Nov 1, 2022 • 46M

Baristas Can Do It All With Camila Coddou

The coffee pro-turned-coach talks about the gentleness of service work.

 
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Camila Coddou has been on the podcast three times: once to talk about a wild incident at her workplace (we won’t get into it in this episode, but if you want to learn more, you can find links in the show notes and the episode link) and another to discuss a project she was working on regarding patron engagement, or how we can communicate with customers on the work we do behind the scenes.

Camila has been in the service industry for over a decade, and now works as a coach, helping folks intentionally explore their passions and interests. She started a workshop called The Pause Project, where folks are invited to focus on one thing, one week at a time, setting aside other tasks as a way to bring more curiosity and intention into your goals. But there’s no one clear line separating her coaching work and her coffee work, and in this episode, we posit some big ideas, primarily that baristas can kind of do it all.

I admit, this episode was cathartic for me in a way I’m not sure others outside the service industry would understand wholly. It’s kind of raw and explores how service folks develop almost a super set of powers that people often overlook: people who work in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops cultivate a level of empathy and awareness that ultimately translates to a gentleness we don’t really have any other way to teach. It makes these folks equipped to handle so much, but I’m not sure we’ve found a way to value the skills of service workers, so much so that I don’t know if many service workers have the language to quantify these skills.

This episode is both about the abstract and the concrete struggles of service work: one of the reasons Camila developed her coaching practice is because she saw how much insight being a barista and manager gave her, but that didn’t translate on a resume. But this is also a continuation of a conversation Camila and I have been having since she first appeared on Boss Barista in 2019—and a conversation I’m sure we’ll continue to have. Here’s Camila.


Ashley: Camilla, I was hoping you could start by introducing yourself.

Camila: Yeah, I would love to. I am Camila. I use she/her pronouns. I live in Portland, Oregon, and I am a certified coach. I support people in questions around alignment and process. I run a few workshops and I am also a longstanding coffee professional.

Ashley: This is the third time that you've been on the show, which is incredible.

For people listening who maybe want a little more background on Camila's coffee career, you should go back to both of those episodes, which we'll link to in the show notes.

I almost want to pick up from the last time we chatted, which was right before the pandemic.

You were doing a project—it was about patron engagement. It was about how do we engage customers with the work that we're doing in coffee shops. And maybe we'll talk a little bit more about as we move along, but I want focus in more temporally, where were you at that point in your career and how do we get to the point that we're at now?

Obviously that's a big question, let's pick this up like a book, pick it up right where we left off.

Camila: Yeah, that sounds great. I'm trying to remember. So where I was for sure at that time was a little bit of in a wrap up place for my project, Barista Behind the Bar, which came from a desire to have conversations in the coffee industry around workplace equity and safety. Not just in terms of physical safety, but also very deeply emotional safety and how we show up to the spaces we work in fully as ourselves and feeling that the people we work for care about us.

Ashley: Right, and you were doing a road trip also supporting that. So you were going all around the US talking to people, publishing interviews.

Camila: That's right. And I was getting ready to go on another tour of that when the pandemic hit. I was raising funds and starting to plan the whole thing. And Covid had absolutely different plans. So I found myself, after this huge push of momentum—I think about this all the time, because I have quite a bit of grief around this, but I was actually planning an educational event to take place March 16th, 2020, and we got stay at home orders literally that day. I had people flying in from all around the country. I had people speaking, it was gonna be awesome. And then the wind was just taken right out of my sails.

Ashley: Did you have to send people home? Did people fly in and then had to go right back?

Camila: Yes. I had to cancel. Oh my God, one of the most pandemic moments that I had, especially at the beginning of mass chaos: I was trying to cancel somebody's flight because it was looking not so hot. Some people did land and did have to turn right back around, but one person's flight in particular, I was trying to cancel and Priceline was like, ‘Your wait time is 72 hours,’ I was like, ‘Wow, this is dire.’

Ashley: So, that's that moment where pretty much everything changes for you. How did you start to think of what to do next?

Camila: Luckily from Barista Behind the Bar, I had developed some relationships with companies, I mean, really all over the country. There was definitely that summer with the protests and all the conversations we started having around equity and racial justice, particularly after the murder of George Floyd.

I think for a lot [of people], it was kind of like this call to arms, which, you know, is complicated. But, regardless there were many companies and individuals that I spoke to that were like, ‘Wow, okay, this is a very real conversation we should have been having and now it's dire.’ I ended up speaking with several companies that I had relationships with and starting to do some conversations around equity work.

So I sort of stepped into this role as consultant, which was kind of funny. On the one hand, I'm like, ‘Yes, I do have a lot of experience with this. I've been a general manager in hiring and training and equity and coffee for a very long time.’ But as a consultant, what? There was a lot of imposter syndrome that came along with the territory.

But what I started to notice in those conversations was, yes, I was equipped to have these conversations and I could step into the role and move people through a variety of understandings of like, ‘What is equity? How do you create workspaces that are comfortable and safe for people and champion diversity and pathways to leadership for people who aren't traditionally in leadership roles, particularly in coffee?’

But in those conversations, in those relationships, the very real, deeper work started to come out because it's not just institutional. It's emotional, it's personal. And so I started realizing that a lot of what I was doing was actually coaching people.

Ashley: How did you realize that?

Camila: Oh, I think it was like a million different moments where I realized that people—we all have the capacity for change, but we really need support and support in change.

Support can be external, but change has to come from within. So much of how we can change and how we can evolve is deeply supported by someone supporting you and holding the mirror up and reflecting like, ‘Hey, this is what I see. Have you considered this? Have you considered that?’ And so when people, my clients, were having these really intense reckoning moments of like, ‘How do I support my staff?’ the question invariably came up of, ‘How am I supporting myself? What am I holding myself accountable to?’

And that is just a Pandora's box of like, ‘Okay, what are all the things we can look at? What are all the things we can take out and inspect?’ You need to start with yourself, I believe, in order to create change.

That's kind of how coaching came to the forefront of what I was doing. And the other thing, which I'm sure we'll get into more, is being in management and coffee for so long. I worked in the coffee industry sustained for about 13 years and a lot of that time was spent in management.

So much of management is coaching people, supporting staff members to do whatever is their personal best and move towards whatever goals feel right for them, and coaching people through that. It was a really natural extension of that.

Ashley: I think you might be one of the only people who I've ever heard say that management is really the process of coaching people, even though I 100% agree. Management is not about telling people what to do, but rather, to use the analogy that you used earlier, holding up a mirror to people and having them see their own work or see their own reflection and think, ‘Hey, is this the thing that you wanna be doing?’ or, ‘Hey, this is what I see when you are doing X, Y, and Z. Is this the direction that you wanna go in?’

And this can be small or minuscule. It can be as small as like, ‘I noticed that you really like doing inventory. Is that a direction that you wanna move into your career? Would you be interested in management?’ or, ‘Hey, I see that you really like doing customer service work. Is that a direction you wanna move?’

It can be small like that, but it can also be bigger, like you were saying with some of the folks that you worked in during your consulting process. And I wonder for you, was it always intuitive? That your role as a manager, as a leader, was to be a coach, because again, I don't think that that's intuitive.

Camila: Yeah. I think there is a certain amount of my position currently that is intuitive. But my evolution in leadership as a manager started when I was—I honestly feel like I've been working towards [leadership] roles my whole life.

But it has been a long, hard road with a lot of challenges and self doubt and questioning. Honestly, the times where I have had people really step up and be like, ‘Hey, I don't feel good about the way you're leading me,’ those have been some of the hardest times in my life, but also some of the biggest growth moments I’ve have. I can remember several times when staff members have been like basically, ‘You suck.’ And I have gone home and cried and then been like, ‘Okay, you know what, what's happening here? How can I meet my staff where they're at?’

It's been a really hard process of personal evolution, but also there is an intuitive component and where I reached—to get to the point of your question about viewing it as this sort of coaching role—I think where I ultimately landed, right before I left the management portion of my coffee career is realizing that on a team, in a coffee shop, yes, there are certain things that like everybody needs to do, like everybody needs to have a good close so that the opener can feel supported.

There's some non-negotiables, but within that, I don't believe that everybody on a team needs to do exactly the same thing in exactly the same way. And there's a subtlety and a nuance to each group, each iteration of the team and everybody brings their strengths and everybody brings their stuff.

Viewing it that way and starting to understand like, ‘Okay, I don't need everybody to behave in exactly the same way, as long as everybody's like meeting these non-negotiables.’ There are strengths, there are things that people can come forward with and engage in and they can feel good about that. And then there's some things that maybe they're not the best at, but that's okay because we're on a team.

Ashley: How would you define coaching? I know that's a little bit of a broad question. Maybe it feels a little bit like putting you on the spot.

Camila: No, I think that's a really good question, especially

I am a certified coach now and I have completed a coaching program, but I actually did start coaching before I did that, before I had a certification. Coaching is one of those like nebulous things, like anyone truly can say they're a coach.

And as long as you're honest and clear that this isn't therapy, as long as you're clear with your client, you can be a coach. But, so I'd say for me the, I define coaching as kind of like one part support, one part cheerleader, and one part mirror.

Actually—I’m going to say two parts mirror.

Ashley: So one part support, one part cheerleader, two parts mirror.

Camila: Yes.

Ashley: Okay. That makes sense. I broke the math down on that.

Camila: You're like, 25%, 50%…

Ashley: I'm like, carry the one—no, I was a math teacher, so I hope that I still have some of those skills that I could do that math.

Talk about the mirror part. Why did you put two parts for that.

Camila: I appreciate the opportunity to clarify because I think that is probably the most important aspect of my approach to coaching. This isn't just mine. This is an understanding, I think in coaching in general, which is the belief that everyone, you, me, and everyone we work with, our clients have what they need within them.

It's not about telling people, ‘Hey, this is how you fix this’, or, ‘Hey, do this.’ It's not prescriptive as much as it's like, ‘Oh, I noticed that you said this thing around boundaries. Can we explore that a little more together?’ I will listen to someone share what's coming up for them and then I'll reflect it back to them with curiosity and really the question is usually like, can you tell me more about that?

In the process, as people start to sort of cull through that, they uncover themselves always—like, what's true for them? I don't have that information. So much of it is just, ‘I noticed this,’ which to me is mirroring. This is what I heard.

Ashley: I love that on a very personal level because as I—I don't know. You and I are the same age, I believe, and I feel like I'm grappling with this idea that so much of my twenties was just getting through it and feeling like really resilient. And so much of my thirties has been like, ‘Oh, I'm actually very, very—’ not broken, but very much reflecting back on so much of what I thought was resilience was actually just me deflecting a lot of the pain and trauma that I've faced in my life.

And I look at a lot of the work that I'm doing now and I wonder if it's worth it or am I on the path that I should be? And as I've been talking to others who maybe aren't, you know, they're not there to coach me, they’re just like friends and others, I find so much power in saying a thing out loud and having them say it back to me.

Because number one, it's validating, but number two, it gives you a chance to really see it. It's almost like taking something outside of yourself and being able to look at it fully.

I imagine bearing witness to that must be really powerful on your end too.

Camila: Oh yeah. I mean there's so much resonance in that. Very often clients will be sharing something and it's almost exactly something I've been through. And you know, of course, with the relationship, client to coach, I'm not necessarily sharing, ‘Oh, here's my experience with that.’ I think the relationship is a little bit more malleable than say, a therapist—there's a stronger boundary around that, so I can bring that in.

But yes, it's incredible. Like I hear someone share an experience about something, I'll be like, ‘Wow, this resonates so much.’ I will notice after having a particularly impactful conversation with a client—it might be impactful for them or not—but sometimes someone will say something that will stick with me for the next 24 hours or however long, be like, ‘Wow, I can't stop thinking about this thing that this person said.’ I can relate so much. That in turn gets my wheels turning about whatever it is in my life.

Ashley: One of the things that I love about interviewing people is that there's an invitation to be very direct with people. There's an invitation to ask very direct questions, and I have to imagine that that's also true of coaching, where you get to have very—I don't wanna say real, that kind of feels a little bit like glib to say—but like, real conversations with people where you're not having like a, ‘Hello, how are you?’

It's an invitation to really get introspective and ask very deep and meaningful questions because that space is created—even just by engaging in the relationship of coach to client. There is space to be like, ‘We are here to develop something that's real or really uncover something.’

It really depends obviously on what the person is working on. But I have to imagine too that makes for a strangely rich landscape for really beautiful conversations.

Camila: Yeah, it does. The other thing that I do with my coaching practice, and I think that this is—I love one-on-one individual coaching, but probably the richest experience has been the workshop that I curated first. Actually [it was] just for myself and is now in its eighth session.

Ashley: Tell us more about that.

Camila: I would love to!

It's called the Pause Project Workshop. I conceptualized of this idea for myself in the depths of Winter 2020, when we were already in to the pandemic for about six months and cases were kind of spiking where I was living. We were asked to take a pause on socializing, which I'm like, I’m not doing any socializing as it is.

But it was this invitation, this external invitation to sort of take stock: ‘Am I caring for myself? What does this time mean for me?’ Not that it has to mean anything, but just realizing how many things were sort of up for question at that time in the pandemic. So I found myself using this sort of invitation, I guess, to take a pause.

I used the time to turn inward and I honestly don't know where this idea came from, but I conceptualized it, I think I was like laying in bed with my girlfriend and I was like, ‘I think for the next month, every week, I am gonna focus my attention on one thing, one act of self care or one act of introspection, and give myself permission to put everything else down.’

Because I am a person who has a variety of interests and passions, but I can also get extremely…I can feel almost like debilitated or stuck, overwhelmed even, in making a choice of like, ‘What am I gonna do today? Am I gonna write? Am I gonna paint?’ So I thought like, ‘Okay, what if I gave myself permission to put literally everything else down and just focus my attention on one thing for just a week at a time, knowing that on the other side of the week, everything else will still be there for me and I can pick it up—but this time now is to focus in on one thing.’

So yeah, that was the pause project for myself back in December of 2020, and I shared a lot about it on my social media platform. I had some [Instagram] Lives where I first just shared my experience. I also interviewed other people about—one of the things I wanted to focus on was starting a business because I was starting to understand like, ‘Okay, when I'm moving towards this coaching, how do I do that? How do I wanna show up in that space?’

There was so much connection from me taking myself along this process and sharing it with other people, and someone, somewhere in there was like, ‘You should run a workshop about this,’ And I was like ‘Okay.’

I guess I'm an Aries enough to be like, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’

Ashley: I think every conversation that we've had reminds me that you’re an Aries.

Camila: Yes. And that you’re an Aries.

Ashley: And I'm in Aries as well. So there's a lot of very similar energy. I could see exactly that same thing happening to me where someone's like, You should start a workshop. I'd be like, ‘Yeah! Sure!’ Same response.

At what moment did you feel like that was valid? Like, ‘Okay, I can start a workshop. Cool that someone suggested that,’ but at what moment did you feel like this is actually valuable and I have something to share?

Camila: What a good question.

I guess it was a collection of moments. I think one thing that is 100% true and I cannot take any credit for at all is the necessity for community connection—right now for sure, but definitely when I started the Pause Project, so people were looking for that.

And so really any sort of space that people could provide for us to connect—because there was just so much distance and alienation—so even just that started to feel valuable pretty much almost immediately.

Even when I was doing it for myself, before it was a workshop, talking to people, DMing, connecting with people all around the country, all around the world—I've got friends in Australia that I haven't spoken to. I think because of the pandemic, at least for me, it has become more normalized to be in communication with everyone because the playing field is leveled now.

It's like if you can get on Zoom with someone in Oregon, you can also get on Zoom with the friend you haven't spoken to for a year in Australia because it's the same medium. So I think the value started with community and continues to be community. It has also become this incredible sort of hive mind space where it's not just me coaching—yes, I'm facilitating this space, but the space is deeply and intrinsically informed by what participants are experiencing in the Pause Project.

The Pause Project now is a workshop. It's usually four weeks long. There's usually about six to eight participants. We come together in group calls and everybody gets one-on-one coaching throughout the week. It's a chance for everybody in the group to see themselves through the process of understanding not just like, ‘Oh, how do I complete a process or a project?’ but really looking at the process of, ‘What is it that I wanna achieve? Why do I wanna achieve it? How do I achieve it? And what are the blocks that come up?’

And to me, that just incredibly relates back to being in a coffee shop, having a team of people showing up for each other in terms of where we are all at on our individual journeys of self-discovery and coffee shop work, and how do we work together to lift each other up.

Ashley: Something that's come up a lot in conversations I've had throughout this podcast, especially lately, is how much self-reflection can happen within service work. Obviously, we're talking about coffee because you and I have both worked in coffee—this is Boss Barista after all, but I think in service work in general, there's this really unique ability to show up as authentically as yourself in a way.

Someone noted that in an episode—Niki Tolch told me one of the reasons that she was attracted to coffee was that she had never seen people just be themselves at work before. I thought that that was really interesting and special because we do so much one-on-one work with customers, we do so much one on one work with our colleagues, our managers, but we also do a lot of this group work and there's a lot of opportunity to really build skills.

I think people miss that, that people don't really see that when they see barista on a resume or that you are a coffee shop manager on a resume. People kind of think, ‘Oh, you made coffee,’ and that's it.

But because we interact with so many people every day, we almost get, again, to steal your analogy, you get a mirror pretty much what, every two minutes when you see a new customer. There's always a chance to learn something new and engage with the world in a new way that teaches you something else.

I know that that's a little bit nebulous, but I think that's something that you can relate to. I imagine that's something that you are identifying in yourself—these are the skills that I have because of coffee. This is what coffee's given me, and I'm not seeing other people recognize that.

Camila: Yeah. I mean, oh my God, the amount of—I used to say that management, and I think this is probably true across all management, but especially service industry management is, I used to say that it was about managing expectations. Yes for staff, but also for customers.

What I mean by that isn't like, ‘Oh, [as a customer], your expectations are high or low,’ as much as, ‘I'm gonna give you the information you need so that then you can show up in your authenticity, and in also your agency, about what decide for yourself.’

It can be extremely complex. Obviously we know that there's so much there for employers [to manage] in terms of job descriptions and salaries and all that, but as a barista, I mean, you do that every single day. Especially: say you're on register and someone comes in and order something that's not on the menu. You have a tiny little interactive moment in which you actually get to engage with this person's agency in your own agency by sharing with them what is available.

They get to be in choice about whether or not they order that or they leave. I know that might seem kind of like a silly minute example of that, but it's a microcosm of how we engage with people all the time.

Ashley: I totally agree.

Camila: Yeah, in all our relationships. The other thing actually that came up the other day, the last time I was on shift because I do currently have coffee shop work right now—I've picked up a shift a week and also sometimes I cover when people are out in support of coaching because I am starting my own business. I can also get into how challenging that has been, especially financially. But I am working in coffee currently as well, kind of back into it after a few years away.

So the other day on shift, I had this interaction with this customer who had extremely high expectations and was very…I wouldn’t use the word entitled, but just noticing like where the boundaries of their needs were and where the boundaries of my needs were, I could tell that this person needed something and I also could tell within myself, I'm actually not available to provide that.

I was able to have direct clear engagement with this person and then let it go once they left. If you've worked in industry, you know that you can have interactions with people who rub you the wrong way all the time, and that can stick with you for so long. But I think this example of all the different ways that you can engage with relationships on every level, I think about it all the time.

Ashley: I do too. It's hard to define and I think that both of our questions and answers allude to that. It's difficult to always define, but I love the example that you gave because that was really defined and I don't know that I would've gotten to that second level. I think I would've gotten to that first level of like, ‘Okay, this customer expects for me something that I cannot provide,’ or, ‘Their expectations are something else perhaps that's informed by their background, perhaps that's informed by the way that they've engaged in other coffee shops before—whatever.’ Their expectations are not a factor of something that I have done.

But I think what's interesting is the second part [of your answer] where you said—I think I would've tried to like figure out like how to meet those expectations, but I love that like you were able to say, ‘I actually can't, I am not available to do that right now. Maybe I would be available another time, or maybe I just can't identify what they need. So I need to figure out a way to navigate this situation.’

I don't know. I find that so fascinating and I find that the more that I interact with coffee folks and the more that I interact with people who have been long-time baristas, who have been people who have served customers for years, I find that gentleness is really inherent in them. I don't know that we have a system to teach this really profound gentleness and I don't know if that's the right word for it—that's what I'm thinking about right now.

There seems to be this really beautiful relational gentleness that you're able to provide in these situations that I don't know that we have any sort of mechanism to teach otherwise.

Camila: I agree and, I think one perfect example of it—and I'm realizing now that I do wanna touch upon what I think was your initial question was of moving these skills that you learn sort of beyond coffee and the tension in that—but first I wanna touch upon what you just said about this gentleness.

I do think that yes, there is not an easy way to explain that or teach that. But there is this one example that I keep seeing of where, and I'm sure that this is incredibly relatable, of where a customer shows up and is standing at the register and you are behind the register, brewing a pot of coffee or pulling a shot or doing something and the customer, instead of noting there isn't someone standing in front of me ready to take my order, will just launch into like, ‘Can I have a ______?’

There's this moment where, as the person in charge of giving this person what they're asking for, you can either—like for me, I can cross my boundary and start taking their order, or I can take a pause and say, ‘I will be with you in just one moment.’

That experience right there is a gentle, firm articulation of a boundary and also an honoring of like, ‘I want to give you attention so that I can really understand that you want a 12 ounce, no whip, half-caf mocha. And I know that I am not available to understand all that information at this time while I'm brewing a pot of coffee. So please, I will meet you in a moment.’

I think that, right there, is this gentleness, but it is also this clarity.

Ashley: Absolutely. That was a great example.

Camila: I think about it all the time. It truly happens all the time. I'm like, ‘Sir, there's literally no one standing at the register.’

Ashley: But you're right, there is a moment where I think as a tense barista, I might be like, ‘Let me drop everything that I'm doing and go over and acknowledge this person.’ Or maybe try to still do the thing that I'm doing and take this person's order. But there is a way to be gentle and set boundaries.

‘Hey, I'll be with you in just a moment’. And I think it's even just acknowledging them because I can also see the converse where you maybe ignore that person because you're doing something else. But it's also meeting them where they're at too.

Like acknowledging them and being, ‘This is the boundary that’s set,’ actually drawing the line in the sand versus assuming the line has already been drawn.

Camila: Right, exactly. I think that there is gentleness in that and the acknowledgement that we're all doing our own thing. You know? I think that's also something really important for me is like, I don't take it personally when somebody's in a rush. I'm like, you are in your life having your experience and you need something, so let's make it work for both of us—even in just that simple experience.

And I think those skills—which we practice literally dozens of times in one shift—those are incredibly transferable skills. I'm about to get on my soap box, but one of the reasons I find myself right now working not in coffee exclusively is because personally, when it was time for me to try something different—I love this work and I'd like to transfer my skills elsewhere—I did not find that to be easy.

I did not find that my skills were taken seriously. I mean in the last year of my last big coffee shop job, I think I applied to over 115 jobs. I had been a general manager for several years managing a team of 50 people, so I thought my skills were transferable, but I only got two interviews. And [they were from] actually people I knew.

Ashley: What kind of range of jobs did you apply for?

Camila: I applied for project management, I applied for customer service. Most of it was in like, tech adjacent things. I applied for office management [positions], that kind of thing.

And I'm like, these skills—I can plan someone's calendar, like I can…

Ashley: I've made a schedule for 50 people. I can plan someone's calendar.

Camila: Yes, and I was really kind of blown away at how I would rarely receive, not even just an interview. I've done interviews. I know that it's taxing, but I really, maybe it's naive, but I was incredibly surprised to not be given the time of day.

Ashley: Yeah, and for the fact that there are so many applicable skills in coffee, especially just the relational aspect of it, I don't think that any job other than service work really teaches you how to interact with others and just be in community with others.

Camila: Absolutely.

Ashley: So speaking a a little bit more to your experiences and you starting to build this career for yourself, it seems like you almost like—not like you had to, you could have done whatever number of things—but it seems like you were getting to this point where you were like, ‘I can't move out of this. The only other answer is for me to start my own business,’ which I totally relate to.

I don't wanna say what advice you have for people, but maybe we can speak a little bit to folks who feel that same tension: who are maybe at that point in their lives where they feel maybe coffee is not the direction that they wanna go to forever, that they love their industry, but they're ready to do something else.

What would you, I guess, coach people on thinking about as they maybe think about another direction for their lives?

Camila: I think that's a really good question. [pause]

I think the first place I might suggest people start with that question is: why are you in coffee? I think that there can be sort of this like, ‘Well, it's a quote unquote entry level job. I got it outta college, you know?’ But there are many things you can do when you're looking for, again, quote unquote an entry level job. And there is a reason, you might not know it, but there is a reason that you gravitate towards the work you do and the reason you stick to it.

So I think the biggest question for me would be, ‘Why do you do what you do and why do you love it?’ And then from there, I think the journey is to figure out how to find that elsewhere, but also how to speak about it.

I mean for me, I don't know how obvious this is thus far, but for me it's pretty obvious my interest is in relationships. Yes, I can pour a rosetta and dial in espresso, but for me it was always about the relationship. The relationship with the customers, with the teammates, with the delivery people, the community—every single thing about that is what made my day, it made my heart sing, it made me stay in the work.

So taking that and thinking like, ‘Okay, what's the most important thing to me in my work right now and really in my life's journey?’ is the relationships and this relational experience—it's so rich, the boundaries conversation we just had, all of it.

In naming that for myself and realizing like, ‘Okay, that's what I have. That's the skill I've been honing.’ I think it needs to be named too, that sometimes the skills that we're naming might seem like, ‘Oh, cool. You're good at having relationships.’ No, that's really important.

That's really exactly what you're saying. You don't get taught how to manage or juggle this many relationships and this many interactions in almost any other industry, but the service industry. And so for me, realizing that, I was like, ‘Okay. Relationships. How do I do that? Okay. Coaching seems like a very clear path forward for me.’

So I would say the first question is really ask yourself, give yourself the time to inspect: what is it about this work that I like it. And it's multifaceted. It could be management, it could be organizational, it could be artistic. It’s endless what we do. There's like no limit to the amount of skills that coffee professionals and service industry workers in general have.

Give yourself the time to inspect what exactly it is that draws you to the work, has kept you in the work. What do you love about it? And then from there, where can you take that.

Ashley: What are some of the other workshops that you host or work on?

Camila: So I have been doing, like I said, the Pause Project now for almost two years, which I almost can't even believe. There have been many themes that have come out of not just a Pause Project workshop, but also individual coaching. One huge theme that has come up a lot is how we shift perspectives.

There is so much in this world we don't have any control over, but one thing that we do have choice in is how we view a specific experience. I think that the examples that we're speaking of in terms of customer interactions, yes, that's a real experience. But there's a certain level of personal perspective that can really impact how you come out of that.

So this question of: here's this thing I believe, either about myself or the world, or my job or my relationship, or whatever it is—and then how do I get to a place where I can interact with it differently based on my perspective? With this huge question, I have created a new workshop that's shorter and more direct, and it's called The Pivot, and it's about changing your mind.

It's one week long instead of the month long process of the Pause Project workshop, but The Pivot is basically taking one specific question of changing your mind, challenging your beliefs about something and seeing how you can shift your perspective over the course of a week. It does have a group component and a coaching component, so it's kind of like a mini version of one aspect of the Pause Project.

Ashley: Is there anything else that you want people to know about listening to this episode?

Camila: Good question. So much!

I think if I could say one thing to people in coffee and in the service industry is—and I feel like this is gonna resonate with you so much because we've had this conversation many times—that we are deeply skilled and incredible workers.

The work we do is important. It is imperative to the health of a community—and to not take that lightly. Not everyone might see that, but stand firmly in the truth of that, and from there, you can take it and move towards other things you want. I think coffee workers should always know how incredible we are.

Ashley: Camila, thank you so much for being on the show with me for the third time.

Camila: Thank you so much for having me, Ashley. I love our conversations.

Ashley: So do I.

In a first for Boss Barista, Camila will be writing a guest piece that will go live on Thursday! In the meantime, you can learn more about Camila’s work here.