At long last, The Honeycomb has opened for business. It is the manifestation of a vision 10 years in the making. The Honeycomb is a coffee stand owned and operated by my church and I am the first official barista. There are days when I feel like a lowly barista. I ask myself, “What am I really doing with my life? I have an engineering degree!” Then I have to remind myself that I’m not just a barista, I’m an integral part of making the vision that God gave my pastor come to pass. God has been orchestrating my Whole Life for me to be a barista at The Honeycomb for such a time as this. It could have been anyone, but it’s not. It’s me. And it’s an honor and a privilege to be chosen.
Being a barista was never something I ever imagined. I’m a simple coffee drinker. I don’t have a custom order at Starbucks or any other coffee shop. I drink Kroger brand coffee with Kroger brand creamer that I brew at home in my $11 coffee maker and I like it. So needles to say, there was quite a learning curve but I handled it quite well if I do say so myself. These past few weeks haven’t been easy. I’ve spent long hours learning, creating, and tweeking recipes. I’ve learned about lattes, cappuccinos, and all that fancy stuff.
Hours after we opened on the first day I was given an apprentice. I’m ashamed to admit that initially I was a little annoyed by this. I didn’t like the thought of someone else doing my job, taking my place, and infringing on my territory. She picked up on the recipes and how to work the machines rather quickly. What had taken me weeks to get right, she was doing in minutes. Of course it was easy for her because I had already worked out the kinks. I had already made the mistakes and could steer her clear of them. I was the one that programmed the machine to do exactly what we wanted at the push of a button. I had done all the hard work for her. She had it easy. I had earned my stripes and she was just riding my coat tails. It wasn’t fair.
I, I, I…me, me, me…my,my, my. Pride had reared its ugly head once again. I thought I was done with that familiar foe but he slipped in under the radar. Once I recognized him I was able put him in his proper place; out of my life. No room in the inn.
In order to vanquish the pride monster I took the exact opposite approach. I embraced the idea of another barista. Not only that, I did what I could to make it easier for someone else to do my job. I typed up everything I knew and created the first draft of The Honeycomb Handbook. Procedures, recipes, general instructions, machine settings, it’s all there.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s ever felt this way. No one likes the thought of being replaced. At my previous job there were several engineers that had worked there for longer than I’ve been alive. Often times they were the only people that did a particular job. They were the only ones that had the knowledge. That may seem like job security, but it’s really bondage. If something ever went wrong, they were the only people that could handle it. Being the only person that can handle a particular issue means you would be the person to get called into work when something went wrong. It could be day, night, rain, shine, weekend, holiday, anniversary, kid’s birthday, super bowl, NBA playoffs…whenever. You could never catch a break.
When that pride crept up in me again I remembered that I like to take vacation every now and then and know that things can run smoothly without me. If I can duplicate myself that means I can move on to other things. I don’t have to be stuck at level one. When you teach someone else to do step one that frees you up to tackle step two. And so on an so forth.
I used to take Tang Soo Do and one of the requirements to earn a black belt was to be able to teach the lower belt classes. When you earn your black belt at this particular school you were also equipped to be an instructor. Martial arts is meant to be passed along. It’s selfish to keep that skill set to yourself. That should be the belief for every other skill or piece of knowledge we acquire in life. But often times we want to hold onto it for ourselves. We want to be special. We want to stand out. We want to feel important. We want to feel needed. This selfish mindset is how generations fall into the same traps and people get stuck in ruts. History repeats itself because someone didn’t pass along their knowledge and it died with them. This hoarding is what causes dreams, skills, and progress to die. They die from being choked in our prideful grip. Growth requires letting go. Even a seed has to “let go” in order for the plant to grow. Don’t wait until you die to leave a legacy. As long as you still have breath that means there is more out there for you to accomplish. Pass on what you know. Let go and grow.