A couple weeks ago I ended up in a conversation with some folks explaining the “name your price” model in our coffee shops. My normal explanation goes, “We want to challenge people to consider the impact they can have with small choices, so we invite them to value their drink knowing we pay our growers as much as we can.” They mentioned it might be awkward and a little uncomfortable naming a price in front of people. I told them uncomfortable isn’t always bad. In this case, it’s uncomfortable because it’s a vulnerable moment with a stranger. But vulnerability is good, I want folks to be a bit uncomfortable, it hints at authenticity.
We’ve found vulnerability and authenticity are hard things for folks. But as we walk toward lives of meaning, impact and community they are of the highest importance. Of course communities are not formed without them; but we are finding that they lead to our greatest impact as well. More powerful than dollars and better than a few hours of labor is friendship. As we walk with folks into places of service, we set up opportunities for dollars or labor in the hopes that they’ll form friendships. Amidst friendship is shared concern and common mission, networks collide and world-views are shared.
So often though, we shy away. We accomplish a task, never really willing to know the folks we work among. We back away from honest moments and leave our greatest asset untouched. I am finding that as I risk embarrassment or wasted time and push through awkward moments in an effort to hear backstory and future plans, my life gets richer and I move toward a life of community, impact and meaning.
That’s why we let you name prices in the shops. We’re trying to give you a moment of honesty. What’s it worth?
When you’re ready for more moments, let us know. We have some more folks to introduce you to. As you make friends, you’ll find a life you’ll like better.