I’m always going on and on about how we are in relationship with everyone in our lives, from our barista at Starbucks to whomever we land with in bed at the end of the day, and I also know that each of those relationships can be happily designed. We do this with the 100% lean-in.

Today, I want to talk about Starbucks; it’s a great example of The 100% Lean in, and I think once you understand this, you can apply it all over the place.

Our job, if you will, as a customer at Starbucks, is to: enter the building (for the sake of argument, let’s not include the drive-through option), walk up to the counter, order our coffee, pay for our coffee, put whatever accouterments into the coffee, and leave with said coffee. Doing all of these things without any sort of hiccups can be considered showing up for that job at 100%.

The barista’s job is to cheerfully take our order, accept our payment, deliver our beverage to us, and say thank you. Doing all of these things constitutes showing up 100%.

Are you still with me?

What I know is that 100% can look different on different days. I will outline what not-quite 100% looks like and the possible way we can make it that way:

  • You get to the counter and realize you have forgotten your wallet in the car and have no way to pay for your beverage.

 How to make it 100%: Ask for what you need. Tell the barista what has happened so that your order can be held until you can get your money and the line-up behind you can proceed with their orders.

  • You are in in the middle of an important phone call on your mobile, and while you sincerely wish it would end in time for you to order your coffee, that is not the case, and instead of ordering, you must continue your conversation. (See how I give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not just standing in line, staring at your phone, oblivious to all that is happening around you.)

 How to make it 100%: Step aside, ask the person you are on the call with to give you a moment so you can order, or pretend you jut went through a tunnel and hang up on the call (it’s the nature of phones that people are able to call us back.)

  • You approach the counter and the barista is telling her co-worker about the wicked concert she saw last night, complete with an air guitar impression.

How to make it 100%: Well you’re welcome to get the barista’s attention in a respectful way, but this is really up to the barista to make up the difference, and that is by ending her inappropriate conversation and take your order.

  • The barista is nowhere to be seen and you peer over the counter and see that they are kneeled on the floor putting some cups away behind the counter.

 How to make it 100%: Again, this is up to the barista to make up. All that is needed is a quick “I’ll be right with you!”

  • Hot coffee in hand, you go to the sugar-adding station and you get stuck behind a guy who has his stuff spread all over everywhere and you can’t even get to the sugar.

The guy can turn to you and say, well, anything. “So sorry, I’ll get out of your way” or (and this is one I use all the time) “Argh! I’m quite a tornado, aren’t I? Can I pass you the cream?”


What this means for more intimate relationships:

In relationships that run a little deeper than coffee, we can apply these ideas; when you notice that you’re showing up less than your 100% ideal, explain why, and then ask for what you need. Conversely, if your partner is failing to show up and meet your expectations in a way that feels like 100% for you, ask (in a caring way) what is happening that you can maybe be more understanding about. (They may not have ready this post and be as in tune with what 100% looks like!).

A few quick examples come to mind:

● You have a deadline coming up at work and know you will be preoccupied all week. So you ask your partner for their patience and understanding

● You suffer from horrendous seasonal allergies, and your partner has planned a full day of fun on the day you have off together. You ask for a little time for your allergy meds to kick in.

● You meet an old friend for dinner and although you would love to really catch up, you can’t stop thinking about how your grandmother is really sick and you aren’t able to fly out see her. You explain to your friend why you are not really present.

Showing up at 100% looks different on any given day.

The good news is it’s really easy to notice when you’re falling short and ask for what you need to make up the difference.

It’s also worth taking a look at how, in our relationships, we sometimes lean in more or less than 100%, which can lead to resentment, and mistrust and a whole host of other things, but I will leave that for another week. Until then, go grab a coffee at Starbucks, and think of me!

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