Riehlife: Theo, do you have a spiritual path you follow? Does this come into play with your view of guest service?
Theo: When I was growing up in White Plains, New York, my parents often took us to different types of religious service, from Presbyterian to Catholic, 7th Day Adventists to readings of the Torah. They took us to Buddhist services even; but they were no Hippies, either.
Plus –and you’ll think I’m lying– I believed in Santa Claus until I was 13 years old; and yes, it was a bit embarrassing that my 8-year old little sister had to be the one to tell me My parents thought the whole time that I was just playing along REALLY well! You probably already figured I had been writing my answers down stream-of-conscious-style so that Santa story just kind of…slid out.
Nevertheless, I learned at a fairly young age that every one of these belief systems shared the values of “first, do no harm”, “help your neighbors as you would hope they’d help you” and strive to remain a positive influence in whatever situation one might find one’s self in. Even prophets and deities were often shared. All this made actually a lot more sense than Santa Claus ever could, looking back.
Wow…I never thought about the “spiritual connection” in those terms until this very moment, reading that last paragraph back to myself. (Aa brief pause while I experience my own “ah-HA” moment…WHOA. Nice question.)
Now that I am thinking about it, I am suddenly entertaining the distinct possibility that those spiritual lessons —in conjunction with my 20+ years in the hotel industry and after traveling the world quite a bit myself— may well have something to do with my view of guest services. It could even have everything to do with it. I just never thought to explain it to anyone else, let alone myself.