One thing you may get from this artlicle is a love of pasta. Another is a wonderful lesson in being human. Look for that quote about being the best street sweeper. It may be a little awkward, but go ahead and pat yourself on the back occasionally.
Last week I attended a conference for real estate lawyers up at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, Michigan. The setting was beautiful, the event was well-run, I made some great connections and I learned a lot. One of the best lessons, though, occurred at dinner one night when I was waiting at the "pasta action station."
There was a table with ingredients to be selected as you waited in line, at the end of which a chef would cook your individualized pasta dish while you watched. I selected a nice tortellini with sausage, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus spears in a vodka-cream sauce. Nice as it was, even more delightful was the chef. When I approached with my dish, I asked her how she was, and she replied- with enthusiasm and honesty- that she was "doing great, because I love cooking pasta, and isn't it wonderful to be doing something that you love?" It wasn't the response I was expecting, but naturally, I agreed!
I was reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well." Could such a street sweeper answer that call, though, if he did not love sweeping streets? I doubt it.
Lots of people do love their jobs, I think, but I have never met someone who made such an open and immediate acknowledgment of such love as my pasta chef. Far from being put off, rather, I was drawn in. Believing that she truly loved to cook pasta, how could I not help but enjoy a meal that was a product of love? Whether it was a psychosomatic effect or not, her emotion went into every bite I ate, and it was delicious.
I love my job. I really do enjoy soliciting people to work with Stewart Title and helping them close their commercial real estate deals. I take tremendous pride and satisfaction in my role. But, when it comes to my own enthusiasm, I realize- like many transactional attorneys- I have probably been playing my emotional cards too close to my vest. I am confident my colleagues would say I am personable and competent, but if asked, I don't know if their first response to why they work with me would be, "Because he loves title insurance." And that's what I learned from the pasta incident- If I make a greater point to share my passion, would my clients have a better experience? I believe they will. So, for that lesson, my compliments to the chef!