Like all days, yesterday had some major moments of struggle. Part of my life involves managing a hustling cafe which many of you readers know and frequent (Water Shed Arts Cafe). I love the role that I get to play in this business however yesterday held a fair amount of frustration. Over the last month or so I’ve been spending more time working ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ the business. It’s been a humbling process as I’ve been making new neurological pathways and learning, learning how to fail well.
The icing on the cake yesterday was when things decided to get busy whilst it was only two of us on shift. This busyness has no regular, consistent and predictable pattern to it (I’ll write about this flummoxing reality again sometime!). A number of people just decided to all come in at the same time to order food and blended mochas.
Jenn was flying with making lunches and I was attempting to manage till and make drinks. Now drinks are a growing edge for me especially making blended mochas (don’t understand why people want coffee blended especially when it tastes WAY better over ice! Try it sometime. Honestly.) There’s an art to getting the shot, chocolate, milk, and ice ratio just right (we make our mochas with real chocolate – absolutely delicious).
So, in the flurry of busyness I had four mochas, all different chocolates, milks and coffee blends that needed to get made.
My internal dialogue went something like this:
“Nae, you’ve got this. Just think. Pull the shots. Okay, dark chocolate. Breathe. Oh shit! Another customer. Better take that order.”
Take the order. Back at the bar.
“Okay. Shots pulled. Okay, pour over dark chocolate. Let it melt. Okay, put that one aside and pull another shot Nae. Crap. What am I gonna melt this one in? Cup. Use another cup. Right. Pour shot over the milk chocolate. Melting. Right. Done. Oh boy . . . here comes another person.”
Take the order. Another drink added to the list.
“All right. This is crazy. How the heck am I going to make all these drinks in time for people? Focus. Okay dark chocolate mocha. Right, need ice. Got my two blenders. Put the ice in. What would Ivan do? (Ivan is my barista idol!). Okay, pour dark chocolate in this one. Milk chocolate in this one. Remember they’re two different sizes Nae! Oh crap. I’m so behind on this. Can Jenn help on this one? Nope. She’s running around. Okay breathe. You can do this! Alright pour some milk in them. Wait. How much? This much I’m thinking. Crap. Crap. Crap. This isn’t looking right. Just keep blending Nae. Okay here we go. Nope. . . . it’s not looking good. Yup that looks like a runny brown pee not a blended mocha.
What the heck! I can’t do this.
And there’s 3 more to make plus another drink. . . . Jenn! Can you help? . . . Nope. Arghhhhhh. I can’t do this. Why?! This is stupid. I’m meant to be the manager and I can’t even make a freaking mocha properly. I’m no good at this job. I can’t do it. I’m not cut out to be a barista. Oh shit. People are waiting. What do I do . . ? What do I do?”
“Nae do you need some help?!” Up pops Ivan’s head on the other side of the bar!
“Oh my gosh. Thank God for Ivan.”
This final frustration pushed me to my universal challenge line and when I’m at that line my thoughts are often about flight. I wanted out. I wanted to crawl into a corner and cry because in that moment I believed I couldn’t do the job.
I seem to be visiting this line a lot these days. Not a bad thing. What I’m learning though as I experience the line’s terrain is that the thoughts I have when I’m in this space can make or break me. These thoughts can change everything about how I view myself and how I am engaging with the present moment. One thought like “I’m no good at this job” or “I’m not cut out to be a barista,” can lead me to a place of absolute self-annihilation. One thought can change everything.
After Ivan stepped in to help, I thankfully managed to catch my self talking thoughts and change the dialogue. I experienced frustration, however I was able to stand back somewhat, chalk it up to the learning process, and reflect on how I might navigate that situation better in the future. That universal challenge line always extends an invitation to us. What we need to remember is that one thought, in response to that invitation, can change everything. So, maybe my mindfulness practices are working, helping me detach from my thoughts, seeing them as events that will pass, not getting sucked into the vortex of self-deprication.
Out of the frustration I’ve learnt that I need to practice my mocha drinks. I need to think through scenarios of how I might juggle till and barista-ing when there’s a flurry of customers. If you live in the area and have read this entry, why not stop in and ask me to make you a blended mocha!
Happy Thursday everyone!