Once upon a time, I worked in an office full of people who were thoroughly miserable. Each had their own, special reason for whatever variety of misery from which they suffered. However, it was expected that anyone fresh and new be inducted into the downer club as swiftly as possible.
My own induction happened when, on my 2nd day, a co-worker welcomed me to Hell. For real, he said, “welcome to Hell.”
As hard as I tried to maintain a positive attitude, the misery gremlins sucked me down into said misery Hell, and soon I was wishing for fender-benders on my way to work and regularly begging my husband to let me quit. Putting on a brave face for 3 years wasn’t easy.
Why am I telling you this story? Because, during my tenure in misery-town, my 30th birthday had come and gone, rather anti-climatically, and I knew that my life needed some spiffing up – specifically, my image and wardrobe.
But I put it off because 1.) I didn’t want to deal with the snarking that would inevitably happen behind my back (and probably to my face as well) and 2.) because I knew that dressing better would probably get me some positive attention when I wasn’t marooned on Misery Island from 8 to 5 every week day.
The truth was, getting a compliment would mean accepting that my image had improved from something that maybe wasn’t all that great. It would also mean that I had a slight obligation to maintain that improved image; nobody ever wants to see someone slide back from improvement.
Eventually, I got over it. My desire for self-improvement soon outweighed my irrational fear of both someone else’s meaningless opinion of me, as well as that pressure to maintain.
The compliments came – but it wasn’t always easy. Sometimes I got, “hey, you look really great today!” which was easy to respond to with a simple “thank you!”
But sometimes it was more like, “why are you so dressed up?” or “you look really different lately.”
It was tough, but I fought off the urge to explain away with things like, “oh, well, you know – I’m doing this thing where I’m trying to dress more like a grown up …” Instead, I took any comment on my appearance as a compliment and said thank you.
After a few weeks of simply saying thank you, regardless of whether I was responding to a comment or a bona fide compliment, accepting that I had earned this new look became easier and easier. And, just like that, my image was improved.
Soon, many things began to fall into place for me. Once regarded as a joyless chore, shopping for clothes got easy and fun. My confidence improved and I took on some creative projects outside of work. But, ultimately, I had the pleasure (and luck) of being liberated from my post when my job was eliminated.
Clearly, I didn’t belong there anymore. It might have been just coincidence, but I prefer to think that, by improving my wardrobe, that I improved myself right out of that awful, soul-sucking job.
Speaking of coincidence …
Shortly after I wrote this, I ran into one of my co-workers from this job. If there was one person who was actually pleasant to work with, it was her. She said she’s been reading my weekly fashion pep talk, and was it obvious – she looked amazing! Black cowl neck top, cardigan, jeans and pointed shoes for a Saturday family date night.
Rock on, girlfriend.
Hey peeps, registration for Style Camp is open for April! And word on the street is this is probably the last month that introductory “launch pricing” will be available. So, if you’re thinking about taking control of your personal style and using it to make amazing things happen in your life, claim your spot now!
The program includes my Style Camp workbook, 2 or 4 one-on-one sessions with me, access to our private online network of style-campers and your very own, custom-curated pinboard of looks especially for you.
To read oodles of testimonials and see the amazing things program participants have done with their wardrobe, visit the Style Camp page and sign up for April’s session!