Full disclosure, I was going to call this blog post “Why I love my job”, but I feared most people would roll their eyes and hit delete. I know I would if someone else posted that title. So why am I still going to write about something that sounds like its dripping with sticky sweetness? Because I am a true blue pessimist, or, more politely, I’d call myself a realist. I look at the good, the bad, and the what could go wrong.
There is a beautiful quote that I love:
See I tend to live my life in the past, constantly beating myself up about mistakes I’ve made, things I’ve said wrong and what I could have done differently. I play it like a highlight reel in my brain, like reliving that awful final episode of Lost, where I’m left with more questions than answers. And, when not enjoying the sad-masochistic sport of beating myself up, my thoughts wander over to hang out in the worry department of my mind, also known as the future. No, I don’t mean the future as in global warming, although that is stressful and I’m convinced we will all end up like the Disney Wall-E movie, I mean my personal, and usually immediate, future. “What are we going to have for dinner? When am I going to find time for that car appointment? Am I ever going to get that stain out of the rug?” This is where a normal person’s brain would take chicken out of the freezer and decide to grill it for dinner, then call to make the car appointment while getting online and ordering miracle carpet cleaner from Amazon, all within 5 minutes. I KNOW this and I KNOW how to do these things but something in me just gets stuck, and, quite frankly, I don’t claim to be a normal person. So I’m currently trying to focus really, really hard on the present, where if I stay really, really, focused, it’s peaceful happy, and generally a good place to be.
So how do we stay “present”? Stop that thief!
I know so many of us struggle to be “in the moment”, and why I can’t possibly get into all the reasons why, I can give you some small tricks and tips I’ve picked up that are helping me. True confession, my career stresses me out. I love my job but it’s that big word career that I struggle with. I’m supposed to be a badass hashtag girlboss entrepreneur. Sadly, I just had to use spellcheck to find out how to spell entrepreneur. I’m not competitive but I struggle with comparison. I don’t want to compete with others but I can’t help but compare.
Another great quote:
And by human nature when we compare, we contrast, it’s pretty much what we learned at an early age at school. Compare and contrast these two sentences/pictures/objects, see what makes them different. Different IS good, but, we are conditioned to think one version is better than the other. Again, I’m going to blame this on school, we look at choices or options and we determine which one is good, better and best. That’s just not real life. Stop that thought process that is robbing you of your own joyfulness. Focus on you and your accomplishments. Compare those to how far you’ve been and I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Talk to inner parent and inner child – just not out loud in front of people, preferably.
I’m throwing out yet another quote, this one from the movie that may have been overlooked by the Academy, but in my family it’s a masterpiece.
From Talladega Nights: The Ballard of Ricky Bobby
Poor Ricky lives his entire life based on advice his own father rambled out one day. But eventually his father even admits that it was stupid advice.
It’s Ricky Bobby’s dad who gives out this poor advice and it’s years later that he explains how nonsensical that same advice sounds. We strive to teach our children to do their best, and, to not compare themselves to what other people are doing. Does winning feel good? Hell, yeah. No one loses a game and says they feel great. You don’t bomb a presentation at work and think, “Wow, that felt amazing!” But what if we started treating ourselves like children again? While I wish that meant more snacks and afternoon naps, what I really mean is a little dose of kindness. I’m really hard on myself and pretty accepting of others. When it comes to my own attitude I don’t tend to pull it all together, put my big girl panties on, and go into battle. I’m more of a grab my blankie and go back to bed kinda chick, who then lies there and beats myself up for being that kind of chick. Good times. What if, bear with me now, you could take the rational adult out of your body, and have it have a chat with the frustrated, upset, confused child that is still in there? Even if you are not a parent I know you know how to speak and give advice with compassion. What would you tell this child version of yourself? I’m pretty sure it’s not “you suck”. Just try this for five minutes and give yourself some words of kindness, encouragement and reassurance. Then go in your room, slam the door, and take a timeout if you still get mad at your own inner parent for trying to help yourself.
Mind over matter.
Kids’ activities and sports are brutal these days. I recently had the very honest conversation with my son that when he is deciding to participate in an activity I want him to ask himself two questions.
Are you going to have any fun? Are you going to learn anything?
Hopefully he’s learning something AND having fun at whatever he’s choosing to do as an optional activity. I say optional because school is not optional and while I know he is learning many things, most of the time he is telling me how it’s not very fun. There’s also activities that we find ourselves in and realize that we aren’t having fun and we aren’t learning anything. We can’t control other people so why would we depend on them to make us have fun and to make us learn something. With the right mindset we can CHOOSE to have fun, and, we can CHOOSE to learn something, even in negative and/or boring situations. Mind over matter is HUGE. It’s so simple and yet so complicated because it involves actively listening to and consciously changing the dialogue in our minds. That dialogue can quickly grow into a chaotic chatter like listening to the ladies of The View talking over each other and arguing about who knows what. So turn the volume down and change the channel. Put on music you love. Take control by listening to your thoughts and sending the bad ones off to walk the plank.
Share your strengths…and your weaknesses.
A few years ago my friend and her family moved into a new neighborhood. The homes were pretty much picture perfect and the other moms looked the part as well. One of them came over to introduce themselves and drop off homemade muffins. Before you think this gets too Wisteria Lane-like, my friend shared with me the best part. Those muffins were had Halloween themed wrappers on the bottom, yet it was April. This is the moment my friend knew she’d become good friends with this neighbor because the kind gesture and cooking skills came with the big ‘ol reality check that says, yeah this is all the wrappers I had and I am good with that. Nobody likes perfection. It’s annoying and it’s not relatable. If she came over with homemade muffins, in a handmade basket with wrappers on the muffins that said welcome I think things would have turned out very differently. So why not share our gifts and strengths, put them out there and be proud of them. Just don’t forget to share the other real parts of your life, because that’s where we all can relate to each other. And when we relate to each other we understand each other. We forgive, we accept, we open up and we help each other. It’s a safe place, a happy place.
You’ve got to believe to receive.
This is the same thing I tell my kids every Christmas, mostly because I still love the fantasy and magic of the holiday, but boy have I been learning lately how very true it is. See I had this post finished yesterday morning and ready to post last night but yesterday afternoon I had a bit of a shakeup. I went out yesterday evening to go to the wine store and the grocery store. On the way to those two stores I decided to stop at on outdoor flower market. It’s finally feeling warm and sunny and I wanted something pretty by our door. I left the flower place and pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store and was stopped by a man in his car who politely asked if I had a pink wallet. Shit. He said he saw what looked like a pink wallet blow off the top of my car just outside of the flower place and he followed me her to tell me. I thanked him profusely and jumped into my car to go back to where I was. I was walking up and down the road and encountered another man who was working nearby and said he saw a car stop and grab what looked like a wallet off the side of the road. Double Shit. All my credit cards, drivers license, and contact info were in that wallet. This was either a good thing because the person would have no problem contacting me, or, a really horrible thing, as in identity theft. The pessimist in me quickly canceled everything and reported everything and went home and cried. Like really hard cried. I was so mad at myself. My mind quickly started the blame game and snowballed all the things I felt like I had done wrong. I was not being present, I was not paying attention and I was sick of always feeling like I am messing up. And then I threw myself in front of that runaway train in my head. Stop. Enough.
One of my best friends recently shared a really fabulous mantraof hers with me:
Show up and shut up.
It was time to do something and shut up all that crap in my brain. I posted on our local community Facebook page that if anyone saw the wallet, even if it was empty, that I’d love to have it back. I received so many relatable, funny, hopeful, kind and caring replies. A friend of mine wrote that one time her mom left their cat on top of their car. Yes, she was serious, and yes, the cat did indeed have nine lives because it survived until someone notified her mother to pull over. Many more women let me know all the places they have left and lost things so I didn’t feel like it was just me. I went to bed feeling oddly at peace. There was nothing I could do but send out good vibes into the universe and hope for the best. I was going to will that wallet back to me, somehow, someway. I also saw it as a sign as heavy as a rock being dropped on my head. I didn’t need that wine from the store last night as I probably would have drank too much of it and woke up tired and bloated. I needed to get rid of some of those credit cards that I wasn’t using and didn’t want to use. I needed to slow down.
This morning I woke up and hit the restart button. I had some cash in my other bag and I set out to Dunkin Donuts for my liquid motivation. I said another quick prayer to the universe and set a positive mindset. My father-in-law always says “keep the faith” and since our daughter is named Faith I think of this so very often. Two minutes later my cell phone rang with an unknown number. A man asked for me by and said he found my wallet in the middle of the road this morning, right where I had lost it yesterday. He was in the parking lot across from the Dunkin Donuts that I was headed to right then. I drove over and thanked the man profusely and then I cried in my car. I was so happy. Everything was in my wallet, even my Dunkin Donuts gift card. Today will be a good day.
*Insider Tip – Dress the part, play the part.
We’ve all heard the advice that sometimes you have to “Fake it till you make it”. Your clothes can help with that. Ever hear the term “Power Suit”? Or how about to “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”? There is truth to all of those pieces of advice, and yes, I don’t advise dressing like Batman at your current job unless you are Robin and work in the bat cave. What this really means is, sometimes you have to shop a bit outside of your comfort zone, stocking your closet with items that you know you can put on and FEEL differently when you are wearing them. I want to stress the emphasis on only going a bit outside of your comfort zone. Buying a cone-shaped bra will not make you feel as sexy as Madonna if your idea of wearing something revealing is open-toed shoes. Imagine your personal style to be a box. Now draw a circle around that box. When people recommend to go outside your box, a.k.a. your comfort zone, they don’t mean to go onto another planet.
Just outside that box, but still inside the circle is where you want to be. This way you stay true to who you are without compromising your character.
There is this really cool part of my job where I get to play fairy godmother to a Cinderella. As we all know, in the fairytale, Cinderella didn’t go all Bravo Real Housewives and change who she is when she put on that dress. She was always the same girl who was mopping the floors and she was always beautiful. The Fairy godmother didn’t make her beautiful, she simply placed her into a dress that made her feel beautiful. If Cinderella put that dress on and looked down, and slumped over and never made eye contact then she probably wouldn’t have danced with the Prince. It’s not like the Prince thought, wow, is she wearing a dress from the new Chanel Spring collection? He simply noticed her, as she was radiating because she felt beautiful. When we feel beautiful outside we start to feel beautiful inside. A dress can’t transform an entire person, but sometimes it’s the kickstart we need to start to feel better. A new haircut, a little makeup, it all helps us see to see ourselves a little differently when we look in the mirror, and, ultimately, think a little differently as well. So what can a woman who feels and looks baeutiful do? Anything she wants.
This is what I love about my job. I get to bring out the beauty that I see in my clients. But in order for me to see it I have to see them, as in really, truly see them for who they are, flaws, strengths and weaknesses. Making someone feel better about themselves? I’m not gonna lie – it’s what drives me, it’s what feeds my ego, it’s what motivates me to take this job and turn it into a career. I’m so damn lucky and so very grateful to have found something that I know I can do well. I don’t say that with conceit but with confidence. I build relationships with my clients and they mean everything to me. I mess up emails, I have missed deadlines and I’m disorganized as hell, but I will always work my hardest to make others see all the good that I can see in them. Finding clothes and a style that showcases the woman inside the dress, not just the dress. When I find that sweet spot of the outfit that truly fits the client, inside and out, that’s the joy. It’s the satisfaction of looking through all of the pieces in the puzzle box and doing the work to put the right two pieces together.
Just like a puzzle, there are more than just two pieces needed to put together the whole picture. I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for all of the other pieces in my life. From an efficient and talented tailor, to a well staffed salon with talented stylists, to a beautifully curated boutique staffed with helpful and kind sales associates, I need all of these people and places in my life to help me complete the picture with my clients. Much like Cinderella, it takes a village (birds, mice and a very large pumpkin) to carry out the whole scenario.
Stop comparing yourself to others, talk up your inner child, parctice mind over matter, share your strengths and weaknesses and believe to receive all the good you deserve. Find your people and hold on tight. Share your gifts and believe in the good. Ask questions and ask for help. Believe in your own beauty and share it, rock it and scream it. Go change the world.
Thanks for reading!