The Hustling Starbucks Guy, and the Choice of Urgency

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I went to Starbucks yesterday to get some writing done. I sat down and got to work, and didn’t buy anything. But it wasn’t long before I noticed a guy working there.

This was walking the floor (everywhere other than behind the counter) tidying up, refilling stuff and maintaining order. He was moving really fast, hustling, at the kind of speed that just isn’t normal for a worker at any job which I’ve seen.

My first instinct upon seeing this guy was that he was either

  1. Needing to go to the bathroom
  2. About to get off of his shift or go on break
  3. New, and trying to prove himself to the boss

After being in the Starbucks for an hour or two and seeing this hustlers interaction with fellow employees and customer alike, it became clear to me that he was not new (as he knew many of the customers, and he seemed to be doing a lot of cleaning up and organizing on his own initiative). He was also not trying to impress his superior; from what I could tell amongst the three people working at his time, he was the boss. And I never saw him go to the bathroom.

[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”h4″ animation=”none” background=”plain”]The Mirror Of Motivation: The Self-Guide To Self-Discipline[/dt_quote]

It crossed my mind to ask this hustling barista what was it that compelled him to move and work so urgently. But he was moving and working and getting things done (I even saw him get on his knees and scrub the floor – I’d never seen anyone do that in a Starbucks) so fluidly and quickly that I didn’t want to interrupt his flow. He appeared to be in a Zone – while still chatting up regular customers (in both English and Spanish) communicating with the other two employees behind the counter, and singing along to every pop song that played on the Starbucks speaker system.

This guy was impressive. His manner and hustle was the type of approach to work that anyone would hire him for, regardless of his qualifications to do the job. With an attitude for work like his (if indeed, he is always like this), the skills are secondary and a mere formality.

What about you? Way can you do to move yourself to have the same hustle and urgency this exceptional Starbucks employee has?

Have a reason that's bigger than the job. Click To Tweet

    1. Have a reason that’s bigger than the job. Though I didn’t speak to this worker, I can guarantee that if I asked him, he would attribute his hustle to something other than a simple blind devotion to Starbucks. Maybe he wants a to set an example for his co workers of children. Maybe he wants his customers to have a great experience.
      Whatever it is, it’s gotta be more than the green apron and hourly wage he receives.

    2. Make a conscious choice to move faster from task to task and to get each done more quickly. Watching this hustler, my first instinct was not about him – it was to question myself. Was I addressing my work at the pace and level of urgency that he was? Though he was doing manual labor and I was writing, a sedentary, low-movement job, the question still applies.
      When our minds or bodies get the spark to move fast and urgently, the other side – mind or body – follows. It really is that simple. Done often enough consciously, this idea becomes a habit, a way of being that you don’t even have to think about. 
    3. Repeats #s 1 & 2.


I will be going back to this Starbucks to see if this guy is really such a hustler all the time. Maybe yesterday was an aberration. If I see him hustling the same way, I’ll be sure to talk to him and find out why.

Hustle is not a talent. Click To Tweet

Hustle is not a talent. It’s not a gift from any spiritual deity. Hustle is a choice, often made unconsciously, by people who have a reason. We have all experienced it before, usually when we had to. The question is, can you choose to? And can you sustain that choice from day to day, task to task?

If you answer yes to those, you will stand out sooner than you think.