Why Hospitality is So Hard (And What You Can Do About It)
Why Hospitality’s So Hard (And What You Can Do About It)
Why in the world do we think having people over and being welcoming is so dang hard?
Perhaps because it really is. Or, at least, we’ve made it to be.
We go into every season and situation with expectations of how it’s going to look, what it’s going to feel like, how we’re going to be treated, how things are going to unfold, and how we’re going to react.
We think college is going to be better than high school because it affords us additional freedom and opportunities.
We think Christmas is going to be great because everyone gets to come together and share in the joy of the holidays.
We think married life will be so much better and richer than single life because we won’t be lonely anymore.
We think that moving to a new place will be an adventure and a chance to redefine ourselves.
We don’t anticipate the struggles, the challenges, the unforeseen obstacles that come with every change, event, situation, or season.
Of course there are beautiful things in life and positives to every season and situation, but we often go into certain events with our own expectations set incredibly high, and that can set us up for additional disappointment.
When we think everything’s going to be picture-perfect or go perfectly according to our plans, we create more stress for ourselves in trying to make them go that way.
Instead, we can set more realistic expectations, hoping for the best and preparing for the hiccups that might occur along the way, focusing on the most important things and being willing to let go of the rest.
We live in the age of rampant Internet usage and Pinterest comparison. Between the things everyone is sharing on Instagram and the picture-perfect creations filling our feeds on Pinterest, we’re simply inundated with unrealistic expectations for what everything in our lives “should” look like.
Not only do we compare ourselves to our friends and neighbors, but to people all across the world who live in different seasons of life and circumstances— and people gifted with different skills!
Of course our tables aren’t going to be as wonderful-looking as a professional chef’s, our outfits not as stylish as a designer’s. We aren’t those people, and we don’t have to be!
Let’s choose to embrace who we are, lean into our strengths, and be okay with not having to be the best.
Doing so will free us up to embrace and cherish what we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t.
TRYING TO IMPRESS
From our table settings to our invitations to our menus to our outfits, we feel like we don’t measure up or get to count anything a success unless it’s as good as someone else’s— or better.
We’re just comparing and trying to measure up.
We’re trying to impress.
But the holidays aren’t about impressing people.
They’re about connecting with people.
Do you see the difference?
Impressing seeks to come out on top.
Connecting seeks to meet people where they’re at.
Impressing looks to be the best.
Connecting looks to be with others, evening the playing field.
Impressing is us-focused.
Connecting is others-focused.
Let’s prioritize connections over impressions this season.
TRYING TO DO ALL THE THINGS
Welcoming others into our lives and homes is also difficult because we feel pressurized to do all the things. We think we have to prepare guest rooms, make all the meals from scratch, plan a full itinerary, take time off from work to entertain, host parties, and essentially become cruise directors for our own homes and towns.
But what our people really want is us. They want some time with us, but they don’t care how they spend it.
What’s most important to you in this season? How do you really want to spend your time?
What’s most important to your guests?
Identify a top three, and then go from there. Feel free to say “no” to the rest in order to make more room for the things you’re saying “yes” to. I promise you you’ll enjoy it more than if you tried to do all the things!