Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember the feeling of sophistication in Starbucks. I couldn't wait to become an adult, put on a pair of glasses, and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading my book at the iconic establishment. Whenever we would drive by one of the locations, the people inside seemed so happy, so intelligent, so adult. So you can imagine my astonishment when I discovered that I did not care for adult coffee. How would I ever be a sophisticated Starbucks goer if I didn't like it? One answer: speciality drinks. You know the kind: java chip frappuccino, egg nog latte, tuxedo mocha. And so as I became an adult, my love for Starbucks only strengthened. My experience enlightening each time I enter a store. The atmosphere puts my heart at ease. The serenity of the space. The aroma of fresh caffeine. The soft music playing. The cheerful partners (as they're called) remembering not only my drink of choice but my name as well. The European feel of savoring this moment, not rushing through it in true States fashion.
After my umpteenth time entering one of the three stores that bridge a block and half radius into work, I took the plunge and purchased the book I had been eyeing for months. Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul. The power in the tagline was enough to peak my interest, but the passion of CEO Howard Schultz kept me turning the pages.
Many of you know about my made up word, pareer, which is a combo of passion and career. I have longed for that feeling in my career. I have so desperately wanted to find my passion and get paid for it. Because after all, I am most successful when I am able to pour myself into what I am doing. Imagine my envy and disbelief when I began reading Onward and discovered that Schultz had found his pareer. Furthermore, he was watching it be stripped away from him, not in the leadership sense, but in the sense that Starbucks was losing its passion. I equate his feelings and emotions to that of watching a loved one suffer from severe illness. Watching them worsen, helpless in curing them. I am quite certain it is a horrifying experience.
Nearly seven years after stepping down as CEO, Schultz makes the decision to return to his post. To light a fire underneath the company. To restore focus on their mission. To provide people an experience. To believe in making a difference. To give them heart and soul again.
In a world where emotions are frowned upon in business, Schultz speaks, writes, and leads from the heart. He (and his team) transforms a company that was drowning in Wall Street into a thriving, hopeful safe-haven that Americans needed in the worst economical downturn of the 21st century.
Now, more than ever, I am conscious even energetic about my time at Starbucks. I have a better understanding of what they stand for, what they believe in, and how they overcame difficulty. For an inspirational read, one about heart & soul, grab Onward at your local Starbucks or purchase online at Amazon.com.