Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tzedakah, a Helicopter, and Coffee

Tzedakah, a Helicopter Ride & Coffee
(or, "Blogging about Why I Haven't Been Blogging")

I've had blog-writer's block.  I sat down to write a couple of times in the last week, then ended up just surfing facebook while I sipped my grande decaf half skim, half soy extra hot latte.  I wonder why the lack of motivation to release my inhibitions on blogger?

Maybe I've been too busy attending fundraising events for the Jewish community to have time to think about what to write.  Larry and I have been to four in the last week.  Four.  In one week.  Two for the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado.  They split the men & women up for this one - "Choices" and "The Men's Event" - I suppose we raise more money that way, and well, its always nice to have an official evening to bond with your fellow Jews & Jewesses.  Then, last Saturday night we went to "Dancing through the Decades" at our synagogue.  Right.  We moved to a bigger, more urban city and we spent our Saturday night on a make-shift wooden dance floor in the middle of the Hebrew Educational Alliance social hall, jumping up & down to 80s music, with a bunch of other 40-somethings dressed in costumes from their favorite period in time.  And loving it.  Congratulating ourselves on having found our people; the friends we hope will be dancing on that exact same floor in five years at Caleb's bar mitzvah.  Hello, my name is Evelyn, and I might not be cool.

Tuesday night also called for dressing up.  In western wear.  You heard me.  It was the "Wild West Auction Kick-Off" at Denver Jewish Day School.  And I wore cowboy boots and a denim jacket over a little blue dress with ruffles.  Larry laughed out loud when he saw me.  No, I do not have a picture.  Alas, it was a super fun evening with delicious margaritas and s'mores, just like the cowboys used to eat.  And someone donated a helicopter ride to school the next day!

I suppose I could take the opportunity here to write about the challenge of keeping it real for your kids when their normal includes a friend or two whose parents can buy them a helicopter ride to school (money to benefit the school!) and many whose family's own more than one home.  Good topic for another day...

Ok, thats a step.  I've got down what I will not be writing about.  Hmmm...

Yesterday morning was going to be it.  I sat down at the Starbucks at Monaco & Evans, with the intention to write for a solid hour before heading to a networking lunch.  So while I was playing on facebook, I saw that a friend got a big response when she posted about the complicated coffee orders she overhears at her local Starbucks (hi Main Street in Bexley; I miss you!).  About 20 of her friends & family took the opportunity to share their favorite high-maintenance orders.  And that got me thinking about a book I read a few years ago called "Its Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks" ....   

According to author Howard Behar, what Starbucks is about is the people, “At Starbucks, the coffee has to be excellent, from the sourcing and growing to the roasting and brewing. The vision has to be inspiring and meaningful. Our finances have to be in order. But without people, we have nothing. With people, we have something even bigger than coffee.” 

During his many years as a senior exec at Starbucks, Behar emphasized that if you 
regard employees and customers as human beings, everything else will take care of itself. If you think of your staff as people (not labor costs) they will achieve results beyond what is thought possible. And if you think of your customers as people you serve (not sources of revenue) you’ll make a deep connection with them, and they’ll come back over and over. 

OK, now we're making progress.  Because I was thinking - and now the next morning I am writing - about that which I should be thinking and writing.  Business.  How to run one.  What my own business will be about.  And whether it will succeed.  

Aha.  There you have it.  Not blog-blocked by a lack of desire to share (puleeease), but because I should be writing something else.  A business plan.   

You see, I think at least one of the reasons I agree to hand over upwards of $4/day for a cup of coffee with steamed milk (and DECAF for god's sake) is that it gives me a sense of control over my universe.  I get exactly what I want, how I want it, because I want it.  

And how many things other than my Starbucks order go like that in a day?

So, here I go to push through fear of the unknown - and to write.  

Thanks for listening.   
Please enjoy your coffee!


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