Ever been in a touristy area where you were bombarded with restaurant staff doing their best dance to get your into their establishment? Often, they start with their own version of “hello,” and then quickly make their way to, “Come eat?”
The first couple of times, saying, “No, thank you,” is no big deal. But after a while it gets annoying, and you start avoiding their side of the road.
Even still, one lady in Sorrento, Italy, called out across the road to us, “Hey girls, what are you doing?” Apparently, she thought this approach would work better than her usual of, “Come and eat girls?”
“We’re going for a walk,” I responded, avoiding eye contact and continuing in the direction of the shops.
“Well, stop walking and come eat,” she commanded, as if such a tactic might actually work. And it did, just not to her advantage. It literally made me stop and think—If you have to beg us to eat there, your food probably isn’t very good.
From that moment forward, we avoided any restaurant with staff trying to lure us in, and used Trip Advisor as our guide. Interestingly, the restaurants we found through our searches were so busy making delicious food and taking care of their customers that they didn’t need someone on the streets luring people in.
The reality of this experience got me thinking—Where do I spend time begging in my life, and why? It didn’t take long to begin seeing where I have unknowingly begged—friendships, customers, appreciation, opportunities and even love.
There’s a distinct difference between asking and begging. The artist painting in the middle of the piazza in Aci Castello—a small town just outside of Catania, Italy—demonstrated the art of asking when she put the painting I was eyeing into my hands. Not ready to buy yet, I thanked her, put it down and walked away. Unable to get her passionate energy and beautiful artwork out of my mind, I found my way back to the piazza the next night and joyfully watched as she painted the picture I took home.
Beyond the painting, I bought her confidence, passion, and love of the craft. She’s in business to make money, but ultimately it was her unbridled love for her work that lured me back out late into the evening as I watched her masterpiece come to life. It was an experience I will remember for a lifetime and a lesson that will stay with me forever.
Customers, friends, and moments of appreciation come and go, but our passion and love for our craft (and ourselves) grows in proportion to the attention we give it. While we’ll never be able to control whether or not people like, appreciate, or pick us for the opportunity, we get to control the time and effort put into sharing our passion, while learning to trust that the right people will come and the wrong ones will go. As one social media expert once said, “The people who want your stuff, want your stuff.”
The idea is simple and incredibly instructive. Rather than waste time begging people to pick you, focus, focus, focus on strengthening your confidence as you share your passion. People buy confidence because it’s unique and tasty.
By focusing on making delicious dishes and creating a unique eating experience, these restaurants wind up with excellent reviews and attracting even more customers who want the very experience they love to offer. The best chefs, artists, sales professionals, speakers, engineers and the like, love their craft and they want to share it with the world. Do you?
Consider joining me in taking on this challenge for 1 year: focus your time and energy on loving the work you do and asking for opportunities to do more of the work you love. Show up, give your best, acknowledge yourself, appreciate the lessons you’ll undoubtedly encounter, and watch as you become the one with rave reviews and a line up of opportunities knocking on your door.
Here’s to your greatness,
P.S. If you’d like to attract the NFL players of your industry and aren’t sure where to begin, check out my latest book.