A friend shared a story that inspires her. It is the story of Giulietta Carrelli and her coffeehouse trouble. The story aired on the NPR show This American Life in March 2014. It was so compelling that my friend stopped cleaning the kitchen and sat down and focused all her attention on listening to it. It has stayed with her ever since. Here is what she shared:
“I found the story so riveting because of the mental health struggles Giulietta faced, the brilliant coping strategies she develops, her philosophy of life, and the pivotal roles of some of the people she encounters. And also, the toast! It is such a simple, basic comfort food.
“Giulietta struggled for years with a serious, undiagnosed mental illness. She was leading a very difficult, nomadic life when she met an elderly man, Glen, at China Beach in San Francisco. He became an incredible anchor for her. He asked the question, ‘What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?’
“Her answer was that she was good at making coffee, and good with people. With the support of Glen and others, she finally decided to open a coffee shop that features toast, coconuts, and grapefruit juice, three items that have special significance to her. She succeeded.
“She finds her salvation in focusing on the most positive elements in her life, even though they might seem insignificant to anyone else.
“Of all the statements in the story, the one I remember best is this: ‘But I never, ever, ever thought that it was going to fail. Everything that works for me, I put in one little spot. And I thought, well, if it works for me, it’ll work for other people.’”
- Why is this question powerful: “What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?”
- How could you put the following sentence to work? “She finds her salvation in focusing on the most positive elements in her life, even though they might seem insignificant to anyone else.”
- What could you do differently today that would positively affect those around you?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?