11 June 2008

upside-down lattes

Have you ever had an upside-down latte?

It's basically a normal latte, except that the shots of espresso are added last, dropped on top of the otherwise finished product. It looks a lot like the drink in the photo, which happens to be iced.

Almost every time I've ordered it recently, I encounter a bewildered look from my barista. I then take about 10 seconds to explain what it is I'm looking for and why I want it that way and something clicks and they say, "Ohhh, Ok".

Its like they just needed to know the context to understand. They just needed to have that common ground established.

I think so many of our efforts to change (and be the change to) this world get derailed when we fail to establish the commonality between conflicting ideas. Whatever our ideas are - world peace, alternative fuels, a faith journey - we fail to gain traction with our audience because we fail to meet them at that comfortable place to take them to the next, much less comfortable, level of understanding. To say it another way, we end up trying to catapult them to the mountaintop when they haven't even bought their climbing gear.

Remember, the barista looks confused until I explain that its just a latte with shots on top.

Maybe we should live like upside-down lattes. Same ingredients, different order. Enough change to stir the imagination of others...enough commonality to allow them the freedom to try it for themselves.

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