News flash: I’m not the boss of the world.
I know you know that. Most of the time I know that, too. The problem is, sometimes a tiny little piece of me really wants to believe I can control the way things go.
When a guest comes into our restaurant, I want them to love what we do and feel taken care of. To be honest, there’s a tiny piece of me that cross-my-fingers hopes that all the hard work everyone puts into our food and service will somehow change someone’s life.
But every day, I have to remind myself that how things work out in this world is not up to me.
How people perceive the things is entirely up to them. No matter how hard I try, I can’t sway the perceptions of others with my passion, commitment, and East coast willpower. I’m an Aries (read: ram mentality) and the first born of a Massachusetts family, so believe me when I tell you I’ve been trying to exert my will on everyone and everything for years.
The problem with my earnest, heart-felt customer service is that sometimes it backspins. It can hit customers the wrong way. In my earnestness to help I may come across as annoying, or worse, bossy. I may tell a guest something that looks and feels like a YES–but it may come across as a giant NO to them. There are days when my desire to get things right goes awry and the people I work with end up feeling more stomped on then helped.
Being the boss of me
It wasn’t until rather recently that I began to understand that my desire to help and my need to control outcomes was making me–and sometimes the people around me–very unhappy. When people didn’t understand what I was doing for them or to them, I got hurt, defensive, and overbearing. I tried harder to make people understand that my way was the best way rather than try to understand where they were coming from.
There were days when I felt like I was losing the battle in giving great service. I knew something was off. I knew I needed to change the way I did things.
For me, the first step in giving up control is having faith that everything will work out, as it should. I’m learning that if I want to be happy in my life and in my work, I have to accept the results as they come. And boy, is that a hard one.
Luckily, I have a lot of great people around me who are helping me get to a place of acceptance and surrender. These people–my committee, I like to call them–coach me to look at how I can work on myself and leave all the people, places, and things around me alone.
I have to stop making my will to get the things I want the largest factor in the equation of service. In order to be of service to others, my will can’t be bigger than other peoples’. I have to turn the greater than symbol towards love and compassion and put myself on the small side.
So I may or may not be able to make you happy when you come into my restaurant or you come to this website to read what I have to say. The thing I have to keep reminding myself is that As It Should doesn’t always look like How I Want. Everybody hates bad customer service. But customer service isn’t as pretty when it’s delivered like a sledge hammer.
“We should realize that this event [of eating and being fed, is a ritual]…The whole thing of compassion comes in there. What helped me was waking up and thinking of my penny catechism: “to know, to love, to serve God.” I don’t think of God as up there. I think of God as right here in whatever I’m knowing and loving and serving…”