COLUMN: Dress for success
Driving towards my sister’s (Milly) home in New Jersey, I was looking forward to her accompanying me on my speaking engagement at a women’s retreat...
COLUMN: Dress for success
Driving towards my sister’s (Milly) home in New Jersey, I was looking forward to her accompanying me on my speaking engagement at a women’s retreat. It would be a 45-minute drive from her home and was anticipating sharing laughs and childhood memories. I was delighted for the company.
Arriving at her home, suddenly, I began to feel a sense of panic flush over me. No! How could I have forgotten. Sure enough, I forgot my outfits that I had planned to wear at the event. What was I going to do?
Having no time to shop at the local mall, franticly, I rushed to my sister’s closet. Being close in size, I began to look for outfits that would personify professionalism and confidence.
“Ok. I got it. Let’s work on the tops first. This scarf would match with this shirt. This jacket will go well with this blouse. Sis, do you have any skirts?”
What a complete nightmare. Her pants and dresses did not fit me. And there it was, deep in her closet, an old skirt whose time had elapsed its generational use. It was the one used during her party days. Oh my. Having no choice, with time running out, I grabbed it and headed towards the conference.
Walking across the stage, towards the podium, I sensed gasps and a few giggles from some of the ladies in the audience. Yep. That outdated party skirt had a long slit on the side showing most of my leg. Hoping no one noticed, I walked briskly across the stage. But it was too late, after hearing all the snickers.
When I arrived at the podium, I had no choice but to begin with, “Well ladies, it is going to be an interesting weekend for us all!” I proceeded to tell the tale of my forgotten clothes and the only choice of this questionable skirt that my sister was already determined to throw away. When the laughter subsided, I continued with my presentation.
Having that skirt only in my repertoire of apparel, many of the ladies searched in their own rooms to see if they had anything I could wear. Throughout the weekend, the ladies were thrilled to see me wear their different outfits. It turned out to be a great three-day event filled with laughter and amusement. They patiently waited to see which of their outfits I would wear next. Someone even threw in a hat that I just had to wear!
Although the weekend was about personal growth and working towards success, the conference was transformed to a new title: “Dress for Success.” The ladies contributed what they could to make me feel welcomed and comfortable despite my absentmindedness. I truly felt their care and compassion. Dressing up turned out to be more about the value inside us.
During my last presentation, I asked the ladies in the audience to write down what they learned through the weekend. I compiled the list when I arrived home especially after seeing my event outfits hanging by the door. The lessons they shared with me, I have worn on my mind daily. Their moments of putting on their apparel turned into the kind of mental clothing I should be wearing for my own
S – Stay positive especially in challenging situations. It helps to see the bright side of personal trials and to have a sense of humor.
U – Understand that not all “plans” will go as “planned.” Be flexible. Be open minded. Be resourceful.
C – Commit to achieving your goals despite the obstacles in the way.
C – Changing your clothes is necessary, but changing your attitude is a choice. So, choose wisely.
E – Enthusiasm for what you love will shine through despite your apparel. Passion is the best outfit one can wear.
S – Smiling is the best and most beautiful ensemble one can wear. Life may be difficult but surely there are blessings one possesses to cause for a smile.
S – See the best in situations and people despite the outward appearance. We do not know their journey. They do not need to be offered an outfit of judgement but encouragement, understanding, and kindness.
Compiling this acrostic from their evaluation comments of the weekend, never have I been so lavishly dressed. Not only speaking of the clothes shared, but of the emotional garments that truly made me successful in their presence.
Dressing for success takes on more than an outward appearance. It begins from within. How we “dress” our minds at the beginning of each day sets the tone as to what garments we share with others.
My sister’s one time party skirt, unthinkable for a professional speaker to wear at a conference, left her closet one last time with a glorious twirl.
Diana Jaworski, F.O.C.U.S. Coaching Services, is a certified coach, teacher, trainer, and speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team. Learn more about personal growth by visiting her website at: www.dianajaworski.com.
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