One hotelier’s way to self discovery and ‘destress’.
Stephen W. Ayers, Author.
Carl Jung wrote those famous words with the blue background, and he was right. Take a minute to think about this quote, and how it relates to us hotel people. After many years in the industry I finally picked one word that best describes our frame of mind in the industry, and that word is ‘outgoing’.
Nearly everything we do every day is connected to that word. It is possible that some events that happen tell us a lot about ourselves, but even that is about how we go about solving problems, giving advice, mentoring and all the other actions we take during a day in the life of……….and it is again all ‘outgoing’.
Holding meetings, sitting with a colleague, talking to a guest, holding a meeting…..they are all ‘outgoing’ moments where you are, if you will, giving ‘out of yourself’. It is a one way street and it is all going one way, out. We are all so busy that there is never time to reflect on who we are on the inside, and I am not talking about our inner child. I leave that to the psychologists.
Nearly all of us go through life and never stop to think about that famous line, and basically deny ourselves that opportunity to see who we are on the inside.
I must admit that I never really thought about it until I found myself between jobs as GM and was literally going out of my mind, pacing around my home like a caged animal looking for something to do. It’s a bit like a racing driver going from 100kph to zero in a second.
It was then that my wife suggested writing a book, and I thought of that equally famous saying that there is a book in each of us. I still had not thought about the ‘other person’ in me until I actually sat down to try and pen my first thriller.
It was one of the best things I have ever decided to do, it was a veritable epiphany! I set myself free as I sat there in the study thinking about the plots, the protagonist, where the action takes place and all the other ideas in a book.
I once told a friend that writing was like taking a free trip to anywhere in the world, and especially to the places you have visited. It’s not only free but you do not have to move from your seat in the study!
You are now thinking inward, delving into your memory, thinking about how your protagonist thinks, and about how you think. Memories light up like Christmas trees as you relive events passed, and time flies as you discover your creative streak. Inevitably there is some of you in the protagonist, and as you write you unveil parts of yourself that you did not know before. You find that you see many of your character traits and find some of the truths that make up your personality.
You may think that I am a little ‘off the wall, but I can say that I did learn a lot about myself during those many hours and days that I sat at the desk writing the Jordan Kline Trilogy. I found the beginning of ‘the yellow brick road’, the start of self understanding that has brought about changes in me.
So many of my friends and colleagues that are in the hospitality industry have no time to indulge in hobbies, whatever they may be. Some make time for basketball, soccer, or other activity, but none of them led to better understanding of that second person in each of us.
My advice? Since you have asked for it I will tell you.
Set aside a couple of hours per week at the beginning and sit down alone in the quiet of your study and think about writing. You can write about anything you like. Perhaps think about an autobiography. Maybe a novel, a thriller, a romance. Now, many of you will say that you cannot write. I did not at first. I researched writing and read a lot and finally was ready to start.
I admit that I started writing to see at first if I could, and then if I could finish a book. But the important part of it was what I learned about myself, although I really enjoyed the exercise. As you write you cover the whole gamut of feelings from joy to despair, from writers block to a river of creativity. At times you want to give up and at times you write like crazy……………it’s all part of the journey. You can create all that you imagine, bring people to life and kill others off.
Don’t forget that writers today have the luxury of the computer, something that those that went before did not have, from the feather pen through the typewriter and to today.
So do yourself a favor and determine to write a book. Make time to let your inner self fly free. Do not give up, though that will also tell you something about yourself. Persevere, and you will find that it is a great exercise. You will set more time aside as you go on, and importantly, you will find out more about that second person inside.
I was not a writer, yet am immensely proud of having completed and self published two books and am currently writing the third thriller. Not bad for a long time GM!
I invite you all to explore the website for my books at www.stephenwayers.com
Good luck to those who decide to write. Take it from me, it was and is a great experience.