Not Your Average Cup of Joe!
In the festive spirit of self-development, we decided to donate self-development books to the homeless. We chose Quaker Homeless Action in London in place of us sending chocolates and cards to the wider MBM team. Our next job for us was finding the right book. After some research, we came across Not Your Average Cup of Joe by Joseph Braithwaite. Joseph’s story was captivating, very inspiring and we felt that this would be a good choice for the readers.
Read this interview to find out why we chose Joseph’s book, Not Your Average Cup of Joe:
What inspired you to write Not Your Average Cup of Joe?
20+ years ago, I was living in the streets and trying to find a way to progress forward. When I looked back after 20 years, I continued to see the same people I interacted with from the street in the same situations. They hadn’t moved forward. When I asked them why, the common response was ‘I don’t know how. And I don’t believe I can do anything else’. Heart-breaking that people can feel that way for so many years. A lack of inspiration hope and belief in themselves. So I wrote the book, not because I have all the answers, but because I believe providing a starting point for those who want to change is the way to touch more lives, make more changes while not being preachy or trying to push a 12-step program onto people.
Can you tell me about the book?
I wrote the book in a candid, straight-talking format, I believe in being upfront and calling out the challenges we have, not to make us feel bad, but to get them exposed so we can start to act against them. I wrote the book, weaving my life story, the life challenges of many celebrities, all with a reflection of mindset, how we see situations, and how we can change our actions to change the outcome.
What did you learn when writing Not Your Average Cup of Joe?
Well, the process isn’t easy, it’s not cheap, and it makes you reflect on your life choices at a whole different level. You can’t provide guidance without having lived the situations and reflecting on the time you lived those situations bring back some unpleasant memories.
What surprised you the most?
How far I have grown as an individual, how much my coaching style has helped others and how most people are so focused on themselves, they miss opportunities to, with a small gesture, make a huge positive impact on someone’s life.
What does the title ‘Not Your Average Cup of Joe’ mean?
None of us is average at everything. We all have strengths that make us unique. Having an ‘Average’ mindset is what reduces our self-esteem, stops us from looking at ‘what could be’ and keeps us mired in the ‘what is.’ When we get to this point, we have lost hope, and there is nothing worse than to be living a life without hope.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Forty-six years to develop the content, six months to write-it and seven months to edit, polish and publish. I would have a very different book if I had written it ten years ago, so the introspective of my experiences is where most of the story and content come from.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I had the same dreams as other kids here in Canada…NHL hockey player, Fireman, cop…then I got my first taste of leadership and couldn’t stop wanting more. When you find something you love, it’s like an addiction, and no amount of whatever it is can satiate your appetite for it.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never wanted to be a writer and I consider myself someone who wrote a book, not a writer of books. I wrote the book to help others, not to fill some holes in my soul or to check off another element on my bucket list.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Several have made me cry because of how dry or poorly develop the plot lines are, but to create an emotional connection and make me cry must be books about World War II and the horrors that so many suffered through.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Good weather. If the sun is shining through the window, I find it difficult to focus on writing as I would rather be outside doing something physical. I write a lot a night to help avoid my kryptonite.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Pay attention to what older people are saying and doing. You can learn about the pitfalls of life from their experiences. I don’t mean I wouldn’t fall into the same pitfalls I did but having some knowledge sooner can never hurt.
What was an early experience that helped you learn that language had power?
When I was in school, I learned that it’s not just the words being said that can change minds and lives, but how they are said — the structure behind the meaning, the reflection of how the words work together to support the message. If we tell someone how to do something they can perform the task and check the box that they have completed whatever task it was; if we tell someone how to do the task and ‘why’ it’s being done, the person can then complete the task, but also provide insights into how they see improvement opportunities…we gain so much more by sharing knowledge, and the choice of ‘how’ we share is more important than the ‘what’ we share.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do. I ask everyone to provide a candid view of what they thought because I want others to decide if they want to purchase the book based on what others think, not just what I think. All reviews are good. Either I can learn from what someone did or didn’t like, I can expand on a thought to explain ‘why’ something was written, or I can focus on how different demographics might interpret the information in different ways which help when I’m talking about the book at its potential impact on different people at different points in their lives.
What are your favourite literary journals?
I read a lot of newspapers and research-based materials (Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review), and I watch a lot of ‘TED Talks’ as I see their insight from a different avenue helpful in helping me form opinions and directions.
We want to thank Joseph for supporting our project.
If you would like to donate £5 for Christmas, please follow https://www.makingbusinessmatter.co.uk/product/christmas-gift-donation/
We will purchase self-development books to send to Quaker Homeless Action on Your behalf. The page will be updated every month with how much was raised & what books were sent.