Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tip#55: Re-Energize in Your Favourite Coffee Shop

Le Gourmand

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.

TV Cafés

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

Emmanuel Lopez
Life Skills & Career Development
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007


WagnerLover said...

i am inspired.
very much so.

White Badger said...

I, too, am inspired.
Coffee shops are the perfect place to revitalize or relax.
"Coffee is the painter's landscape, the poet's well, and the musician's tempo."

Anonymous said...

Your blog made me want to visit that coffee shop................and then there was that chocolate've got to bring more of that soothing chocolate into everyone's life in some special of my
weaknesses is mixing Hershey's chocolate syrup into Stoneyfield non fat vanilla yogurt. Now see what you've done Emmanuel................


Anonymous said...

Hello Emmanuel,

thanks so much for the positive feedback. It's so encouraging to know that my customers are still enjoying what i created down on Spadina. It's nice to hear that I can somehow help cheer people up and put them in a good state of mind when they go to Le Gourmand. It's the best thing a person in this business can hear. I hope you can enjoy it for many years to come. I hope to be there for as long as I am alive. I hope all is well and I'll see you soon.

Le Gourmand

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't have a favorite coffee shop as such. Whenever it's coffee's Dunkin Donuts here! Wish I had bought a franchise years ago. But other things were more important at the time.

You really motivated me with the chocolate cookie! Love Love Love chocolate! Your favorite spot sounded so tempting should be a place where you can go and truly enjoy that cup of coffee with or without someone. A sort of cocoon where you feel soooo comfortable that all your senses come to life and you can think and dream over that delicious cup of "Joe".

I really love cocoa too! There is something soothing about it. It probably stems back to childhood when we would all come in from playing in the snow and Mom had that hot cup of chocolate for us to curl up and get warm with.
Those moments in life make us feel good!

Keep on mmmmmmmmmotivating!

Anonymous said...

Coffee shops used to be 'out of bounds' to me when searching for a job. It seemed like a frivolous waste of time. Thanks for letting me see the value of the time spent there. Now it can be a part of the job-searcher's life without the guilt. Thanks.