Because we are all in this together.
Dear Strangers I Sit Next To At Starbucks,
I see you with your head buried in your laptop. Your face is lit up by your bright screen, keeping you focused, but also a little drained. It’s been four hours since we’ve been here, and the coffee is wearing off. We look up every so often, to give our eyes a break. Or to daydream about what we want our lives to look like. To think about the mission we’ve been called to.
Or maybe we somberly look out the window, questioning whether or not we should be here in the first place. Was it right for you to quit your job? Did you really hear from God to start this company? The salary you were making before was nice, it’s a shame you didn’t keep it.
A nudge pulls you back into your hopes. You were destined for this. And even if you aren’t, you’ll die trying.
Friends, I know we are all working on something. Our dreams have captured our hearts since we were born, but we got caught up in other things. Normal jobs that “make it work”, 9-5’s that are good enough, or endeavors that other people planned for us.
It was in these spaces where we felt we could do something more. Something better. You always loved money and stocks, but could never make it on your own. You always felt you could be a writer, but kids got in the way – and that dream quickly faded.
But you’re back.
And by a miracle, you are here now with a big coffee and working at the very thing you dreamed of putting your mind to. You are facing the rejection of others who are questioning why the hell you left your comfortable lifestyle for something that isn’t promised. But you feel called, and you don’t know if you could ever go on without trying.
After days and days of hard work, and seeing no return, it’s normal for you to ask yourself if this was the right choice. But then you look at the same people around you, the people that are working on their dreams, too. That girl who wants to graduate from law school, who’s always buried in a big textbook. Though her eyelids look heavy, she perseveres.
And then there’s that guy over there, who comes in here every day making calls to different people. He is trying to sell something that he’s working very hard on, but you can’t particularly tell what it is. He normally gets a discouraged look on his face after he hangs up the phone, and you assume that it’s because the sale didn’t quite work out as he hoped. But every so often, on a lucky day, he’ll hang up the phone smiling. And that smile is what keeps him dialing.
It’s these people that start to motivate you.
When you want to give up, you see that you are not alone. It’s like when you’re at the gym, and you really hate that you gotta do 20 burpees. But you see the same 5 people every day, and though you don’t know their names, you feel a sense that you are not in this alone. You smile at each other because you both feel encouraged about the same mission.
We are all working toward something.
That big break, that A on your transcript, learning how to speak Spanish, heck, learning how to read. We’re all waiting for that viral pin, that big sale.
But it’s in these spaces where we accomplish what we’ve always dreamed of. It’s in the grinding, it’s in the waking up at 6am when we are freaking exhausted, it’s in staying in one corner all day just to get a paper done. It’s in calling one more person to make that sale, writing one more chapter, buying one more Venti coffee to keep you awake.
This is where we make it.
Success doesn’t come from the game. Success comes from the practice.
If it weren’t for the countless hours, the perseverance, and the waking-up-at-an-unGodly-hour, we wouldn’t probably make it. We don’t just wake up one day and have it all handed to us. No, it’s because of the long hours and the big coffees that get us to the finish line.
If we keep working, if we keep praying, if we keep running with our heads held high, we will see victory. We will make it.
I see you working, and studying, and writing. I see you planning your designs. I see you turning the other cheek when others are telling you to go a different route. And I count it all, because I know that it will be worth it someday.
It takes serious guts to run after something. To be uncomfortable. To do what no one else dares to do.
Hope is right around the corner.
So yes, please, keep coming in and grabbing your coffee. Keep setting up your space, getting all the files, planners, and chargers out. Keep looking out the window, dreaming of what could be.
It’s in this time where I wish we could all sing kumbaya, hugging and encouraging one another to keep on keeping on. That every morning we had a little session where we re-grouped and updated each other on where we were at. And maybe that could happen in the future, who knows.
But for now, we will just sit here and enjoy the company of another. Smile to ourselves when we recognize the fifth regular who comes here and works and doesn’t give up, just like you. And we will secretly, deep down, believe in each other, because we are in this together.
And when that big office replaces that corner with coffee and chargers, we will never forget where we started. Venti coffees and all.