Last Friday, I had the privilege of teaching "Dining Etiquette" workshops to middle school girls at the "Etiquette for Success: Young, Black, & Professional" event held at Perspectives Charter School - Calumet Campus. It was an EXTREMELY rewarding experience for several reasons:
1) This school is located in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, which is considered to be one of Chicago's roughest neighborhoods. As someone who also grew up in a rough neighborhood, I know what it's like to be pre-judged as to what you can do or achieve because you're from the "wrong side of the tracks". It felt good to be one of several presenters to go in there and encourage those children.
2) As many of you know, I am a former school teacher. And Perspectives was actually one of the schools that I taught at in the past. Let's just say the last time I wandered through those hallways was not the most positive experience! LOL!!! I have known for many years that teaching is one of my gifts. I am VERY GOOD at it. However, I was applying that gift in the wrong setting, which led to years of frustration, until I discovered what it was to properly be used for: Homeschooling, and Speaking Engagements/facilitating workshops.
Some of them wondered out loud when they would ever get a chance to utilize the dining etiquette skills that I was teaching them. It was a fair question, as nearly every restaurant in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood is a fast food restaurant. I told them that they could use these skills at a wedding reception. Then, I also recounted a time when I was chosen to attend an event that General Colin Powell spoke at in Downtown Tulsa when I was in 8th grade. After the event, I, along with my Principal and Vice-Principal attended lunch at the Summit Club (I told them about how The Signature Room restaurant in Downtown Chicago would be the closest comparison to The Summit Club). Anyhoo, here I was at age 14 in a high-class dining setting. I managed to eat my meal without making a fool of myself, but BOY would I have LOVED to have had the etiquette training that these girls were receiving! LOL!
Here's an "Etiquette for Success" life lesson:
-Close your eyes for a moment and think about a goal that you have. I want you to truly imagine yourself doing that "thing" that you'd consider a "golden opportunity". Now, open your eyes. If your phone rang tomorrow morning and someone asked you to come and do that very "thing", would you be READY? If your honest answer is no, then you've got WORK to do!
-Begin to prepare yourself for the next level of your life right now! Do you need to brush up on your dining etiquette to prepare for those power lunches and conferences God is going to send you? Do you need to get a quality website together so people can even FIND you? *Side note: If you need help in this area, Rodney and I can help you with that! Visit www.youngcreativeservices.com ! Do you need to get new business cards? Take out a sheet of paper and make a list of things that you need to get done in order to be prepared for your "new level". Then prioritize the items on your list & hop to it!
*Special thanks to Dean Rhonda Scullark for inviting me! This was a WONDERFUL event. Well done!
Nikeya N. Young
Certified Master Life Coach/Author/Speaker