When my wife, Carol, and I travel we often choose to stay in a bed and breakfast. Prior to our trip to Bar Harbor in early August, Carol located an establishment there called the Holbrook House. We had stayed in a couple other bed and breakfasts on the way from Ohio. One was delightful and one was mediocre.
We crossed the bridge to Mount Desert Island on State Route 3 and proceeded around the northern coast of the island until we reached the town of Bar Harbor. Right on Route 3 nestled sharply against the road sat the Holbrook House. A porch lined with rocking chairs framed the front of the house. We pulled into the only vacant spot and checked in.
We were met by Eric Allvin, who was the innkeeper along with his wife, Michelle. He informed us about the accommodations and led us to our room called the Blue Ribbon Room on the first floor. True to the name, blue was the theme of the room with deep blue carpet and a lovely blue flowered bedspread. A wicker chair and night tables along with a clothes press finished the room. We unpacked and walked a couple of blocks to the main part of the town and had lunch.
The next morning's breakfast included Belgium waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. On day two we were served an egg roulade and day three began with tasty French toast. They all met our tastes with an A+.
We learned the house was built in 1876 by the Hamor family and was one of the original Victorian showplaces at the base of Mount Desert. Later, it first became a bed and breakfast offering four sets of apartments each with its own receiving room and fireplace. In the 1960s, the building was used as a nursing home and in the 1980s with an addition of several rooms returned to a bed and breakfast, one of the largest in Bar Harbor.
Eric and Michelle got married in August of 2010 and bought the house in October of the same year. Since they were in a year of change, fleeing corporate jobs in the big city seemed like a good idea. Eric spent 20 years with an electrical distribution company, the last 13 years as a branch manager. Michelle worked 11 years at a pharmaceutical company as a lab researcher and project manager.
They soon realized running a bed and breakfast was a 6-in-the-morning-'till-10-at-night job. Breakfast, maintenance, lawn mowing, 3 o'clock tea, and shopping almost every day filled their schedules. Ten rooms and two suites could meet the needs of up to 32 people at capacity and most days throughout the summer they were full. Still they insisted it would be worth doing all over again.
In my training sessions, I am told that most people are resistant to change. However, if we choose to initiate the change it is often readily adopted. Also, change that comes in bunches is more accepted than those that come like a faucet drip, drip, drip. Michelle and Eric chose to get married, a big change in itself. Then they looked at their lives and chose to make another dramatic change. Both decisions have worked well for them. Sometimes one big change can be the springboard to other possible changes. The best leaders look for opportune times to bundle change rather than spread it out painfully.
R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray's new book, Tons of Stone above my head: Coal Mining Stories with Leadership Lessons, visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.