That Time I Set My Kitchen On Fire – And How That Changed Me Forever

Myra Golden

I was making a special candy dessert with my daughter, just 4 years old at the time. I didn’t even want to make the recipe, but Lauren begged me to. Given my frustration in the kitchen with this unfamiliar and difficult recipe, it’s no surprise that my daughter quickly lost interest in cooking with mommy and went to play.

Impatient with a lengthy step in the cooking process, I decided to let the mixture simmer for a bit, thinking my frustration could also simmer down, and I went down the hall to my home office. I got to checking emails and a voicemail, nothing of importance, and I simply forgot about the sweet mixture simmering on the stovetop. Sometime later at my desk I heard a sharp whistle. No, it was more like a beep. It happened in rapid succession. With a 4-year old and a 1 year old, I dismissed the sound as something coming from one of the kids’ toys. I hit send on the email I was typing and then opened AOL to read some news.

My daughter walked into my office, still wearing her lavender princess dress and bejeweled crown from dressup earlier.  She didn’t look like a princess though. She looked Much Afraid. “What’s wrong Lauren?” Her big princess eyes didn’t blink. She didn’t speak. There’s that beeping noise again… Oh ho! That’s the smoke alarm, I realized. I ran into the hall and it was filled with smoke! Through the smoke I dashed to my kitchen and it was on fire. My kitchen was on fire! Continue reading

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I’d given that keynote everything. I took the time to speak with 3 audience members weeks before my talk to get a feel for what would be value-adding for attendees. Months before my talk I interviewed 2 experts in the field so that I could provide field-tested and proven strategies in my key points. I was prayed up.

On the big day my keynote was good, but it was not great. I know great. I can see great in the eyes of my audience. I can feel it. I didn’t make emotional connection. Maybe I didn’t establish my credibility right up front. Was this African American woman with edgy, kinky hair just too much for this all-white, all male audience? Continue reading