I have a little secret. Something that only my immediate family knows. Something, that as a stylist, I would never dare to share. Something that I am only disclosing because the threat of exposure looms. So here it is: I wear Sponge Bob socks. With my boots. Like, all the time.
A few months ago, I bought my nine-year-old son a pack of Sponge Bob socks and upon closer inspection he decided that they were too small for him. In order to prove that they weren't, I put them on my (much larger) feet. They fit perfectly -- nice and snug and no sliding down. I was hooked.
When my not-so-darling husband saw me wearing them, he threatened to expose me -- to take a picture and post in on the Internet. He wanted people to see what the stylist really wears, underneath it all. And while I knew he was kidding, I decided to take control of the situation and out myself. Now you know.
So why am I wasting your time with this seemingly useless information? Because the whole situation got me thinking -- that you never know what goes on below the surface or behind closed doors. That what you see, isn't always what you get, isn't the whole story or even the truth. That sometimes you see what you want to believe or what someone else wants you to believe.
Quite often, we perceive people or situations to be a certain way and may at times limit ourselves as a result. Sometimes we let it affect what we do, what we believe we can or can't do and what we can or can't achieve. I know I'm guilty of this and see others do it as well.
I once had a client hire me to help her get a promotion at work. She and another co-worker were being considered for a position in upper management and there was only one spot to be filled. Her competition was a woman with similar qualifications but with what seemed to be an advantage -- she looked and acted the part. This woman dressed the way upper management dressed and exuded the confidence that she had what it took to be the winner and get the job done.
My client felt that she had neither the look nor the confidence and because of what she saw in her competition, almost gave up. She decided she needed some help and with a little work, not only did she end up looking and acting the part, she had the confidence she needed and got the job. Many months later she found out that her competition's confidence was really an act to mask her fear and insecurity about feeling truly unqualified for the job.
Fortunately my client didn't allow her perception of the situation to keep her from going after what she wanted, but all too often I see both men and women do just that. They build other people up so much that they find they just don't compare and can't compete.
Women often tell me that they couldn't possibly wear certain things because they feel they won't look as good as someone else, even though they love the items or outfits. Men often tell me that they can't wear a certain look because they're not "that" guy -- usually meaning someone much more confident, charismatic or with a certain physique. It's a shame really -- that they limit themselves and compare themselves to people who they often don't even know or who they've built up to be something they're not.
So if you ever find yourself limiting your options, comparing yourself or competing with someone whose story you think you know, just remember -- you never know what goes on below the surface or behind closed doors. They might just be hiding a little secret. Or two.