Don’t fit in the box… Hack the box, with Naretha Hopson – Integrally Alive podcast

Fear of rejection is among the biggest and most common fear we human beings have. It takes many faces, but usually, as a result, we try our best to fit in the box we are presented… Well Naretha Hopson says, Hack the box!

She helps especially young people to own the impression they give, out of self-love and from authenticity, rather than a desperate need to belong: “I noticed I saw the void in my experience, and I knew how beneficial and helpful it would have been for me to know just those unspoken rules to have that little bit of extra information to make a difference.”

Naretha is a speaker, and the founder and executive director of the Ever-Appropriate Etiquette Institute, a character and leadership development organization. She leads workshop to refine soft skills like dining etiquette or business etiquette and impression management, the art of networking and branding programming for youth and professionals.
What she offers though is much more than just an etiquette class. The core for teachings is all about mindset and especially self confidence.


  • 01:00 How did Naretha come to decoding the rules of etiquette?
  • 04:00 “We don’t know what we don’t know”. There is an unspoken language, for example in business. And if you don’t know the code, it can ruin all of your efforts. it is so unfortunate that, especially students, would do everything they could to do to be successful in school: you stay up all night study for the test, get good grades, do everything and then you show up to the interview in jeans or something that’s not appropriate for that industry and then all of a sudden you’re out of the running.
  • 05:00 Image in some cases equates to opportunities, it leads to get your foot through the door. Naretha’s work today, educating high school and college young professionals millennial, and in the corporate arena.
  • 06:10 I saw the void in my experience, and I knew how beneficial and helpful it would have been for me to know just those unspoken rules to have that little bit of extra information to make a difference.
  • 07:05 Am I going to loose my soul if I conform to he etiquette? It’s just the door, that opens possibility. Just know the rules, know the expectation. You can do everything within authenticity. If if you need to do a certain game, to get your foot in the door, kind of do what you need to do to get there. Because then if you don’t like the rule, you get in a position of power. So you can then change.
  • 09:20 You don’t have to lose yourself in the process. The tagline to Ever-apropriate is: “where your personality shines, we add polish”. It is about adding those little extra touches to your personality, and that is what people actually connect with and relate to.
  • 10:00 Etiquette means ticket: You’re able to walk through doors with your ticket that otherwise we would not be able to walk through. Albert Einstein: “You have to learn the rules of the game and play better than anyone else”.
  • 13:00 Impression management? “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”, says Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon). So what is it that is that about you when you leave the room? You never know where and when the opportunity comes to you. Especially young folks are often not aware of the impression they give to others.
  • 16:50 Feeling inadequate, and how knowing conventions helps build self-confidence.
  • 20:00 Be yourself? Yes, be the best version of yourself; Be who you need to be to attain your goals and dreams. How Naretha starting her business later than she could have, overcoming her low self-esteem, and fear of public speaking.
  • 23:00 Listening to our greater purpose, we can step into a better self. Getting into these rules and making them your own, also gives a greater sense of who you are.
  • 23:40 Mindfulness is a big key, it’s not just about forks and knives. First you learn the rule, then you break the rule. When you have self-confidence, rules don’t matter so much; if you make a faux-pas and not take yourself too seriously, people will feel connected to you.
  • 26:00 We’re not trying to get people to accept us. We dis-empower ourselves when we try at all cost to belong. A simple and effective tip on feeling confident: being on time. Avoid the “I’m sorry” syndrome. 😉
  • 30:05 Self-love is essential to build confidence and the consciousness that comes along with that. Doesn’t matter what fork you pick if you don’t feel like you belong in the room in the first place. Once you truly love yourself, you can be totally authentic, bringing even your quirky personality, or whatever it is you bring it to.
  • 31:40 Another part of you etiquette is being prepared.
  • 33:00 How to deal with judgment? How do we know when to accept and take in what is a positive criticism we can evolve with, and when to say “Okay, this is just not right.”? And respecting cultures, especially in multicultural situations.
  • 37: 42 How respecting cultural etiquette, or not, can totally change your experience with the people. What is our behavior communicating about us? Are we showing our personality, or showing off?
  • 41:00 The three most important thing to know about etiquette?
  • 46:22 Being multidimensional: most of us feel enough in one thing, we all have these one situation in our life where we have total confidence. And these tools give us to have the same confidence in all situations, so that in any situation we feel free to be ourselves.
  • 45:35 What makes you feel alive? Knowing that I’m making an impact!


Amy Cudy TED talk: powerpose

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success.

Yes, you might say that is not new, and that yoga for example is demonstrating the effect of changing our body has on our mind for hundreds of years. Isn’t it great that west meet east these days? 😉

Naretha’s three most important things to know about etiquette

No, it is not about forks and knives.

  1. Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready. Then you can make a great first impression.
  2. Nowadays, your first impression often happens online. Make sure it is as powerful and positive as the one that you would present in person. If you think about the fact that everyone in the world is going to have potentially the opportunity to see what it is you’re posting, do you still want to post it?
  3. Just really, truly knowing that you are enough. You know you can do whatever it is that you want to do. You can change the world in your unique way. Affirm yourself, say I am enough or whatever else that is that you need to say to to really feel 100% confident that you indeed are in you.

Where can you find Naretha?

Joyful Power letters