Your work should change people

In the last hundred years, we’ve gotten work backwards.

I grew up thinking that work was something that I did between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm to get a paycheck in order to live my life. Or, because my father ran his own business, that I’d have to work from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. most days.

But, ultimately, work should be about more than doing time.

Meaningful work

When I opened Robin’s Café, I wanted to build a “Responsive” cafe, a business that existed to serve our employees and the local community.

Several months in, I asked a barista how things were going. He said, “This is the best job I’ve ever had. I’ve grown so much. I love it here.”

This employee worked irregular hours and served hundreds of customers a day. He wasn’t doing what most people would consider life-changing job. But, for him, the culture of the cafe created meaningful work.

Sales is about making, and then delivering on, a promise. It is helping someone become more of who they want to be. Work is making things, or doing things, that change people.

Whether you work in sales, non-sales selling, or are just learning to ask for what you want, your work should change people.


Selling somebody on your ideas requires empathy. Great work in any field requires that you know yourself.

Know yourself, connect with the other person, and then invite them towards the outcome you want.


An invitation to change is fundamental to meaningful work.

It can come in the form of a direct ask like, “Will you buy my product?” Or it can come from creating an environment where someone can flourish, as we did at Robin’s Cafe.

Know who you want someone to become and invite them towards that outcome.


When you are persistent, you are much more likely to accomplish what you want.

In selling, persistence means following up repeatedly. In building company culture, it takes the form of training and daily reminders. At Robin’s Cafe, we took the employees bowling, gave trainings, and even offered them a say in the design of the cafe.

Persistence, whether through one clear ask or a continuous series of invitations, makes sales – and work – work better.


In order to get somebody to change, you need a reason why. Without this purpose, you won’t be able to progress.

At Robin’s Cafe, I had several different people I wanted to provide for: my employees, our customers, my investors, the neighborhood, and myself.

When you know why and what you are hoping to accomplish, the hard moments become somewhat easier.


Who you are wanting to help and what you are hoping they will become?

Spend 5 minutes taking notes about the desired outcome you have for your clients, employees, or whomever in your life you’re inviting towards a change.

The more clearly you know who you are trying to help and what about them you want to help them change, the more effective you’ll be.


Until next week,

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