Through the (looking) glass door

True story: I was invited to participate in a focus group held by a well-known specialty retailer (hint: one of Michele Obama’s faves—and mine). I was thrilled. I love the clothes, the customer service is non-pareil and the catalogs make better reading than most fashion magazines. So off I went to the Four Seasons in anticipation of a memorable morning. Which it was, but not in the way I expected.

I was just about to cross the threshold of the hotel and I froze. That old fear of walking into a room full of strangers—whom I imagined to be much chic-er and younger and more accomplished than I—stopped me cold. The old tropes, which I thought I had put behind me long ago, re-asserted themselves: I wouldn’t measure up. No one would talk to me. And what was I doing there anyway?”  

Whether it was the swish of the door or an impatient throat clearing behind me, I somehow made it into the lobby. And thought, “Jerk!” (addressing myself in tones far less kind than I recommend to you, my faithful readers). “What is wrong with you? You look perfectly fine. After a lifetime in marketing, you can just about write the questions and answers yourself. What would you tell a client?”

I knew what I would say. “You can do this. Just straighten those pearls, smile and walk through that door. You never know what’s on the other side.”

And so I did. The retailer’s marketing and style team were welcoming. I met delightful women from all over the city, working in marketing, government relations and the law, on the Hill and for a variety of startups—all with just on thing on our minds. Our wardrobe.

I learned a lot about the coming season. Color! Wide pants! Statement jewels! But more importantly and once again learned something about pushing through the discomfort zone.

We all have our fears and insecurities. The trick is to power through them.

How?

Just smile, straighten those pearls and walk through that door. Your bravest and best { self } is waiting.