HeartNote, March 14, 2019: "Tell me I can't."

My friend Mark owns a coffee shop. He's been operating the same coffee shop for the last twenty nine years.

"Nobody thought I could do this. Nobody. Not even my Mom believed that I could sustain this for as long as I have. I don't blame her, I guess."

Mark has made his coffee shop unique. He has online distribution, he roasts his own beans, bakes some of his own pastries, and has atmosphere that makes you feel like you're in somebody's living room. I asked him what his motivated him to keep going throughout the years.

He said, "It's two things, really. One, I really love what I do. It's my place, my shop, and I enjoy coming to work every day. But the second is one I was told when I first started this: I can't do it."

"My uncle and my older brother took me aside one day and told me that I didn't have the personality to run a coffee shop. They said I was too impatient. Then they told me I didn't have the stamina, that I'd run out of steam. Lastly, they told me I wasn't very organized and that I'd lose money and the shop would look like a yard sale."

Mark thought for a moment, and looked around the store. "I guess it kept me going, that needing something to prove."

"And I've hated that." Mark said. "Nobody wants to fuel their determination from the fear of rejection. Fear is a lousy reason to keep going. But I guess it worked for me. I was determined not to fail. And I made it."

"The store runs itself now. And years ago I stopped trying to prove my uncle and brother wrong. I was younger then, and I had something to prove."

"I would've preferred to be encouraged," he said. "I wish somebody in the beginning believed in me. I think, in the long run, I would've been happier. And the results would've probably been the same."

"You can try to prove somebody wrong through an event, but it's hard for that motivation to last a lifetime. One person who believes in you can give you ten times the motivation of two that don't."


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