I had felt quite stuck with the restaurant plan (more about it in this post) for the last weeks. I had asked the owner of the local restaurant if I could play the piano sometime during lunch time for instance. He had said yes, but had not been too enthusiastic. I felt uncertain how to bring the subject up again. I just waited for something to happen to create some movement.
A couple of days ago I came up with an idea to get it going again. First I thought that I could go maybe once in the afternoon, when there are less customers than during lunch time. That felt better, but still not good enough to get me acting. Later I found the perfect solution: I want to go there first at a time when there are no customers at all. Just testing the piano, practicing some songs and see how the owner feels about it. Very simple: instead of focusing on playing the piano for audience in the restaurant, I started thinking about what could make us both (me and the owner) feel more relaxed about the whole plan. Focus on the process instead of on the desired outcome. Of course, that is what my whole project is about, how could I forget!
Today my morning program was still open, and all of a sudden I thought “I could go and practice in the restaurant now, before lunch time starts”. I could feel it in my body that I was acting a bit rushed, but still I picked up the phone and called the owner right away. I didn´t want to wait because I feared I would think too long about it and then the opportunity would be gone.
The phone call was a good lesson. I should have given myself some time to prepare better for the conversation. The main mistakes I made, were only thinking about my side of the story and wanting to go too quickly. It turned out alright: we agreed to come another time.
Now I know that I need to focus first on the “client” and how he would perceive this. For instance: the owner of the restaurant is not interested in my time table, but very much occupied by his. The moment I called him was about half an hour before the restaurant would open. In my eyes: just enough time to have fifteen minutes of practice there. In his eyes: possibly the most stressful moment of the day.
The fact of wanting to go too quickly is one of my typical pitfalls. Pushing final plans under peoples nose does not generally make them too happy. They like to get the chance to have some influence, to negotiate. Instead of suggesting that I could come and play in five minutes, I should have asked him what he thinks about the idea of me coming to practice and when would be an appropriate time. Funny fact: I did consciously try to slow down, only not enough. My original plan was to just jump on my bike, cycle to the restaurant with my music sheets in my back pack, and ask the owner face to face if I could practice right away. So still less gas, more brake…
The owner suggested I could come and try next Monday afternoon, when the restaurant is closed but he is there anyway. I could hear he was still not too enthusiastic, but also found out what his main concern might be. He is not sure about condition of the piano, is it good enough to play. In case it needs to get tuned, he should have a professional over. While I mainly think about the nice opportunity for myself and use the side effect of “it might be nice for the restaurant too” as a sales argument , he sees possible costs and hassle on the front stage. So really good to go there on Monday keeping the first goal in mind: check the state of the piano. After that, the opportunity can open up again.