Recently I was invited to a meeting with a group of business professionals. I've met a few of them, but mostly I was going in on my own. I love meeting new people but as I was getting ready, I realized that one of the people who might be there is what in high school we would have called a "mean girl."
When Insecurity Strikes
Not a scratch-your-eyes-out kind of mean girl, but a woman I've seen be pretty ruthless with others and also not so nice to me in the past. I'd had a long day and I rushed home to change, then found myself standing in my closet, staring.
Before I realized what was happening, I decided I had nothing to wear that was "impressive" enough and the panic started. Of course I'm not talking about a full-on panic attack, but enough that I started looking at each piece of my wardrobe and inwardly judging it. Not from my perspective, but from what I thought was hers.
Focus on The Real You
Let me be clear: my intimidation is mostly from afar. But that doesn't necessarily make it any less uncomfortable. There in my closet, I started reminding myself of several things that I regularly encourage my clients to do. First, I remembered to breathe. Next I remembered that I have a closet full of clothes I love. Finally, I remembered that my first audience is always myself. If I dress as my authentic self - "The Real You" that I always focus on - it doesn't matter what anyone else may say or think.
So, I got dressed. I could go into details about what I wore but it doesn't matter. What does matter is that I went to the event, met people, enjoyed myself and yes, saw the person I was worried about. And as I watched her move among the crowd I realized, of course, that she is just like anyone else. We all have insecurities, and mine came out by being concerned about what I was wearing. Hers may come out by being less than sweet to others. Everyone has weaknesses, but the only ones we can control are our own.
A Word to the Wise (and Self-Aware)
Afterward, I was happy to have been at the event and looking forward to other such evenings. So here's my advice to you. Wherever you go, remember who you are. And I mean at the core. Dress for yourself first and don't forget that if you have a closet full of clothes you love, The Real You will show up every time.
I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.