Connecting to Our Guests, Our ‘Calling’

A short time ago we found a very nice card left for us by a couple with an even nicer note inside. It was really uplifting in its message, partly because it was so flattering as it declared they had “a stellar experience” with “care and attention to detail unmatched in our travel experience”. Of course it’s always nice to feel appreciated whether it’s by your spouse, family, friends, or – in our line of business – guests. A little further down in the message there was an even more insightful comment that said, “We have not been gifted or called to be innkeepers, but you obviously have been. You serve so well!”

This comment made us think about our previous jobs as vocational rehabilitation counselors in Pennsylvania. We always counseled our clients to prioritize their job search in the order of: 1)qualification (is training or education needed, and/or would your functional physical or mental limitations interfere with the necessary job tasks?), 2)interest or desirability (would you be happy doing this work day in and day out?) and finally 3)income (does the job pay well enough to satisfy your financial needs?). Notice we put the money question last after the desirability question because it’s so much more important that a person likes what they’re doing than if they’re making a lot of money doing it. Of course, if you can have both of these benefits in your job, all the better! But we often cautioned our clients that someone who works primarily for the money, probably does not like his or her job very much. Over time this will eat away at the person with the end result being a well-off, but unhappy worker.

So the idea of a “calling” appeals to us. The couple who wrote this note probably enjoys their life’s work, too, or they wouldn’t be so keenly aware of this issue. The B&B “business” is one that we’ve often told our guests (when they ask) is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’. But it is a labor of love and it is, truly, our calling. It is a lot of hard work, but the payoff is in seeing our guests enjoying themselves here, and leaving refreshed and, maybe, happier and less stressed than when they arrived. Of course we also love our ‘home’ and find it hard to imagine living somewhere else. Our favorite spot (like it is for many of our guests) is our porch. Every chance we get, we try to enjoy this area with all its quiet splendor. In fact, the guests who wrote that nice note, finished with this: “We have discovered and named “porching” (the verb) as our new favorite pastime.” We couldn’t have said it better!

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