A Magical Path

A Magical Path

Growing up we are all exposed to amazing people from all walks of life — sports stars, scientists, actors, artists, writers, entrepreneurs and many others. Our society celebrates these luminaries, and therefore, from a young age we are all pressured to emulate their path. Young parents place their children in coding classes because of Mark Zuckerberg’s success with Facebook, and fathers watch their sons’ basketball games hoping someday they might be like Mike. I know this observation is not a revelation, but I bring it up because of the effect this mentality has on creating magic.

Attempting to be someone or something other than your true self is the single greatest detriment to real success in this world. Logically, emulating someone else’s path to success makes a lot of sense. If it worked for them, then why shouldn’t it work for you?

But that is not how magic works. Their magic is not your magic, and no matter what you do, you can’t have it. We are all unique, and each person’s or organization’s formula for creating magic is inherently different.

You must be completely authentic in your pursuit in order to create sustainable magic. You can do this by staying within your “flow,” which I define as making sure the path you follow and the projects you or your organization take are completely in-line with who you are and what you do best.

A very simple way to look at this is that if you are a born-and-raised Italian restaurateur who grew up around the greatest pasta-makers in the world and loves serving people above all else, the likelihood of you opening a magical Italian restaurant is vastly higher than you opening a magical sushi restaurant. This may seem completely obvious, but as you apply this theory to more important and detailed decisions both personally and in business it becomes more difficult to decipher the nuances and make the decisions that will lead you down a magical path. For example, someone comes to you with a highly lucrative new job, but you are not sure your ideals match the ideals of the company. You would need to compromise some of your core values to work at this new position, but it pays double what you make now. Will that make you happy? Will you succeed in the long term? What is the right decision?

The same theory plays out every day in the hotel business. How often has a hotel brand been presented with a project that doesn’t quite fit the brand standards, yet it takes it anyway to meet the year’s growth numbers? Will it be magical? Probably not. Or a new hotel opens in South Beach and decides it needs a celebrity-chef restaurant because all of its competitors have one. Will that make it magical? Probably not.

While the stories of great companies and the lessons of great leaders should be used to inspire, only YOU can make YOUR brand of magic, and that starts with choosing your own path and understanding what makes you truly special.

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