a cup of coffee and a story

September 17, 2013

coffee cup at PTDo you enjoy a good story? Most of us do. In fact, stories have been the way we have handed down traditions, learned about our families and where we came from which helps us to know who we are, stories communicate values, what is important, stories tell of love, joy, hurt and despair. Stories are one of the richest forms of communication.

We all have a story and we are still writing that story – every day. Most of us want to share our story with people who are really interested, who care, and who will give us their attention and truly listen as we share our story. Most of us want to be known.

Now knowing that we want to be known, it stands to reason that others want to be known. They want to share their stories and if you stop and actually listen, you will be fascinated with the stories of others.

How does that tie in with a cup of coffee? I came across a blog by a young lady called 52 Cups of Coffee. For 52 weeks she took one person a week out for a cup of coffee and heard their story and it was a rich education for her – check out her list here. Sounds like a great idea to me!

So, an idea for you – set aside some money to start taking someone out for a cup of coffee once a week to hear their story. Now this is a time for you to ask a few questions and then to do a lot of listening. Sometimes all you have to ask is “Will you tell me your story?”. Other times, you can use these three simple, but powerful questions developed by Patrick Lencioni:

1. Where did you grow up?

2. How many siblings do you have and where do you fall in that order?

3. Please describe a unique or interesting challenge or experience from your childhood.

Now, if you are a leader of people, this is a great way to accomplish Principle Number 1 of The Way of the Shepherd – “Know the Condition of Your Flock”. Get to know your team – really know them – by spending time with each one of them and listening to their story. Try it for a month and see what you learn – you will be blessed.

A story and a cup of coffee – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Grace and peace to you,
BG