Elaine has 30+ years experience as a server, mostly in New York, and is a member of the How To Triple Your Tips research and advisory team. As we were talking about all the things you can do to directly increase your tips, she started talking with me about something that might be even more important than Tips.
And that is YOU.
Some people call it your Soul. Some people call it your Spirit, your Essence, your Purpose…and I’m sure you’ve got your own name for it.
Her point, in a nutshell, is that you can’t be working only for the money. You’ve got to be working for your life’s goals, fulfillment and happiness. And if what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it, isn’t helping you have what you want, or to be who you want to be, then it’s time to change something.
Here’s Elaine’s story…
When I first moved to NYC, I worked at a new, trendy restaurant called TAO. It was modeled after the Buddha Bar in Paris. Before the building was a restaurant, it had been a movie theater.
With a name like TAO, you would have expected that it would be a pretty peaceful, tranquil place. Not so!
There was a gigantic Buddha on top of a pond but it was a very DARK restaurant. At the time when I was new and training, I didn’t seem to notice that there were NO WINDOWS!
In the middle of my training, I also learned that there was a DJ that would be playing super loud music until 2 am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. So really, the restaurant turned into a club several nights of the week.
And the music got loud…REALLY loud. The DJ even encouraged the customers to stand on top of the tables and dance.
So many waiters and waitresses have other goals…something else we really want to do. It’s often acting, music, business, a college education. I’m sure you’ve got your own.
For me, the whole reason I had moved to NYC was to pursue musical theatre, which included needing to have decent hearing and to be able to speak and sing.
But with this ultra-loud environment, both my ears and vocal chords were getting abused. Not only did I have to strain to hear my diners, but I had to scream over loud music.
After putting up with this for months, I didn’t want to go through another training at another restaurant. I didn’t want to be “new” at a restaurant again.
But one night, the DJ was really egging people on…and the music, and the ambient noise, and the screaming diners…it all just got louder and louder, and something in me snapped.
I HAD to make a change. The place where I was spending so much time was just sucking the energy — and the physical health — out of me.
So I walked out and applied at a friend’s place and started training right away.
This restaurant had floor to ceiling windows, sunlight on the walls, normal sound levels…and it was such a better environment for me.
My hearing got better. My vocal chords recovered. And I hadn’t even been aware of how much the DARKNESS had begun to affect me. But working at this new, lighter restaurant caused my mood and entire spirit to improve too.
And I could finally breathe again.
So my advice to you, speaking from my experience as a server, is to not forget about fulfilling your soul. If you can alter your environment where you work, then do it. And if you can’t, then change it.
You’ve got a purpose. Don’t let your work, no matter what it is, rob you of what’s important to you.
You’ll have to look far and wide to find someone more full of spirit or with a kinder soul than Elaine. I didn’t know her back when she was at TAO, but I know how she is now. She is wise and wonderful. You’d be blessed to know her.
You’ll be hearing more from or about Elaine, too.
In the meanwhile, check in with yourself once in a while and make sure that where you are now is doing more than earning yourself a paycheck. And if it is…I’ve got more stuff coming up for you that will help that paycheck grow.
Here’s To Your Bigger Tips and Bigger Dreams!