It was the morning of December 1, 2011 and I was getting dressed to speak at an event in Baltimore, MD. This was my first live speaking engagement after having gone through my “dark night of the soul” in 2010.
I had to dig out my fancy speaking suit because it had been packed away. It was a beautiful brown tailored suit with a long coat and pants that fit like they were custom made just for me. I had a sparkly top to wear underneath and just the right pair of shoes.
So, I got myself dressed and looked in the mirror. I was surprised to discover that I really didn’t like how I looked or how I felt. I wanted to jump out of my skin! Or… my suit!
When I looked in the mirror, what I saw was someone who put on a “costume” to try to get people to perceive me in a certain way… together, successful, sharp, smart, etc. What I realized in putting this suit on for the first time AFTER I had changed so much on the inside.. was that I didn’t need a suit to try to get people to perceive me a certain way.
I was the way I was whether I was in a suit, yoga pants, jeans or a dress. Clothes didn’t make me who I was… I am who I am on the inside!
So, as the clock ticked and I needed to leave for the speaking engagement I tore through my closet trying to find something that looked and felt RIGHT! I put on all of my old speaking outfits, the tailored pants, fancy shoes and sparkly tops. NONE of them felt like me… they all felt like a show.
The only thing in my closet that felt right were my favorite pair of jeans and one of my long sweaters. But, I thought, “I can’t wear jeans for a speaking engagement… that’s so unprofessional.” I think that inner critic was alive and well from my days of being told I couldn’t wear jeans to church… that I needed to look nice (for other people).
Then… I heard Frank Sinatra in the back of my head singing “I Did It My Way.” So, I did it! I put on my jeans, a simple tank top and my favorite sweater. The only thing that I kept was the great pair of shoes. I felt amazing! I felt like me! I felt like I could walk on that stage and feel 100% aligned with my message. I would have been out of alignment if I showed up in a fancy suit… that just wasn’t me anymore!
This may seem like a small thing, but it was truly liberating for me!
So, I want to ask you now. What small thing are you doing that’s compromising part of who you are? Do you dress a certain way but not really feel at HOME in your clothes? Do you say or do things you don’t really want to do, just because you think you should or wonder what others will say about you?
I encourage you to look for those small and seemingly insignificant ways you may compromise the essence of who you are. Instead… listen to Frank Sinatra and be willing to Do It Your Way! You’ll feel better – and become a more open vessel for your soul’s essence to shine through without anything getting in your way!
You deserve to do things your way – your book, speaking, coaching, dressing, living – you’re the only one on the planet who can “do” you!
If you’ll excuse me now… I need to go put on a pair of jeans and head down to the conference!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this… and how you “do it your way!” Please comment below…