Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tip#55: Re-Energize in Your Favourite Coffee Shop
We all have our favourite coffee shops or spots to hang out at. Le Gourmand Grocer Café is mine and it's been there for me during difficult times in my life. Thankfully this café is close by to me in downtown Toronto and has been a special place for many years. It's a perfect spot to re-energize myself.
There have been countless times that this café's atmosphere has helped lift my spirits when I've felt lost during my mid-career transition. Le Gourmand gave me a place to look forward to during mornings I just wanted to stay in bed.
I remember rituals of getting up early to be at the café as soon as they opened at 7am. The morning sunlight would stream through the high windows adding to the already warm and cozy atmosphere. With classic jazz music playing in the air, the aroma of hot coffee and the sight of their fresh pastries was always a revitalizing start to my day.
Whenever I had illustration assignments I would bring my sketchbook, sit at my favourite table with their house blend in hand and let my pen fly across the page. Le Gourmand meant so much to me that when I was interviewed on Canadian Learning Television's 'Career Moves' program I insisted we film a segment at the café early in the morning. The producers liked the idea and they documented an important location that helped fuel my creativity.
A Second Home
I am also filled with memories of reading daily newspaper articles and several motivational books at Le Gourmand that would later help me rediscover my passions and life purpose. There were many times I'd write down wish lists for the life and career I wanted. The café was both a comfort in my soul searching and a chance to stay connected with others as I watched the neighborhood patrons come in and out. It felt like a second home.
Business colleagues playfully referred to Le Gourmand as our second office. I've had many meetings both business and personal where we'd share one of the café's humongous chocolate chip cookies they've become famous for. I've even had many synchronistic encounters when I least expected it. Some of these meetings have been major turning points that helped give me insights to catapult me forward in my new career as a motivational speaker.
And though I have yet to visit Europe, Le Gourmand's owner had brought the flavour and atmosphere of Europe to Toronto. As written in Toronto Life magazine, "So successfully has owner Milton Nunes captured the feel of a Parisian café, right down to the checkerboard tile, that it's too easy to spend hours people-watching and downing perfect café au lait."
When I've seen Milton over the years I've always given him a warm hello and big smile that secretly thanked him for bringing a slice of Europe here to my doorstep.
Cafés are also celebrated in popular tv shows as central social destinations. Seinfeld had Monk's Café, Friends had Central Perk, Frasier had Café Nervosa and Smallville had The Talon coffee shop for a young Clark Kent to hang out at. These café's were not only social destinations but places where the characters meet new people, learned about themselves and each other over tasty cappuccinos, teas and pastries. It was their home away from home.
So what are your favourite coffee spots? Which ones warm your soul? Remembering these spots become even more important when you are going through difficult times because they can re-energize your spirit. See them as your emergency destinations when you are feeling lost or low self-esteem. Let them be your conscious source of refuge from the aches and pains of your job or relationships.
And you never know who you'll meet when you're there. Synchronicity has a way of arranging help to come visit you while you are casually sipping your favourite latte or beverage.
Whatever your favourite spots are, remember they have a deeper value and can be the best place on earth to re-connect with yourself. These special places are like a warm friend waiting to lift you up.
Me at Le Gourmand during an interview for CAREER MOVES on Canadian Learning Television. Click here
Life Skills & Career Development
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007