Esprit, that was the brand of the first piece of clothing that I ever purchased myself. It was a black shirt with quarter length sleeves and white piping around the neck. I can remember going to Dillard’s with my mom and handing $24 over to the cashier. This was my hard earned money from weeks of delivering the Western Hills Press and a couple nights of babysitting.
I wore this shirt to picture day in fourth grade which was a huge deal given the fact that I wore a uniform every other day during the school year. Picture day was a chance to show your style and if you didn’t pick something good, your style credibility was destroyed for the year. You’d have to wait 365 days to redeem yourself. I’d like to think I nailed it that year.
That Esprit shirt was a little like the gateway drug for me.
I love clothes. I enjoy getting dressed in the morning and rarely if ever do I look at the weather when picking out an outfit, it’s all about how I’m feeling.
I’ll admit there are days when I’m actually a little scared to walk out the door because I’m not completely confident in the look I’ve put together. There are also days when I think my look is super cool, but then someone hits me with a large dose of reality and I realize the kelly green linen pants, blush pink sweater, metallic gold gym-shoes and faux fur coat, maybe isn’t the look corporate America was hoping to see. On those days, I just have to own it. I tried something and it didn’t work, but tomorrow I'll be back at that clothes rack trying to work in yet another risky piece of clothing.
Seventeen years later the risk factor that I’m working with is a little greater than what the Esprit shirt provided, the most recent piece being black velvet overalls. The look is something between mom’s dropping me off at a play date and I’ll be in the barn milking a cow, then off to brunch in the city.
I was for sure scared to wear my overalls for the first time but when I put them on, man did I feel good.
I thought about the number of times that being scared has kept me from feeling my best or being my best. The number of times I’ve not contributed to a conversation because I was scared the table would judge me or the times I opted out of an activity because I was afraid of failing.
Being scared is what success hides behind. You’re not going to have a cheerleader by your side every second of life. It’s up to you to be that cheerleader. You have to be the one to tell yourself to do the scary thing, all the scary things. Go after your dream job, wear the ridiculous outfit, talk to the cute guy, do the challenging workout. Get in your head and be the positive voice.
Be scared. If you fail, tomorrow is a new day. And hot damn who knew that velvet overalls could make you feel so powerful?