I've always had a passion for empowering people in general, whether it be through my local church, the hospitality workplace, or coffee classes. A passion in seeing others succeed however, also requires some credibility in your own profession.
I often question my own credibility when teaching anything as there are people I look up to with large amounts of experience under their belts compared to me. Even though I have a fair amount of experience, I very often embrace subjects I don't know in order to be able to equip myself for the future and make my classes better.
There can be a temptation however, to stop seeking out further knowledge and enforce your own expertise with logical fallacies to substantiate lack of research, with a hope nobody notices. I say this with personal experience growing up and thankfully, I noticed this before launching the coffee school (formally The Art of Coffee). Here are a number of things I do to stay grounded and humble in the coffee industry (not that I actually have any reason to boast):
1. Social Media - Follow and engage with people or companies you admire, not just people you'd like to teach/supply.
2. Youtube - Following barista/brewing championships is something worth doing if you want to find an easy way to assess the strength of the competition. Subscribing to coffee professionals with an opinion on various topics will also broaden your horizon.
3. Online Resources - This can be tiring and you might not know where to start, but following the former 2 points will definitely help. Personally speaking, I've been very fortunate in having a library worth of resources available to me by the Specialty Coffee Association site (SCA). A lot of the content is free, but a simple annual subscription will get you a whole lot more!
4. Talk to People - You can't, and shouldn't be in this industry alone. It's always better to have others supporting you and encouraging areas of improvement. I find it hard to take criticism when it comes to running my own business, but I'm 100% convinced that it ultimately benefits me and opens my eyes to the community around me.
There's certainly more you can do, but this can definitely put you on the right track if you feel like a big fish a small pond. Seek to expand your horizons and you won't come from
This blog doesn't come from a place that's actually trying to give you advice, but more from a "preaching to myself" perspective. If I can however, process something and have it benefit other people, then I may as well document it.
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