Established in 2011, the Fat Bean Coffeehouse provided its customers with a warm welcome, delicious latte, and a cozy environment that felt like a home away from home. Within months of opening its doors, “The Bean” became a weekend destination for musicians from surrounding towns, states, and sometimes even other countries.
On weekdays The Bean elegantly transformed itself into a gathering place for professionals, parents and children, and friends–new and old. The bustling drive through offered a friendly convenience for nine-to-five commuters in search of a fresh brew.
I single-handedly built this little crowned jewel of the community, and it was the biggest mistake of my life.
After ending a career of 24-years behind the scenes at NBC 5 Chicago, I sorely needed a sense of belonging in my community of 13 years. The demands of my job and a three-hour round-trip commute kept me from feeling at home in Naperville, where my children and I lived. The joys (and terrifying realities) of single parenthood absorbed whatever personal time remained in my hectic schedule.
So, to make this beautiful southwest suburb of Chicago feel more like home, I did what any level-headed, career-focused single parent would do. I opened an independent coffeehouse in a town with a Starbucks on every other street corner.
I had responsibly set aside enough money for living and unanticipated business expenses to cover three years. What remained of my savings was a still generous amount for retirement; I was truly blessed. What could go wrong?
Something went very wrong. Eleven short days after my grand opening, American Airlines Flight 11: a Boeing 767 aircraft, departed Logan Airport at 7:59 a.m. en route to Los Angeles, with five hijackers on board. They flew the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:46 a.m.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 destroyed lives, crushed the hearts of a nation, and devastated our economy. Certainly, no one had coffee on their minds, but only wished to be surrounded by family in the safety of their own homes. Over the next year, my dwindling portfolio became drained by the unanticipated cash infusions needed to keep doors open at The Fat Bean.
Nonetheless, I held on for four years. I had lost everything but my house and even that was under threat of foreclosure. However, I was left with three things that no one could take away from me: My beautiful teenaged daughters, my health, and my spirituality. And, soon, I would learn about a fourth thing that was mine to keep.
During my time at The Fat Bean, I felt uncertain and lonely. No one else could possibly understand my plight. I didn’t know what my next steps should be, and I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and yes, petrified for the future of my family.
In 2003, a kind customer asked if I’d like to meet his business coach. Yes, please. I’d never heard of business coaching, but it wasn’t long before I signed on the dotted line. At that moment, I felt my heavy burden lift to make room for hope. I now had someone in my corner who got it and was vested in my success. Little did I know that this decision would not save my coffeehouse, but it would lead to the discovery of my passion and purpose.
Before meeting my coach, Steve, I felt like a failure and deeply regretted my choice to open a coffeehouse. I soon realized that, although I went through my life savings and suffered four years of heightened anxiety and stress (mixed with many joyful experiences), I gained more than I’d lost.
It was that fourth thing: a newly formed passion for helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. I was here to use this experience and my gifts of compassion, intuition, and leadership to help others learn from my mistakes. What I wanted more than anything in this world was to become a coach for entrepreneurs.
As business picked up, a buyer for the coffeehouse appeared out of nowhere. However, the meager sum that came from the purchase was a world away from covering my debt.
Still, I completed the sale of my beloved Fat Bean and took on a few consulting jobs to make ends meet. During that time, Steve mentored me through my coach training. I attended a school of metaphysics for three years. I earned certifications in the modalities that would assist me, and my future clients, in transforming from a state of fear and overwhelm to a life of happiness and success.
I no longer view The Fat Bean as a tragic mistake because, today, I couldn’t be happier. It was an essential stepping stone to my life’s passion and the most rewarding career anyone could ever hope for. Today, the Fat Bean represents heart-warming memories, laughter, and the invaluable wisdom gained from being exactly where I was meant to be at the time.