Do you have fear of failure as a host? Many of us do, including myself. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most common reasons that we collectively hold back from hospitality altogether. However, what would it look like to look at each fear screaming at us to ‘hold back,’ and call them what they really are? You see, what happens is that fear echoes our insecurities. It sometimes whispers, and sometimes shouts, the very areas that we feel disqualified in. Over time, these fears convince us that we don’t have what it takes. Over time, these fears convince us that we should keep our doors closed, so we do. This belief creates a tension between the longing for community and the willingness to engage. Whether you are a skilled host or don’t have much experience under your belt, here are a few truths to hold close as you look forward.
Your table doesn’t need to be perfect to make an impact.
While design and food matter and have their place, people ultimately need a place to belong. If you look back at your life to the times that you felt the strongest sense of belonging, I would imagine that those memories are saturated with meaningful conversation and the way your hosts welcomed you. Food and design can absolutely contribute to a welcoming gathering; however, no matter what your table ends up looking like, the most important step is making room. Your invitation is just what someone is longing for.
Your style doesn’t need to match their (or my) style.
While being inspired by others is a beautiful thing, let’s scratch the hospitality comparison. It’s a reality that our personal styles are a collection of what we admire about others’ styles. However, the danger begins when we stop just collecting and begin to fixate. When we don’t allow ourselves the freedom to be content, quickly we believe that if we don’t have ‘x amount of dollars’ or ‘a kitchen that looks like this,’ that we aren’t qualified to welcome anyone in. Your style is a direct reflection of YOU. Keep it authentic, keep it true to you. Whatever it is now, is enough. There’s always room to renovate, swap out the pillows and add a new plant, so don’t let that hold you back. Don’t apologize about it either, k?
You will never grow if you don’t ‘fail.’
*repeat, repeat, repeat*
If you never start, you will never grow. If you don’t start, you will never know what you’re capable of. Failure feels personal; however, it’s all about how we receive it. I’ll never forget one time I was asked to make a cake for a friend. The cake was stunning, but when we sliced into it, the layers of frosting were about 3x the thickness of the cake. Everyone had a good laugh, but I was mortified. I remember Colby looked at me and said, “Kayt, just learn from it for next time.” In that second, I had the chance to never bake again, or in fact, learn for the next cake. Guess what, from that cake on, I learned how to better level out the buttercream and haven’t made that mistake again since! Look at failure as a tool that helps you identify areas that will make you stronger, not something that disqualifies you. Want to know the beauty of hospitality mistakes too? No one is exempt.
Hospitality is NOT just meant for some people. It’s meant for all of us.
With your experiences, your current skill set, with what you have, you are able to host. It starts with you. There’s always room to improve, and you can count on trends constantly changing too. Your table has the unique ability to cultivate community and gather people, just the way it is. Every day that you keep it closed by fear, is another day that you are willingly keeping community at a distance.
Do you have room to improve? Sure, I do too! Can I just tell you something that I know to be true about today?
I was living in Thailand, longed for community, starting opening my door and filling my table. Now I’m living ‘charcuterie’ as a way of life and teaching what I learned about living intentionally everyday.
I was living in Thailand, longed for community, starting opening my door and filling my table. Now I’m living Gathering as a way of life and teaching what I have learned about living intentionally everyday.