The Positivity Project

Posted: March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

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I’ve been struggling, friends.

I’ve been struggling with a lot of things. Life things, love things, friend things, kid things, business things, house things, money things, healthcare things, political things…. A lot of things. Things were getting me down. I was finding myself scrolling though Facebook like a zombie, unconsciously (and consciously) comparing myself to other women, other moms, other business owners, other wives. I became increasingly disappointed in my own degrees of success and social acceptance, financial stability, fitness, and mothering. I felt helpless and angry whenever I read news reports and social disgust when I read ‘fake’ news reports. I noticed who “liked” my social media posts and who didn’t. Even worse, I was shocked to find myself really caring about who liked my posts and who didn’t. I would read inspirational quotes and passive aggressive quotes and sarcastic quotes and silently jump to conclusions about the people who posted them. In a disappointing display of self doubt, I actually began to question whether my EYEBROWS were good enough, for heaven’s sake! I, a woman who has given birth to and raised 3 kids, survived a divorce, and built a business was wondering if the shape of my facial hair made me feel like I was good enough or not. Things were getting out of hand. I was becoming the cliché social media-addicted adult, tagging people in memes in an attempt to connect with an inside joke. I was wasting evenings on the couch mindlessly refreshing my feed in hopes that something new might have magically arrived in the last 2 minutes to keep me distracted and doing that while sitting beside my husband who was often doing the same thing. I began zoning out my kids’ noise by getting lost in my phone and found myself taking dumb quizzes to find out what kind of sandwich I would be! Super important stuff. Meanwhile I was letting friendships and relationships and personally fulfilling things like reading and writing and artwork fall by the wayside. I was sad and emotionally depleted and didn’t understand why.

I’ve known for awhile that I SHOULD unplug from social media but I was always also aware that as a business, I depend on it for at least 80% of my marketing. But it was starting to feel like a ball and chain. I’ve devoted tons of time and iPhone storage space to pictures of cupcakes and lunch specials and fancy meals. I was frequently getting sucked into a swiping wormhole when I was supposed to be finishing my bank reconciliations. After reading endless #bossbabe and #riseandgrind and #getitgirl posts I realized that feeling pressure to maintain perpetual career success was actually causing me to lose passion for my career. I felt as though I was constantly just treading water, barely keeping my head from going under and never gaining any ground. In a moment of clarity I recognized that I had replaced creativity and inspiration with fixation on sales and financial profit, or lack thereof. My creative outlet had been compromised. I was no longer blogging, something that gave me great joy, because I was afraid to offend any current, future, or former customers. Not to mention, I felt that to be a good business owner, I needed to be connected to my phone and digitally available to my customers at all times. Answering inbox messages at 11pm or cake questions on my Sunday afternoon with my kids became routine. My feathers became easily ruffled at anyone in the business who was doing things that I was doing, because I felt it as a threat to my livelihood. I was becoming jaded to the service industry and more and more often, I found myself avoiding customer interaction. Eventually, although I desperately wanted and needed higher sales, I began to dread the sound of the front door opening. The irony was not lost on me. I began feeling bitter and resentful about a life and a job I once loved, and I was looking for a place to lay blame. I was feeling exhausted by the seemingly endless effort it was taking just to keep my head above water, in every area of my life. I felt no more joy in the pursuit of business success. I felt angry that I had given so much to my business and worked so hard to find ways to be marketable but I was still sinking in quicksand, each bank statement the same as the next. I felt depressed, deflated, and defeated because after all that struggle and stress and emotional turmoil, my bottom line still struggled.

And that may not change….

However…

I’ve made a conscious shift in my vision for The Sweet Cup. The idea is both exciting for me and terrifying, but not equally. I am more excited than scared. I feel hopeful, refreshed, maybe a bit apprehensive, but I am relieved to have made a conscious choice to prioritize social connection and community over profits, and personal fulfillment above status of success. We still need to make money and provide a service, but in this moment in our journey as an evolving business we are making a social commitment to our customers, our community and our families and friends that Sweet Cup is stepping up to start a ripple of social change for the better. We want to be a hub of human connection. We want to do our part for the community and for each other. We want to encourage kindness and fun. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as the owner of a coffee shop, it’s that people crave human connection. I’ve seen so many customers come in day after day hoping for someone to talk to. I’ve also enjoyed the regular groups who come in together or meet, and I smile a little every time I hear their laughter and conversation from my perch in the kitchen. We need to connect with each other. We need to foster empathy, kindness, friendship, creativity, and acceptance. We all need to be surrounded by examples that we are all imperfect, we all have struggles, we all need to feel accepted, appreciated, and heard. We are all just trying to find joy. We are all the same in that way.

Our Sweet Cup Supper Club was the first seed of change. It gave me the ability to use my creativity to bring people in the community together in a concrete, face to face way. Now I feel we can do more. We can help create a positivity ripple that could have infinite effects. It may not be revolutionary and it will come in small steps, but any kind of positive change is the goal. We can’t change the big picture without picking up the paintbrush. We want people to connect. Empathize. Understand each other. Our goal will be helping our community connect in meaningful ways, big and small, and we hope you will help us make a change.

I still may tag my friends in memes and scroll through facebook occasionally, and you can bet we’ll be continuing our marketing online, because that is the reality that exists in business today. But we will also be using that platform to make the effort to connect, engage, and invest in our community and in our customers as fellow human beings. Our goal is face to face social connection and human interaction. Talking to each other. Learning from each other. Encouraging each other. Being a community. Business success should never come at the cost of personal fulfillment, and I am willing to take the risk that focusing on our customers and our community will only lead to positivity, regardless of financial profit. What the world needs now is just a tiny ripple, so let’s dip our toes in the water, friends. Let’s keep The Sweet Cup full… full of connection, interaction, and sharing. The coffee might cost ya, but the good vibes are free! We want to fill the cup of kindness every day, and we want your help. Let’s do this!

Please share this with the world if it has inspired you, and join us on our journey in The Positivity Project. You can check out our first project, The Sweet Cup Connection, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2021474411511448/

 

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Comments
  1. […] I experienced a sort of service industry/entrepreneurial burnout (which you can read all about here https://justapeanutbuttermother.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/the-positivity-project/ ) and was forced to come to a few realizations about my understanding of […]

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