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20 Under 40: Allison Carroll

Allison Carroll
Allison Carroll

Age: 35

Business: Monks Coffee Shop

Job Title: Owner

Why are you working in this industry? 

Simply put: I love coffee, and I love the incredible sense of community that can be created around coffee. Nothing else I’ve encountered has quite the same ability as a good cup of joe to foster moments of genuine connection between people and moments of honest self-reflection within oneself; coffee quietly connects us to each other and ourselves, and few other things have become so subtly and uniquely key to the rhythm of our lives. It’s truly amazing to have a hand in providing a space where so much life happens and so much community is forged.

What are three daily habits that have helped you to become successful?

I have found that the habits that exert the most meaningful influence over my success are the mental habits I revert to when I’m not consciously directing my thought processes (i.e., when my brain goes on autopilot). Three mental habits I’ve cultivated that have served me extremely well over time are to:

1. Be honest with myself in all things
2. See every situation from as many sides as possible
3. Predict, to the best of my ability, the second, third and fourth order consequences of potential actions or decisions

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Ask better questions. Whether you’re solving a problem, making a decision, interrogating your own perceptions, or just trying to understand the world in front of you (and anything in between)…the quality of your questions will determine the quality of your thinking, and the quality of your thinking can have an immense impact on your life and the lives of those around you. It is important to be intentional about making that impact as positive as possible.

What was the most significant hurdle you had to overcome to get where you are? How would you address this hurdle today?

My own tendency to buy in to the subconscious, limiting beliefs I presented to myself on a regular basis. I never knowingly decided these beliefs had any basis in reality or were worth considering (and most of the time I wasn’t even aware of their existence!), but they were quietly operating in the background and made progress much slower, more painful and more exhausting than it otherwise might have been…like riding a bike with the handbrake on. Thoughts like “I’ll never be good enough to be capable of…” and “Who am I to want…?” and “It’s impossible to…” had me functioning from a place of fear and doubt without me even realizing it.

Limiting beliefs are still an obstacle I frequently encounter (they’re sneaky little buggers!), but armed with increased awareness and self-knowledge, I am better equipped to confront them in a healthier, more productive way. Today, I am intentional about proactively ferreting out as many as I can to bring them into the light of consciousness; once there, I try my best to honestly assess their merit. If a belief is unjustified, I will look for and remind myself of all the evidence that refutes its message, but if a belief has some basis in fact, I will get to work filling in the gaps and actively acquiring the skills, knowledge, and mindsets I might need to take my next step.

What is an accomplishment that shaped your career?

I believe the accomplishment that most profoundly shaped my career happened a long time ago, when I earned my first promotion at the corporate coffee chain I worked at right out of college. That advancement granted me invaluable access to knowledge and experience I might not have otherwise received, gave me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes in a supportive environment and provided new challenges that both kept me interested in the industry and fostered a continued desire to learn. But perhaps most importantly, learning how to handle the responsibilities my new role required taught me skills and mindsets that I’m still using and building on to this day.

Describe yourself in one word:


If you were to give one piece of advice to someone starting out in your field what would it be?

Never. Stop. Learning. Every job, every situation, every position, every interaction, every moment is an opportunity to glean something valuable that can help you grow and succeed. There is always something new to learn, a greater degree of understanding to achieve, a deeper level of insight to attain, an existing mindset to hone, a new skill to acquire…growth stops at the edge of learning, and we are well-served when we remain curious and pursue knowledge with intentionality.

Community, civic, professional, business, religious, social and other organizations of which you have been a member and/or leader:

Abilene Downtown Association, president ; Abilene Chamber of Commerce, board member; Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, board member; KACU Community Advisory Board; Mozart Society steering committee; Leadership Abilene 2018; Abilene Young Professionals; Specialty Coffee Association; Minter Park Visioning Committee.

Your family:

My husband of six years, Jonathan.

20 Under 40 is an awards program from the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, conducted with the Abilene Reporter-News, to recognize local business leaders under the age of 40 who make a positive impact on the community. We are proud of our alumni who have been recognized for 2019.
Read about the other ACU alumni honorees

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