Being In the Presence of a Master

I stood in awe as people swarmed him.

Pictures, autographs, hugs.

Tonight was the School of Greatness book signing for my friend Lewis Howes.

Just a few short years ago he was broke living on his sister’s couch.

I remember interviewing him on a small teleconference back in 2009 my bedroom while living in my parents house. This was shortly after we both started in the online business.

Witnessing this transformation has been inspirational.

His success is not an accident.

Lewis is a shining example of what happens when you lead from your heart.

You can see it in his eyes. The way that he gives the time to people. The way that he makes you feel like the most important person in the room.

You can see it in the people that came out to his book signing.

Of course, like attracts like.

It was hosted at Bar Siena owned by celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. I had a chance to sit down with Fabio and asked him about what was the keys to his success in the restaurant business.

He told me several things, but the one thing that stood out was the detail he put in the restaurant.

“If someone sits at the bar in an uncomfortable chair, they will have a bad experience at my restaurant and not come back.”

He pointed to the lights above, the material on the chairs, the decoration. Everything was meticulously planned to perfection. I never realized how much detail goes into something like this. No wonder he is successful.

Fabio is in constant pursuance of mastery of his craft. He is a pro.

Some new friends asked Fabio for a recommendation for dinner. He called us in a reservation at Prime and Provisions, another one of his restaurants and got us a last minute table on a Saturday night.

Walking in, you could feel the immediate eloquence. Like Bar Siena, the place was beautifully decorated. The ambiance was perfect for an intimate dining experience.

The menu shared the same attention to detail. Grass fed this. Wild caught that.

When the waiter came to introduce himself, you immediately knew this place was different.

It was the little things with this waiter that I noticed. He started off welcoming us with a joke that made us all laugh. He then brought out some complimentary appetizers.

Before returning to the table, he would wait until our conversations ended before approaching. He was knowledgeable and took the time to go into the finest details about the drinks and the menu.

Periodically, he would come by and make origami figures out of our napkins. He pulled a prank on our buddy and left an X-rated one on his chair while in the bathroom that had us all dying laughing. He made sure our food was served to perfection.

Not at any moment did we feel rushed.

Three hours had passed, and we all had agreed that this was the best dining experiences we had ever had. We tried remembering the waiters of any past experiences and nothing stood out.

When he came back to the table with the bill, we asked him how he got to this point.

He told us about his journey as a waiter and the different jobs he held over the years. How he first worked at Oberweis and kept working his way up. He tried corporate for a while, then found himself coming back.

I thought to myself; you don’t get to a job like this on accident.

To some, he might just be a waiter. To me, is was clear as day that this man was not an amateur. He had turned pro.

I believe it starts from the top down.

I asked Lewis how all of this came together with his book tour, and he told me it’s because he had a great team. He couldn’t do it without them.

Fabio said the same thing. Surrounding yourself with great people. Clearly, he attracted a great staff as well.

You must have a great vision to attract great people.

But this server was exceptional and probably something I will remember for a long time.

(heck I am blogging about it on a Saturday night)

Looking at the total of our bill and how much he earned for the night, he is clearly doing well for himself by being a master of his craft.

Mastery can come in many forms.

But, it starts with the commitment to go all in. To be so passionate about it that you constantly want to improve yourself.

We told him how grateful we were for this memorable experience and thanked him for his exceptional service. It set the tone for new friendships and intimate conversation that you just don’t have in a bar.

He humbly received our compliments and said, “Well, you just can’t come to a place like this and expect anything less.”

While finishing his sentence, he tucked away his multi-purpose tool and stuffed it in his pocket.

He set on the table a turtle out of the champaign wire top. He thanked us for coming and walked away to his next table.

We were in the presence of a master.