Always arrive on time. Make sure that you’re at least 15 minutes early. Respect the time of others.
These are statements that you’ll continuously hear me saying in both youth and adult etiquette classes. I’m a big advocate of being respectful and mindful of others’, especially as it relates to time. Time is undeniably the one thing in life you can’t buy, barter, steal, swindle or take back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
So, imagine the utter void in my gut as I was heading to teach a class recently and the nasty conclusion that I would be late became a realization. Traffic is absolutely monstrous in the DC area. Your quick 30 minute commute can easily turn into a one hour and 30 minute frustrating, prolonged and stop and go commute, and that’s exactly what I endured.
As I headed to class, locked and loaded with certificates, cupcakes and an excitement to teach about social networking etiquette, I was overly anxious about knowing I would be late.The traffic was relentless and didn’t let up for even a moment.
So, as I walked up to class, 35 minutes late for what was only a 60 minute class, I inwardly dreaded the would-be conversation. Now, I remind you that I did have cupcakes in hand, so of course, that has the potential to soften any blow. I bravely approached the girls and their mentors who were wasting a little time at the play ground as they waited for me. To my surprise, the girls and the mentors were all smiles when I walked up. I’m sure that apart of the smiles was directly linked to the sweet treats in my right hand. But, much of the smiles seemed genuine about just my attendance.
I immediately apologized for my tardiness, and even used it as a learning lesson of transparency for the girls. After a few moments of chatting, one of the more quiet girls in the class said quietly, “Mrs. Jacqueline, aren’t you always supposed to be 15 minutes earlier”. I replied “yes” and proceeded to tell her a little more about what led to the lateness and what she and I could do to prevent something like this happening in the future.
Quite honestly, this was one of the young ladies, who I didn’t think I was engaging. I was doubtful that she was really retaining or had taken an extreme interest in the instruction. Boy, was I wrong. She remembered almost everything I said and was chattier than ever that day.
Scarlet Says… Surely, there will be mistakes, delays, traffic and things that are completely beyond your control. If you are unexpectedly delayed every now and then, (hopefully) your normal on time, thoughtful and kind protocol will keep you level. Also, be mindful of your energy, messages and impact. As much as we go about our robotic and mechanical-like days, we sometimes become immune to our impact. What vibes, information, positivity or negativity are you projecting for others to pick up on?
Until next time,