Pattern Interruption

A Typical (and Crazy) Family Vacation - By Gay Lynn Grigas

Chevy Chase made us laugh and cringe with his extremes to make his family vacation happy. In the classic movie he was pursuing some crazy idealized vacation with totally unrealistic expectations. Jennifer found some recent guests showing up at her front desk looking for the same crazy idealized experience.
Excited family with arms up traveling by airplane
A Typical (and Crazy) Family Vacation

Doug Kennedy Chevy Chase made us laugh and cringe with his extremes to make his family vacation happy.  In the classic movie he was pursuing some crazy idealized vacation with totally unrealistic expectations.  Jennifer found some recent guests showing up at her front desk looking for the same crazy idealized experience.

The Collins family, complete with two teens. Buffy with smart phone texting away and younger brother Tommy pounding away at some game on his tablet.  Mrs. Collins was tense and hungry munching mindlessly on snacks from her designer handbag. Mr. Collins looked fatigued and ready for a break.

The Collins were a good family with good intentions but totally wired on too much caffeine and trying to adjust to having two weeks together in this luxury resort hotel.  The truth is they had not spent two weeks together the entire year.  Now with the “family vacation” upon them they were struggling with coordinating their wants and desires for their idealized vacation that met everyone’s needs.  Sounds like a disaster in the making, because everyone’s needs were different, and everyone wanted what they wanted and they wanted it now. 

Jennifer learned a little trick from her recent training that was terrific for just this type of family dynamic, it was called “Pattern Interruption.”   While she was checking them in and observing the struggle one teen wanting to go right to the pool, one person hungry, another one tired, and the complaints and struggle starting to brew on the surface she politely asked if it would be alright to ask a question.

The “Pattern Interruption” Jennifer used was intentionally to interrupt the families behaviors politely and tactfully interrupting the flow of their particular conversation to prevent linkage to more extreme behaviors of anger and hostility and to successfully modify its intensity.  The family stopped and all looked at the new face and voice of reason coming from the smiling Jennifer behind the desk.

Jennifer asked “Would you like to give me your luggage and I will see that the staff deliver it to your room while you have a bite to eat poolside?  Everyone nodded in unison, “Yes that would be great,” said Mr. Collins, and the Collins family began the next step of learning how to relax and enjoy one another’s company over sparkling waters of the refreshing pool, eating their club sandwiches, under the shade of a big blue umbrella. 

Jennifer remembered there were many ways to complete a “Pattern Interruption,” including changing the volume or pitch of her voice or whispering and using a softer voice when someone else is being too loud.  Another idea was sharing an act of kindness when it is least expected which is a positive “Pattern Interruption. “

Jennifer worked on herself as well, when she was getting frustrated at work with co-workers or guests she would interrupt her own internal pattern of thoughts, feelings, and actions by humming a song, whistling, even saying a little silent prayer helped her keep her cool under a variety of stressful situations. 

The Collins family had a nice time and at the end of the trip Mr. Collins reviewed the luxury hotel on-line and specifically complimented the staff on the way they “Personalized their services and made the family feel welcomed and at home while they relaxed and had a pleasurable family vacation.”  


By Gay Lynn Grigas, MA Psy.

Author of 12 Tools to Keep Your Cool and Confidence

Gay Lynn Grigas, MA Psy. is an accomplished speaker, trainer, and consultant specializing in customer service and stress awareness issues.  She is author of several books including “12 Tools To Keep Your Cool and Confidence-Trigger-Proof.”  Visit  www.trigger-proof.com   For training or speaking engagements in the Hospitality Industry contact Kennedy Training Network a trusted training provider in the industry for over 20 years at info@KennedyTrainingNetwork.com  or www.KennedyTrainingNetwork.com



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