If you’ve ever looked for a place where you could truly experience peace, you’ve probably never thought of Cranford, NJ. It’s sort-of near New York City, close to my hometown of Westfield. The only reason why you’d likely visit Cranford is if you have relatives near there, as I do, or business at one of the nearby companies.
So on recent trip to the area, I wasn’t expecting to find an oasis that showed me how the world could be transformed by the energies of kindness and peace at work.
The place is the Homewood Suites. This humble inn has what you’d expect for a value-priced hotel—clean beds, warm showers, small fitness area. Nothing fancy.
But from the moment I got there, it was clear that it had something utterly priceless: an environment of love.
It started with the woman at the reception desk, whose smile, even at the end of a long day, was bright and cheery. She demonstrated an enthusiasm for my arrival like she was welcoming a long-lost relative, and I had never visited this property before. When she came around the desk to point me to the elevator, I honestly had to hold back from giving her a hug.
I slept well (which I rarely do in hotels) and woke up smiling. When I went down to breakfast, there was an elderly couple in the hallway who were—I kid you not—hugging one of the housekeepers. It wasn’t like they were old friends; I heard the woman ask the housekeeper’s name. They were different races and ages, so I doubted they had a lot in common. I’m not sure if the housekeeper had done anything special for them; they just seemed to like her for no apparent reason other than her pleasantness.
But honestly—when have you ever seen a hotel guest hug a housekeeper? Thank them, maybe; tip them, perhaps—but hug??
It didn’t stop there. I could smell breakfast cooking as I came down the hall. Usually in properties like this, everything is microwaved, and there is little or no aroma—or for that matter, taste—to the food. But not here. The air sizzled with the smells of sausage and coffee, and there was a faint tinge of sweetness as well.
As I approached the breakfast area, I heard a tiny voice:
An adorable 5-year-old boy was greeting every guest as they entered (his mother told me his age). This wasn’t an employee, obviously, and it was interesting that some guests either didn’t hear him or simply passed him by.
But not the man in charge of stocking the buffet and keeping the area clean. He responded to the boy multiple times. He also acknowledged every guest who entered the area. I wasn’t surprised when he made eye contact with me and wished me well—it was obviously sincere, as were the snippets I could pick up of his conversations with other guests.
In 24 hours, it was clear that something unusual was happening here. As I passed people in the halls, every guest—and I mean Every. Single. Guest.—said hello or acknowledged me in some way. In an era when our faces are buried in our cell phones or we’re just too much in our own heads to notice what’s around us, this was truly remarkable. What’s more, we were a truly mixed ethnic and racial bunch. It didn’t matter if we sported burkas, tattoos, business suits or sweats—it was like we were one big family.
In the world of energy, there is a concept called an Egregor, which is the collective energy field created by a large group of people. Call it the “vibe” of the place. You can feel it when you enter places where people gather, like hotels, offices, schools, stadiums or hospitals. As we think, we feel; and as we feel, we vibrate. Too often, the vibrations are low or full of static because people are caught up in a lot of stressful thinking. This creates an Egregor that makes a place feel dull or dense, making you feel tired or unhappy without even knowing why.
But not here. Since energy is contagious, the warmth and peace the employees radiated created a cloud of goodness, well-being and peace that was clearly having a positive effect not only on weary travelers, but also on each other.
When it came time to write an online survey, I made similar comments to those here. And I wasn’t surprised when I got not one, but two very personal and very sincere emails–first from the front desk manager, and then from the manager of the hotel.
Although this blog probably reads like a hotel review, it’s not, because you likely will never have reason to go to Cranford. The point is simply this: if you want your business to feel magical to your customers, try making it fully human. No window dressing, innovation, perk or price can have the lasting impact that sincerity does or the peace that it generates.
Success has always been a matter not of what you do, but how you make people feel. No job is loftier or more important than any other. The key is in being fully conscious not only of the work itself, but of how you are as you’re doing it. If you are awake and aware to making peaceful connections with others, you not only improve your own world; you help everyone else.
Mother Theresa was once asked how she changed the world. “I didn’t,” she said humbly. “I just took care of the person next to me.”
4445 West 77th St. Suite 130 Edina, MN 55435