Next up is an opportunity that nearly everyone could take advantage of. Last post I mentioned being a bartender was one of the best ways I knew to meet people. Another one is being a server. Who goes out to eat? Everyone! With just a little bit of effort, parties on both sides of this transaction can make new friends. Allow me to explain what I mean by sharing a recent experience I had.

It was late at night and Margie wanted to go shopping for Christmas gifts. I needed to get a few things written and all of the coffee shops I usually do such things at were closed. Fortunately for both of us there was a 24-hour store and restaurant across the street from each other and just a few miles from our house. I grabbed my computer and Margie grabbed her purse. I dropped her off at the store and we promised to keep each other posted.

As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed there were not many cars other than mine. When I made my way inside I had to wait a few minutes for the host to come out from in back. With this time, I observed that there were no other tables seated at the moment. Right after I was seated a young lady came up to the table and inquired where my lovely lady was. Margie and I had been there a few weeks before and had obviously made a good impression. After explaining that she was shopping and I was there to write she introduced herself as Chrystle and went to grab some coffee for me.

I began to set up my computer and get started. I was currently working on a restaurant review for the website Chow Down in Milwaukee. Moments later my server had returned with the coffee and took my order. I was into a groove when she returned in what seemed to be an impossibly quick amount of time. Setting down the food she inquired as to how my writing was going. I assured her it was going quite well as I took the first bite of the fruit bowl I had ordered. “What are you writing?” she inquired. As I told her I also mentioned this website and the fact that I had recently completed my second book. A second table walked in at that time and she looked torn. Excited she would be finally able to make some money, but evidently with more to say to me, she excused herself and I returned to recalling my experience at a Mexican restaurant from the day before.

Just as I was getting back into a groove, lost in a zone writers love, I heard a voice from my right. “Everything still good?” I told her it was. “I have always wanted to write a book.” she said. This was obviously more of an opening than a statement given the fact she remained in front of my booth staring down at me. Deciding my moment in the zone had ended and my time to discuss writing with an aspiring author had begin, I closed my laptop and said, “Oh really?” You may think at this point I was frustrated or bothered, but if there is one thing I enjoy as much as writing it is inspiring and encouraging other people to do the same.

“I wrote a story once when I was in school. The teacher said I should have it published, but my mother forbid it from happening.” she continued. She had apparently picked up on my willingness to discover what she had to say about writing. “Why would your mom do that?” I genuinely wanted to know. After responding with what seemed to be a dismissive answer aimed at avoiding opening another conversation more than avoiding answering the question I had asked, she continued. “I have a great idea for a book, but I do not think I could write it.” “I want to write a book called Single Mom Made Easy.” She went on to explain she was a single mother of several children including one with cerebral palsy.

“I am in and out of hospitals a lot and it is often hard to find a qualified babysitter, but life is good you know?” Admiring her attitude I had to inquire what allowed her to think that way despite all the challenges she faced. “It is all a matter of perspective.” she said. She mentioned all she had to be grateful for and all the positives in her life. Suddenly she recalled the other table and apologetically took her leave. I was left with an idea for this post and a genuine desire to encourage this young lady to pursue what I felt would be a very helpful and life-changing book for many single parents and parents of children with disabilities.

As the night went on we exchanged ideas for books and outlooks on life. I also shared my publishing experience and mentioned a few resources she could take advantage of. With a willingness to be open and a genuine interest in the person we were in contact with we both left better off. It is my true hope she decides to put her thoughts on paper and bring them to the world.

It is far too often I witness people treating servers in a dismissive or worse submissive manner. These are hard-working people who are on their feet all day and have a lot to offer. By taking a few extra moments to genuinely appreciate them we could make not only a new friend, but a connection with someone who also meets many people throughout the day.

As a server, you have a unique opportunity to connect with the people you serve. Inquiring about the person and not just what food they wish to consume, could lead to wonderful connections and friendships. It also will help the bottom line when it comes to the gratuity.

Dinning out can be an opportunity to do more than just fill your belly with good food. With a little extra effort and care you can fill your life with more connections and rewarding friendships as well.


yesterday we spoke of appreciating your value. Today we will discuss what is the easiest way to increase your value or like I enjoy saying “your awesomeness” Let us begin by asking a question, what things are you really not good at? Does a list immediately come to mind? Or perhaps some glaring fault that has become part of your identity? let me share with you one of mine. If you are a follower of this blog or perhaps one of my former teachers this next revelation should come as no big surprise. I, Neil Panosian, am a terrible speller. So bad in fact that quite often spell check’s suggestion for me on certain words is “go back to school” I joke about it, but it is true. If it were not for the afore mentioned spell check some of you might very well question what language this blog is in. So what have I decided to do? Become an author and blog writer. Seems kind of silly, but it is slowly improving my spelling. By slowly I mean I can now spell the word ‘experience’ without the use of a dictionary. So why would I decide to become a writer when I am not a very good at spelling. I will answer that in a moment, but first let me share something that many people may not know. There is a glaring flaw in our educational system. We have a predetermined set of principles we decided are important. if a child fails to succeed in any of these principles they are considered a failure, or a slow learner, or learning disabled. I am going to go out on a limb and say Picasso may not have passed a high school math test, yet we do not view him as a failure. Why? here is the secret. He worked at something he was naturally good at and passionate about. So ask yourself the opposite question, What is it, if I really think, that I can do better than most people? We all have something. The sad part is, if it is not what society or the educational system thinks is important we probably have not been encouraged to grow that talent. Well right now I am encouraging you! I tend to be good at talking to and listening to people. it is also a passion of mine. I genuinely care for people, even spelling teachers, and I like to be able to bring joy and happiness to their day. Now, I am currently employed as a postal worker. not a career known for its joyous demeanor. So I found a way to use and pursue my talent and passion. I have decided to make everyone’s visit to the post office the most fun and enjoyable one they have ever had. I have also started bartending part-time. A job whose main requirement is to make sure people are having a good time. So what is your talent? Can you draw pretty well? Buy yourself a sketch pad and some pencils! Can you tell a great joke? Learn as many as you can and share them. The world can always use more laughter. As for why I am writing a book, it is all about brining joy to the lives of others. So this weekend spend a few minutes really thinking about what your talent is and how you can develop and share it with the world. Who knows you may even end up changing your life as well!

Write a letter

No this is not some stunt to help the postal service I work for.  It is, however a great exercise to develop introspection, appreciate how far you have come, what you have accomplished and to set your focus and determination for future goals. How can all this be accomplished? By writing two simple letters. Here is the idea, you can do it all at once, or break it into two separate ideas. Pick a moment when you will not be pressured by time. Sit down with a pen and a sheet of paper, or in front of a blank document on your computer. Those of you who are regular readers of this site will know I urge you to go with the pen and paper because it creates more of a mind-body connection and helps you take time to focus your thoughts, but the main idea is to do the activity so whatever you feel most comfortable with, go with that one. Ok, here you are in a quiet room or busy Starbucks, wherever it is you do your best thinking. You are either staring down at a blank computer screen, or a blank sheet of paper. now what? Think back to a time when you were a very young child. Say three or four when you were just starting to comprehend your way around the world. You have already learned to walk and most of us to talk pretty well, though after a few cocktails I still doubt that ability in myself. Think of that child and everything they have to face in that period of their life. What advice would you give them? What do you wish you would have known growing up at that age? What were you most proud of? What things do you most regret? Just start writing. Spill out all of your thoughts and feelings. Remember you are writing this letter to you, so feel free to be perfectly honest. Who should you have been kinder to? Who should you have avoided? Now move ahead a few years. You are ten or eleven, just starting to leave childhood behind and have your first glimpse of what being an adult might be like. Think of what you thought you knew then, and what you wish you would have known. Remember as you moved through your teenage years all the heartbreak you would suffer and disappointment you would feel. What kind of encouragement would you have given yourself? When you felt like you wouldn’t have made it, like you wanted to give up. If only you could have shown yourself that you did make it through and that you would make it through even tougher struggles. Continue this letter all the way up through your life yesterday. What would you have told yourself if you could have seen tomorrow? Was it to hug someone a moment longer, or to end that argument far sooner? Ok, sign your letter “Love me” if this feels odd to you, remember you must love yourself. At the end of the day, no matter how much we love someone we are always left with ourselves. We must give complete love to ourselves in order to give it to others.

Now, perhaps you wish to save this step for another day. find yourself in that same place where you do all of your great inner contemplation. begin another letter to yourself, but this time think of what you might want to say to yourself the moment before you pass away. If you had only moments left before your life expired what would you want to share? Would you ask questions? Maybe apologize for wasting so much time in anger and sadness instead of enjoying the life you had? Would you regret a dream you did not chase? A goal you did not achieve? Perhaps you may regret spending all of your time trying to achieve goals and failing to notice and appreciate the beauty around you? Who would you miss? Who do you wish you would have said “I Love you” to one more time? How about “I’m sorry” or “thank you”? what parting words would you leave yourself with? Take care old pal? See you on the other side? or just a simple I love you? Now put these letters in separate envelopes labeled ‘past’ and ‘future’ or ‘young’ and ‘old’ however you care to do it. then store them somewhere safe. In a diary or a special book. A locked drawer. Wherever is special to you. Then when your life feels unsure, when you feel defeated, like there is no way to make it through the struggle you are facing. Pull them out and read them. Think of what an older you may say to you years down the road. Or what a younger you may think of how you are moving along. This can be a very emotional and revealing process, but it can also be a very healing process. just give all of you to it and you will be amazed at what it gives back.