Toxicity: Merriam Webster defines as being ‘an extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful quality’.
Fast Forward 2010, Year of the spiral.
Heading to 50 and an empty-nester of four brilliant chicks, a stable and high paying job that afforded me my sweet little ‘Benz’ and a marriage most would kill for.
"What’s wrong Laurel, why so glum?" I had a sixty-minute commute to work and ninety minutes coming home. This sacred time gave me wonderful opportunities to analyze my lack of luster for life and really define why I picked up smoking again and drank every night to numb myself.
I had been so unhappy for so long that I couldn’t remember who this girl was and why this little lady was hell bent on being angry. Finally, after being intimidated by my superiors in the audience of well over fifty peers, I submitted to the resolution that I had to leave this toxic environment if I wanted to live a life where I didn’t hate myself.
Job: Important Aerospace position. I worked with the most brilliant and aggressive people in the industry and a had a circle of friends that were willing to throw me under the bus and take credit for all the thousands of hours that I spent there doing the giants bidding.
These folks were great people, don’t get me wrong, but in such an aggressive environment, only the most successful were rewarded and acknowledged. I personally am guilty of taking a bit of info and turning it into a ten-page report and be the first to submit for the glory and praise of the department. The managers and directors loved this, they could then add it to their reports to submit to their higher for the well-deserved bonus’s that they were dangled.
On the flip side, if you didn’t keep up with this high profile, it became truly awful. In the beginning of my career, I fought to hold my self-worth and morals for human kindness, I promise I did. This kind of nonsense was not accepted in my department. At one point I was really told “Laurel, I pay you enough money to be a bitch, and that is my expectation!” Not making this up, and by God, I rose to the occasion! Sold my heart and soul and life to that theory. Guess what, it almost killed me both physically, mentally and spiritually.
Buying back my Soul, life and happiness from the monster: I would love to say there was an instantaneous revelation that occurred the moment my sweet husband persuaded me to leave “the valley of the shadow of death”, but alas, it did not happen that way at all. This is a blog, so I will not take you to relive the ups and downs of that time as I feel surely that PTSD had contributed to my slow progress of moving forward.
Instead, allow me to outline the "Must Do’s" of this remarkable awakening!
1. Define what you love.
This is harder than it looks if you have stayed to long in the soul-less world. But go back to the beginning and write everything down
Answer: I love Plants, I love the growing process, the flowering process, the science and the spirituality of this life/death pattern. It always made sense to me, and gave me peace.
2. What are you good at?
Don’t be too specific here.
Answer: I am a great Visionary, I love financials, and if I am honest with myself, I can say…I don’t lose. I love to work with people, I am a natural leader and a fantastic group supporter.
3. What is your "Why"?
This is huge! This is your vision, your soul, your passion! Dig real deep and go big or go home sugar lips!
Answer: At the risk of sounding like Martin Luther King, "I have a dream". My family has a long history of cancer. I want to be key in curing cancer, and have adventure and love while doing it. No, I am not a doctor, no I do not contribute millions to the cancer funds (yet), but I will be on a journey to get us closer to the cure and loving the journey and people along the way. Told you to go big! I have this vision of two little girls with dark hair and eyes who works on their family’s plantation. They live in poverty like their family has for generations, but their hearts and minds are huge. I believe with the support of this company, we will give these little ladies the opportunity to go on to college, become excellent, and find the cure for cancer. Just like that, I have a hand in changing the world. To me it’s not about being famous and being praised, it is about making the difference. Be the catalyst and making life beautiful. Go big or go home!
4. What is your Vessel?
Look at your answers above, and really, truly look for a tool that will get you there while using all your ‘Super Powers’. It is out there, trust me! Look, meditate, pray and talk to as many fellow humans a possible! Ask, Ask, Ask!!! ‘What do you do?”, “How do you do it?”, “Why do you do it?”. Let me tell you, people love to share their stories, and you will get a lot of inspiration. Listen closely and I bet you feel a spark when your vessel pops up his sweet little head.
Answer: As I asked all these questions and looked at the answers, it became so very clear.
Coffee is my vessel!
Coffee touches every continent, employs and empowers (or not) millions of farmers, farm workers, brokers, dealers, shop owners, baristas, office staff, contractors…the list is limitless! By supporting Fair Trade, we are giving back to the farmers and communities. By supporting Organic, we are strengthening our consumers by not adding the toxins (cancer provoking??) chemicals into our food source and soils.
I can live adventure by meeting these beautiful people and empowering Gender Diversity in the far away continents that still will not empower our little girls to go to school and let them cure our cancers.
I can create a strong company with Core values that will honor our customers, empower the coffee supply chain and develop and nourish the souls and lives of our team members.
I believe corporations can grow without the Toxicity that poisons most of the companies in America today, and we have the experience and desire to change!
All one bean at a time.
All so ridiculously simple and yet so very powerful this thing called life. Now go get yours!
God bless and God speed to your dreams.