay it forward streak. It is hard for us to think about the effect our actions have on others especially when we do not see the immediate results or consequences. In the middle of our busy schedules, we are focused on our next task not the person next to us. We think about our next hurdle not the person struggling daily to get by. We consider pathways to our next big promotion not the college student juggling work and family responsibilities. As we rush from one errand to the next, we rarely look into the faces of people around us.
There is a reason that an entire coffee company focused a marketing campaign on being good to each other. That same reason is why the President of the United States in his farewell address asked citizens “to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.” Too often, we place our desire for change in the hands of others believing that it is something we have little control over. We convince ourselves that we could never make a difference. We are wrong. America is great. Our mistake is confusing greatness with perceived perfection. America is made up of people who at the core share the same fundamental beliefs. People who have dreams, seek opportunities, and a desire to positively impact the world. Sometimes we get too caught up in the “me” instead of focusing on the “we”.
We are all people. We all deserve respect. We all deserve opportunities. We make America great every day when we stop and offer a hand up to someone in need or when we look beyond what we’ve always done to offer real solutions. America has always been great because of its people. The ones who stand up for what is right. The ones who fight for truth. The ones who come together to protect others from injustice. We are not perfect. We are flawed, but the only way to bring about change is when each of us come together. It’s about the “we” and not the “me”.
“I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed affirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can.” ~ President Barack Obama