“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” - Lao Tzu
Sounds so simple, right? And yet, that first step was the hardest.
I had taken steps before toward being an innkeeper. Even before I pursued the hotel manager job a few years ago, I had taken a step several years prior when a mansion in the town where I was living at the time came on the market after years of being vacant. Although the house had some spectacular features, like pecan hardwood floors and screened sleeping porches, and was well set up for a B&B, including owner’s quarters, the task of bringing the house up to date and up to code was overwhelming—psychologically and financially.
Looking back, those attempts toward being an innkeeper were false first steps. I didn’t take my real first step until I consciously and with intention admitted to myself what I had known in my heart for a long time: I wanted to own a bed and breakfast and be an innkeeper. Not someday—but now.
I know that doesn’t sound like a big step or even a very difficult step. Revealing myself and my intention to the world at large has never been easy. For starters, I’m an introvert. I live on the inside a lot of the time. To make things more difficult, I have a loud, bossy inner critic, Ursula, who encompasses the choir of well-meaning but negative voices throughout my life.
Ursula is ever the pragmatist. The risk of making such a drastic change as owning a B&B scares the bejeezus out of her. Ursula wants me to play it safe and tow the cultural line. She harangues me day and night with her litany of doubts.
I have reasoned with Ursula. I have cajoled Ursula. I have flat out told her to shut the %*#@! up. But then I stopped negotiating and started to act. I took that first step, articulating my intention to be an innkeeper. Then I took another step. I attended the California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inn’s seminar, Innkeeping as a Profession. And so on.
With each step I took, each step got easier and led me to the next step. And with each step I took, Ursula got quieter (though she is never entirely silenced). Sure, she would prefer to see the path and know the outcome. That’s the beauty of a journey like this: The adventure and opportunities come from the mystery.
One of my favorite quotes reads: “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.”
I try not to get attached to the outcome because where I end up may not look anything like I think it will. I’d hate to miss out on something spectacular because it’s not what I was looking for—or thought I was looking for. So I continue on this journey bearing this sage wisdom in mind …
It’s worked for me so far.