Todd and I have stayed at several B&Bs this year. I love that every inn is a reflection of the folks who own and operate them—from the ambiance and décor to the food and level of service. From these experiences, I have crafted a lengthy list of what I want to provide our guests. And that’s what I had planned to elaborate on in this post—a wish list, of sorts. But then I started thinking about beliefs.
First it started with Oprah’s recent #beliefstories campaign in anticipation of her documentary series Belief. There was even an applet where you could enter three words for what you believe (see photo above).
A week or so later, an article by Gretchen Rubin crossed my path. In it, she talks about how identifying her beliefs helps her to live up to them. They help shape her writing projects, because each subject has its own set of core truths.
Not long after, I was walking our dog McKenna one afternoon, noodling my B&B wish list in the back of my mind between “heel” and “sit” commands. Then something interesting happened. Those wishes metamorphosed into beliefs. Before I knew it, three words rose to the surface of my consciousness; beliefs that will serve as the core truths for me and our inn. Present. Authentic. Open.
Present. For me, this means being present for our guests—providing a warm welcome, cooking a delicious breakfast, making recommendations—really, anything I can do to make their visit more enjoyable. I’ve stayed at a couple B&Bs where there wasn’t an innkeeper on site. Although the properties were very nice, the experience was a bit cold and empty feeling. It also means being present to our needs as innkeepers to ensure we're taking care of ourselves, too. Otherwise, we're of no use to our guests.
Authentic. Something I read in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic, brings me solace when I fall victim to thoughts of “compare and despair.” You don’t need to be original, because that’s often forced and contrived. You just need to be authentic. As long as I remember to be true to myself and ensure that our B&B is a reflection of who we are, the right guests will be drawn to us.
Open. Whether it’s the journey of finding and funding or owning and operating our B&B, it means staying open to whatever possibilities come our way and being receptive to what wants to be. Even changing the focus of this post was being open to a new possibility.
I find comfort in is these guiding principles. They will keep me on track and help me to identify the right decisions as opportunities come along.