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A Learning Experience

I appreciate greatness. From ballet dancers, to professional athletes, to movie stars, to successful business owners, I appreciate those who have become great at what they do. Frequently, I read auto biographies of those who have become great - I watch videos about them. I want to understand - what makes them tick - what led them to succeed? 

No matter the discipline, the ingredient is always the same - fall in love with the process. 


A week and a half before I am slated to return to The States, I get a call from Ben. 

"Shane, the big roaster is making a loud screeching noise - it doesn't sound good?" 

Ben turns it on - and I hear it. 

"Ben, it's the front ball bearing. We need to order a new one." 

"Well, how do I install it when it comes in?" 

"I have no idea. But I know the man that will."

I send Ben my father's phone number. 


Three days later, Ben sends me a picture - it's a new front ball bearing. 

I send a text back - "Good work, King!" 

Thirty minutes goes by... No response. 

5 minutes later - I get a call.

It's Ben. 

"I was heating up the roaster and it made a loud screeching sound, then the drum started spinning counter clockwise." 

"Let the roaster cool down, then turn it off and turn it back on. The motor reversed polarity. This should fix it..." 

15 minutes later, Ben calls. 

"It reversed again."

"This isn't good, Ben. We may need to purchase a new motor. Something isn't right." 


I call the manufacturer of the roaster and tell them the dilemma. They confirm that we will need to purchase a new motor from our local Grainger dealer. 


I call Ben back and let him know the new motor will be in on Monday (it's Friday). 

"Okay, we can pick it up. But how do we install it?" 

"Ben, I have no idea. But I know the man that will." 

I call my father. 

"Hey, Dad. I think the motor that rotates the drum is messed up on the big roaster. I ordered a new one, and it will be in next week. But, I know it's going to be more complicated than the bearing. Would you be willing to help me install it next weekend when I get home?" 

"Of course. I'll be there next Saturday." 


I arrive at the Atlanta airport Saturday afternoon and meet my father at the roasting facility shortly thereafter. 

Like we have for over 24 years now, we dig in to the problem at hand together. While Dad admits to not feeling too comfortable with the electrical wiring process, we figure it out. We install the motor and replace the rear ball bearing on the machine as well. 


While I can talk about how, as a business, we have grown to face problems head on and have become resilient in the face of adversity, I'd be lying if I told you that this is the lesson I have taken from this experience. 

This experience has led me to reflect - to reflect on all those times when the sum of the whole was greater than the sum of the individual parts. 

From Arturo's knowledge of agriculture and willingness to share it and build a business. From Ben's willingness to sacrifice in the name of brotherhood and take on the responsibility of not only the financial sector of Z Beans but a willingness to never let us fail. From Carter's willingness to forego other opportunities after graduation and take on the responsibility of not only the operations of the coffee shops but a willingness to never let us fail. From Jessica's willingness to forego other opportunities after graduation and take on the responsibility of not only all marketing endeavors but a willingness to never let us fail. From the willingness of 35 other teammates who have sacrificed in the name of Z Beans... And from the willingness of my father to always have my back - to always be willing to help me when he knows I may be in over my head... 

I'm incredibly grateful. 


In every experience, there is a lesson to be learned. But, from this one, I've witnessed just how much I have to be thankful for. Together, we will forever overcome and achieve. Together, greatness is attainable. 


Here is to climbing even steeper mountains in the future. 

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