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Why "Comebacks" Are Meaningful to Refill

Hi there, it's Adam. If you've ever arranged for Refill Coffee Cart to provide Caffeinated Catering at your event, workplace, or wedding, we've likely met.

You may notice in our social media posts, & on some of our merchandise, we mention "comebacks", in the context of making a comeback, this comeback will be beautiful, believe in comebacks, etc.. The fascination I have with comebacks started with my love of competitive sports, & my habit of self-talk.

As I understand it, self-talk is that voice in your head that you sort of have a conversation with throughout the day. Starting in 2013, my mentor urged me to practice positive self-talk. At the same time, my intrigue with the public persona of a professional fighter named Chael Sonnen grew. Chael's confidence in his abilities & boldness in his predictions about his performance is incredibly entertaining to me. Chael was broadcasting his positive self-talk to the sports world, while I felt foolish even repeating my self-talk in my head. I was struggling to think to myself "be good, be good at it, grind this work out" at my office, while Chael was describing his upcoming fight as a "one-sided pounding" where he would be "swinging the hammer" to a room full of sports journalists.

Part of what I identified with in Chael was that he was not a dominant competitor who only knew victory. I certainly experienced things other than victory at work, often. Chael, however, was able to move past his losses, focus on his attributes, & work on making progress in the next challenge. I thought about my losses constantly & often kept the hurt of losing so fresh in my mind that I was scared I might have to deal with that hurt in my next meeting, phone call, or business trip.

As a professional fighter, Chael challenged for a WEC & UFC World Championships 4-times & lost all 4-times. Chael handled losses with humor, with honesty about the pain it caused him (physically & mentally), & even then, still proudly declared that his talents are worth money, attention, & respect. I stumbled on my words during a business meeting, remained embarrassed all day, & believed that this was surely the proof my co-workers needed that I didn't belong in the company.

In August 2014, a submission grappling event was being organized, & there was a grappler booked to be part of the event named Andre' Galvao, that had no opponent. I read that it was a challenge to get Andre' an opponent at that moment because Andre', a highly respected 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, was also a 7-time submission wrestling world champion. It appeared to me that no one was agreeing to grapple with Andre, until 4 weeks out from the event, Chael agreed. Chael had no belt, no rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, & had won 0 submission wrestling world championships.

In a short documentary leading up to the submission grappling event, Chael explained that he told his coaches, "I had no belt in Jiu-Jitsu, within a week I need to be a black belt, within 3 [weeks] I need to be the best in the world." I was so influenced that Chael would accept a challenge, that my logic deduced he had no chance of winning. Not only did Chael accept the challenge, he put himself in the very uncomfortable position of learning new skills, & inserting himself into a competition where onlookers are expecting him to lose. It was so inspiring, & remains inspiring, because I'm afraid to be embarrassed. Trying to learn something that I'm not naturally good at embarrasses me, losing embarrasses me.

Chael didn't win against Andre' Galvao. The match had a 20 minute time limit, & Chael was submitted around minute 14. After the match Chael tweeted "I remain undefeated". That tweet is important to me. After I read it, I started chasing some thoughts about how I could handle losing, & how I could learn to have the courage to accept a challenge that seems like it would only offer me defeat. For the first time as an adult, I started to think that I needed to be open to losing, & willing to make a comeback. To not just lose, then quit, & find something safer to work on, but be willing to lose, make a comeback, lose again, make a comeback, learn something, & find something in this process that I could turn into a win. I needed to be mature enough & poised enough to realize that losing didn't mean that my effort at work wasn't meaningful. Instead, my effort, even though it didn't amount to the outcome I was daydreaming about, could help me gain experience & skills that I could transfer to my next pitch or my next project. My effort could help me accumulate the professional acumen that I needed to make a comeback.

The creation of Refill Coffee Cart was part of a comeback for me. Starting in 2017, Refill began serving in 5 different office buildings per week. As I got to know the people at these offices, I heard some anecdotes that I empathized with about sales pitches that went poorly, disappointing feedback from superiors, & self doubt. We picked the name Refill, partly, because when we serve you, we want you to feel refilled, & a little bit renewed. We want the service, the conversation, & the drinks to make you happy & for it all to be fun. Remembering that & empathizing with some of these work scenarios, I wondered if I wasn't the only one trying to piece together a comeback. After that, on Refill's social media accounts, we began to share bits of my self-talk about making a comeback, about turning the day around, & about learning to be resilient.

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