I find myself more and more often making casual observations, and sometimes intentional choices, around a central question, these days: what is my eventual Dream Job?
Don’t get me wrong, my current role is satisfying, challenging, and allows me to provide for my family. I am grateful for it.
The point, however, is that it is not “what I love.” I freely acknowledge that the hobbies and pursuits of my earlier years have come and gone, and that continuing to follow some of those would have probably resulted in my ending up a very different person (part-time Itamae, part-time martial arts instructor, and, yes, simultaneously, part-time executive protection specialist does not leave one with much stability…or sanity). What I know is that my love of the outdoors has endured, my Fly Fishing interest has bordered on obsession, and my desire to eventually at least have the option to disconnect from technology for periods of time has steadily grown. More importantly, my better half (by far) also shares these with me…although she does not yet know that she loves Fly Fishing (Don’t tell her, please. Might keep her from trying it).
So, I find myself now noticing things like the difference in the feel of a free-standing wood stove vs. a full stone fireplace. No, not just the heat produced in the short-term, or that stored in the structure for later and gradual release, or even the tactile sensation of the materials. I also mean the atmosphere and ambiance of the room in which it resides, and how the stove or fireplace helps to create this.
As I travel for work, or for pleasure, I am noticing more and more the layout of hotels and the effect subtle changes can have on flow and impressions. The line of sight, and what it does or does not include, can set the tone for one’s satisfaction just like a person either capitalizing on or squandering the opportunity for a first impression. The feel of each structure is as unique as a personality, even when staying with brands that attempt to provide a level of uniformity.
I spent more than 10 years working for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and like to think I picked up a good deal of useful experience from being successful in that environment. One of the most important concepts I took away is that the people make the experience, the setting merely provides the background. A committed team, that loves what they are doing, can make an amazing experience out of the ordinary.
These things keep recycling in my thoughts, as I have been collecting books on lodge cooking, log construction, successful fishing operations, and similar, related topics. What I thought at first was an exercise in planning for possible fishing trips has clearly shifted gears, and is now the distinct idea of perhaps…someday…providing those experiences for others.
In one phase of this realization, I became concerned about finding a combination of attributes that would maximize occupancy, seeking qualities in the examples I found that could possibly be shared contributors to success. I know that this industry has a high fail rate, and wanted to find a plan that could provide an advantage in longevity. Eventually, I realized that this was unnecessary. What I truly needed to focus on were those qualities that made me the most comfortable, the most relaxed, and the most fulfilled. The guests would come and go, hopefully returning, but I (and those in this with me) would be there more than anyone.
If we don’t love it, it will not be a dream, after all.