A Business of Self-Esteem

VNC Image & Etiquette

I’ve been working for many (many, many) years towards getting a business off the ground. The vision began with a joke between a friend of mine and myself. We were both career counsellors at an employment agency and were commenting on the need for some of our clients to understand the importance of their attitude, wardrobe, manners and behaviour choices. We thought it would be funny to have our own etiquette business to teach these necessary but absent skills.

After some time and several clients later, I began to think it wasn’t so funny after all. In appointments, I heard atrocious language, saw unkempt hair, watched slouching individuals bite fingernails and sometimes I’d have to hold my breath to not inhale the “whatever-it-was” smoke that seemed to still be billowing from clothes. It occurred to me that some people did not realize how their choices were affecting those around them. Or that those same choices might be the cause of detrimental judgments that could hinder their prospects for jobs or even relationships.

It was then that I started to take that original joke between friends, more seriously. I enrolled in an image consultant certification course, invested in civility training workbooks and step-by-excruciating-step, I have put together VNC Image & Etiquette and I am (almost) ready to launch to the public.

In addition to my image and civility (etiquette) training, I am a certified career development practitioner and hold both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education degree. I understand that how one presents him/herself physically and behaviourally is essential to the pursuit of many goals – personal or professional. I have a special interest in honing youth and young adults’ leadership capabilities. This can help with the transition from high school to post secondary or from post secondary to career. I can also offer assistance to those who are looking to boost self-esteem or just need to freshen it up.

As a first step, I am offering a Leadership Workshop Series for youth ages 14 – 21.  More workshops will be coming and personal one-on-one services will be available to develop action plans with individuals depending on their needs.  I will also be available for speaking engagements.  Please contact me if you require further details on any of the above workshops or services.

Stay tuned …

Cart Full of Courtesy

Inspired by a conversation I heard on my favourite radio morning show this week, I thought I’d write about the unwritten rules of Grocery Store Etiquette.  It stemmed from a trivia contest about self-check-outs at many grocery and department stores these days.  It then morphed into a chat about pet peeves, not only at the self-check-outs but shopping experiences in general.  Have you ever been frustrated by your visits to the supermarket because of what you felt was “rude” behaviour of other shoppers?  I certainly have and I know my husband has since he groans every time he needs to go.  These are some rules I try to keep in mind when shopping:

1.  Observe express lanes as “express” – These are the lanes for people who only have a few items and want to get in and get out fast – hence the “express” in the title.  I figure if I can hold all my items in my arms than I’m probably safe to use this lane and this is typically less than 8 items.  In one experience, I was behind a gentleman who had a shopping cart  heaped with groceries and he put on 8 items, paid for them, then put on the next 8 items, paid for them and so on.  I would have went to another lane but it was a day before a long holiday weekend and the other lanes were packed also.  The store clerk had to finally tell him that “1-8 items” meant that he was only supposed to have a maximum of 8 items only.  Being the polite person she was, she continued to check out his purchases but warned that he shouldn’t do that again (much to my aggravation).

2.  Place the divider bar on the belt when finished placing all items – Although I don’t get too upset  if someone doesn’t follow this rule, I do appreciate it when it is practiced.  It says that the person ahead is considering me and making a small gesture to let me know that I am welcome to place my items alongside theirs at the check-out.  Small but not insignificant.

3.  Pull cart to the side when checking items on the shelf – Aisles often have only enough room for two passing carts in order to get optimum use of the floor space to display items for sale.  It is not considerate to leave your cart in the middle of the aisle while you compare labels or make decisions on which item to purchase.  Make sure your cart is off to the side so others may pass.  Of course, you also want to be sure not to leave your cart parked too long to the side if there are others waiting to pick out items that are blocked by your cart.

4.  Put the cart in the cart-corral when finished – There are usually designated areas in the parking lots or stores, conveniently located, to gather carts when shoppers are finished.  It isn’t just for courtesy’s sake, to return your cart to one of these areas, it is also for safety’s sake.  A parking lot cluttered with stray carts is hazardous.  When returning my cart, I also like to take the extra effort and interlock it with the carts previously placed.  It will allow space for more carts and it will make the cart retriever’s job a little lighter.

5.  Have your cash, debit or credit card ready – While waiting for the cashier to scan your items, get your payment ready.  This will allow you to complete your transaction promptly, saving time for you and the others waiting behind you.

Are there other rules that you like to follow when shopping?

Civility Includes Respect for the Environment

What do you think of when you think of civility?  Is it putting up with the in-laws when they drop in unannounced?  Maybe tolerating the sniffling of the co-worker in the cubicle beside you.  Or do you think of keeping your dog fenced in yard so he doesn’t do his business on someone else’s lawn.  Do you ever consider your respect for the environment as an act of civility?  Let’s not forget that we are only borrowing this space on earth while we are here.  Respecting the elements is important for everyone now and those to come.

Here are 5 Ways you can help the environment from fellow blogger, Kelly Allen.  Even if you already do these,  it’s always a good reminder to know that even the small things can add up to a big difference in the end.  Please read:

http://kellybrownpaper.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/5-ways-you-can-help-the-environment-today/

9/11 – A Metaphor of What We are Capable of

I watched the memorial presentation for the tragedy of 9/11.  I can’t believe that 10 years have passed.  No other day, no other moment, no other memory is as burned in my mind as September 11, 2001.  Everyone has their own account of where they were and what they were doing when the planes began to crash.  Many larger-than-life images instantaneously come to our minds without thinking.  But, when I sift through the rubble in my mind of that day, I remember the fantastic acts of human spirit that manifested from those events.  People began to reach out to help; help others they didn’t even know.  Smiles and greetings that were never extended previously, became abundant. Conversations started among strangers. Estranged families found common ground.  Couples contemplating divorce, re-evaluated their relationships.  People came together that would otherwise not even acknowledge each other. Community came out of the chaos.

I heard a  reading today that stood out as so poignant in marking this anniversary.  It goes like this:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.  Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve Human Kind.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of it all.  If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all.  (Romans 12: 9-18).

As I watched the memorial of this tragedy 10 years later, I remembered what the human spirit is capable of.   Even when we are hit with the most unbelievable horror, we can rise above.  We are capable of great acts of goodness when faced with unspeakable evil.  I look to these events as a metaphor of what we can expect from ourselves … and it is good.