Forget the resolutions! Develop a life plan!

It’s January 25…and many of us have already broken them.  The first few weeks of the gym were easy, but then it snowed and we stopped going.  We loved eating healthy….all those salads….but then work got stressful and McDonalds called out our name.  Every year we make them and every year 25% of us break them within a week and 60% abandon them before summer hits.  They plague us, belittle us, guilt us, conquer us and gloat over us.  Resolutions!

I said goodbye to resolutions in 2011 and have lived a different life ever since.  Resolutions are problematic because they come out of a temporary mindset.  They often address behaviors without addressing background.  Resolutions are often good intentions but are easy to walk away from because at the end of the day we don’t really care about them.  They’re not connected to our hearts….just our intentions and short term desires. Every year so many of us make resolutions because I think that deep down inside we all want to develop and move forward.  The problem is that broken resolutions usually just add to the problem because they neutralize our hearts and stop us dead in our tracks.

In 2011 I developed a life plan and it started a daily process that has helped to transform my life.  Michael Hyatt has developed a great resource for this and the best thing is that it’s completely free!  So what does a life plan do?

When you develop a life plan you look at the end goal….more than a 5 or 10 year plan (which are also helpful) it looks to the end.  You ask questions like “What do I want to be known for?”  ”What do I want my wife/kids/husband/friends to say about me when I die?”  I know it may sound a little morbid but thinking about the ending does two things….1. it gets you thinking about what really matters to you and 2. it gives you the ultimate goal and will provide the context for your plans and goals

Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front
— Pixar

After you’ve written out the desired reality you look at the current reality.  This is the one that usually hurts if you’re honest.  When you measure these two up against each other the journey before you begins to unfold.  This journey is the one your life can take.  This is where your annual commitments come from.  The good news is that this is a life plan, not a one year plan so you don’t need to move from a-z in 365 days.  Will you still fail and lose ground sometimes?  Of course, but when you have a life plan your commitments and goals have a deeper meaning to you than just the goal itself….it’s attached to the depths of who you are.

So now that you’ve probably broken your resolutions or realized that they weren’t attainable take a break and start over.  Download the life plan pdf, put on some good music, grab a cup of coffee and dream.  You get one chance at life, will you leave it to chance or will you start moving towards a great life.

Have you written a life plan?  Do you have goals, dreams? If so, how do you move towards them?

writing a new ending for your life story

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
— Maria Robinson

It’s a new year with new possibilities.  It sounds trivial to say this and we all do, but in reality it’s true.  The amazing thing about life is that in actuality each day offers a possibility of a new start, a fresh beginning.  For so many of us January is a slightly slower month of the year.  The days are darker and shorter, we’re recovering from the holidays, budgets are new and usually spending is slower so we have time to think.  So let’s think beyond resolutions, beyond simple behavioral changes.  Let’s ask….how do we want out story to end?  Once we look at the ending then we can start figuring out how to write the middle.

While it’s true that we only have one life to live, the good news is that our life is more like a book than a short story.  It consists of chapters, with different settings, different subplots, different phases.  And thankfully each chapter also presents the opportunity to start anew, to not only move beyond the past but also the opportunity to start over.


photos by Jack Fussell

photos by Jack Fussell

What if someone were to tell you that you could change the world?  Would you want to do it?  Klaus Thomsen is a man who visited coffee farms after winning a barista championship and saw the destitute situation in which the farmers were living.  Compelled by their need, he decided to try to change the world of coffee beans. 

The Coffee Collective is one of Copenhagen's top cafes, but it isn't just famous to Denmark.  World renowned among coffee lovers, The Coffee Collective, is beloved because of it's initiative to change the lives of coffee farmers and the relationship between roasting and the consumer.  We recently sat down with Klaus Thomsen, one of the owners of Coffee Collective and shared a cup of coffee (of course) and heard more about this amazing company.

It’s difficult to talk about the Coffee Collective without talking about our focus on the farmers.
— Klaus Thomsen

What inspired you to start The Coffee Collective? "In 2006, I won the Barista world championship.  As a result of this I was able to travel to origin farms and was deeply moved by the lives and struggles that these farmers live with. I was able to leverage this influence to begin giving talks on the coffee industry, particularly how it relates to the life of the coffee farmers."

How did you to start The Coffee Collective? "During this time, three of my good friends and I were all working for the same coffee company.  We were all deeply involved in coffee with various levels of experience.  I was giving talks as a coffee expert but I was no longer growing as a barista and coffee lover. Soon after, the four of us began to talk and dream up a new company.  In 2007, we started the Coffee Collective roastery in a little shed near the airport. Then in early 2008, we opened our first Coffee Collective Cafe in Nørrebro." 

We also saw that something was fundamentally broken with the sourcing of coffee. The system is not beneficial to most farmers and we wanted to change this process with our company.

Klaus, what is the Coffee Collective? "We are a roastery, have three coffee shop locations, a wholesale business and also offer coffee education. Our purpose is to share our coffee experience with others in a way that increases income for our farmers." 

Our passion for the farmer is at the center of everything we do.

What is the strongest distinctive of The Coffee Collective? "Our goal is to move beyond fair-trade, cut out the middle man, and establish direct trade with the farmers we work with. We do pay a substantially higher price for the beans that we purchase but we’re also able to ensure that the quality is higher and that the money is going directly to the farmers. A vital part of this process is to establish a relationship with the farmers, so once a year we visit the farms and spend time with the farmers. We also post our purchase price on the consumer bags so that there’s accountability in our pricing. Our hope is that we can not only offer great coffee but also change the world. The majority of the coffee farms lie within the world’s poorest nations."

By utilizing direct trade we can directly influence some of the poorest economies globally. This is why we all look forward to work each day.

How has your story prepared you for this? "I grew up in the countryside on a family farm and have always appreciated the agricultural side of things.  I love seeing the connection between soil and table and how the two are truly interconnected.  When we came together to form the Coffee Collective it was vital that we shared these values and they are at the core of our business.  I have visited over 40 coffee farms since we started and each visit reaffirms that the soil side of coffee is just as important as the table or cafe side."

So, the real question that some of you may be asking now is, "Has he done it?  Has Klaus changed the world?"  The answer is yes.  By joining with three friends who shared his passion, Klaus has begun a revolution within the coffee world.  Not only have his farmers' lives been transformed by the increase in wages and education, but Klaus' passion is so great that is has spread among the coffee industry globally.  

We are absolutely encouraged by Klaus' initiative and passion.  Klaus came from a family of farmers and he has used his knowledge to make the world a better place.  That is pretty awesome. 

follow Coffee Collective here...

Trust your Instinct with Mikael Colville-Andersen

Mikael Colville-Andersen is one of the world’s leading experts on global urbanism.  He’s a photographer, cyclist and urbanite who travels the world delivering keynote addresses and consulting with cities all over the globe.  We became acquainted with Mikael a few years ago when we were researching what life is like in Copenhagen prior to our own move to the city and found his blog, Copenhagen Cycle Chic.  In addition to this blog he also leads the Copenhagenize Design Company, which consults with cities around the world about creating a cycling culture.

I didn’t start off wanting to launch a bicycle culture, I simply posted photos of normal life here in Copenhagen.

Where did Copenhagenize begin?  "To be honest it all started with one photo.  I took a photo one morning of an elegantly dressed woman on a bike in Copenhagen.  I didn’t think much about it but posted it to Flickr and the response was great.  People were intrigued with what a true cycling culture looked like.  A few months later I launched Copenhagen Cycle Chic just to post photos of people on their bikes.  The blog took off and has been named one of the top fashion and street style blogs. I didn’t start off wanting to launch a bicycle culture, I simply posted photos of normal life here in Copenhagen." 

"Soon after this I realized that people were talking about the cycling culture and it made me wonder, 'What makes a cycling culture?'" I did a few photo exhibitions around the world showing bicycles and this turned into keynote addresses.  Then our consulting firm, Copenhagenize Design Co., evolved as a way of helping other cities design their spaces for bicycles.  

Why do you think you’ve been so successful?  "I think it’s because I’m not an expert and I don’t approach it that way.  I’m trained as a film maker, not an engineer or urban planner.  My approach is simple, I live in a city that is bike friendly and it’s awesome.  I can speak to cities in a way that’s more approachable and is real.  I don’t care about arguing about bike rack design or boring details, I export and expose people to the beauty of a cycling culture."  

We’re showing how a 19th century invention solves a 21st century problem.

"We’re not selling the subculture side of cycling.  We show real people, wearing real clothes moving around the city on their bikes.  It’s about cycling but not about the cycling subculture.  It’s also about the environment but not in some facts and figures type of way that most people don’t connect to.  We’re showing how a 19th century invention solves a 21st century problem."

I’m able to present my ideas and thoughts without taking their response personally, and afterwards I hop on my bike and ride home.

How do you think you’re story has prepared you for this?  "I’ve always been allowed to think freely and I have a strong hunger for knowledge.  I’ve also always had a distrust of authority, not in like an illegal mugshot of way, but more like I’ll respect your authority as long as you can teach me something. I was raised to be curious and question things and to not really care what other people think about me. All of this has helped me.  Because I’m not trained as an urban planner, I don’t care if people don’t like my ideas.  I may not have all of the education of an urban planner but I join thousands of Copenhageners on their bikes daily, and it's awesome. I’m able to present my ideas and thoughts without taking their response personally, and afterwards I hop on my bike and ride home."

We are super grateful for Mikael's honesty.  It is so inspiring to hear from someone doing such amazing, globe-changing things who is still so incredibly down to earth about himself and his mission.  Sometimes we take ourselves far too seriously.  We must be mindful of who we allow to speak into our lives, realizing that someone with a big title doesn't always know better than us.  We must trust our instinct, and believe that when we are passionate about something, people will listen.  

You may not have all the education in the world, but when something is important to you, it is vital to be honest and vulnerable, and then be willing to simply ride away without looking back for the approval of others.