I wore my hair a different way.
With my switch up, a sense of confidence invaded me. So I took one of my newest blouses out of dryer and I switched my bra so that my shirt would look just right.
When I got to church this Sunday morning, I was about 10 minutes too late to sit in the main auditorium. I was placed in the second overflow room.
My church is easily the most chic in Miami. The room could have easily passed off as the neighborhood café. There were seats for about 50 people. A live stream from the main auditorium was projected through a big screen TV.
Being just the second person to walk in, I could have chosen anywhere to sit; in the back, in the far left, far right… or even front and center. You know what I chose right? The latter.
As I sat there, I could feel how the room started to fill up behind me and then it hit me. Why in the world would I choose to sit front and center? Was my confidence boost from the morning in any way influential on the bold move of sitting right in plain view of everyone in the room?
Probably if I would have worn a piece from my most outdated collection of clothes and put my hair up in a bun… I would have chosen to sit against the back wall. I’m pretty sure.
That use to be me all the time; faded out, blended in, neutral, beige dressing, sit-in-the-back… me. It has not been an overnight transition but I know that from the position of my heart to the color of my clothes, I am different.
If you feel like you’ve been “blah” lately. If you’ve let your kids become more important than how you feel about yourself. If you’ve been a little negligent and stopped trying to seduce your husband because “what the heck, you’ve got him already anyway!”
Then girlfriend, let’s refresh; you deserve it and the people around you deserve the best you! Here are my top tips accompanied by pretty funny life-experiences that have helped me stand in confidence.
Self Confidence in 3, 2 1
A few months ago a friend was hosting an event to screen some of his latest short films. Naturally, I wanted to be present to show support in the project. That and I love a good networking event. What I did at this event surprised even the introvert inside of me. That’s why I think it’s a great example to get you out of a rut and shinning like never before.
1. Dress the part.
In this occasion it was a red-carpet event. Lil’ old me began planning straight off of Pinterest. I didn’t always do this but planning my outfits for any event has been a real game-changer.
Have you ever heard the saying “you won’t get a different result by doing the same thing”? Well, I use to wait until the morning-of a big day and stress over not having anything appropriate in my closet. THAT was the first mindset I had to change.
Birthday party, baby shower, first-date, play date… you name it and the outfit will be planned. So if you ever catch me bumming it, I either didn’t plan, I didn’t care… or I’m on my period. (Dang, putting myself out there lol)
Back to my red-carpet event: I found the dress. My cousin had actually sent it to me from Colombia and I had never worn it before. I tried it on and it was perfect. With the dress chosen, I intentionally went to the mall specifically for the accessories and the shoes.
I wanted to look the part. I found the most gorgeous black, open-toe, thin heels and swipe! I considered it an investment because I’ve worn them numerous times now with different outfits. They are fabulous. To finish off, I scheduled my mani-pedi just a couple of days before the event and even made sure to self-tan.
The result: I felt like Anne Hathaway straight out of the Devil Wears Prada! When you FEEL fabulous, you project fabulous! This is just as true for every-day work attire as it is for red-carpet events. You deserve to feel your best any day of the week… don’t save it for special occasions.
2. Whatever you do, don’t stand alone
Oh goodness! How hard is this?!
Well, it’s not as hard as you think. When we stand by ourselves in a room full of people, we either project being super stuck-up or very uninterested (or uninteresting lol).
Years ago a wise woman shared that thought with me and it still resonates many years later. So here’s my crazy story about not standing by yourself.
When I arrived, there was a transition between the viewings of the featured films. I knew literally nobody other than the host but obviously he was busy attending to guests. So the young lady at the check-in table became my first victim.
As opposed to just walking in and sitting down alone, I went around her check in area and started conversation. I found out she was recently in Miami from California and she was also in the film business.
We talked for a good 20 minutes, followed each other on Instagram and ‘til this day still keep in touch through our stories and posts. I love that I’m able to celebrate her modeling and acting wins. Just with her, I gained a friend.
Then, the show started again… since she had to stay in her post, I had to think quick! From far away I noticed an actor friend of my friend that I recently started following on IG. You know what I did right? Yeap, I walked my little self walk straight up to him and his son who were already seated ready for the next film to begin.
This is what I said, “Hi! I recognized you from Instagram so I thought I’d come and introduce myself.” Haha! He obviously shook my hand, was super kind and asked if I’d join them for the show. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how you don’t stand alone.
Again, I met another great person who I admire for his love and dedication to his art. Yes, he laughed at me for quite some time for my abrupt introduction but it worked didn’t it? You guessed right, Instagram buddies for life. Haha
I met two other incredible talented photographers that night. One with whom I had lunch and a photo shoot with recently. (Oh yea! The one I was with when my car got towed! Love you Krizia!)
It is simply wonderful to be confident enough to not stand alone. When we don’t step out and face our fears we are literally missing out on opportunities and blessings. To me, the blessings are to have met all these wonderful people in just one night.
3. Speak with authority
I think you can tell so much from a person with just two things: how they greet you and how they shake your hand.
Sure, the shaking of hands has been replaced with fist bumps in many places… but in the occasion that you do shake someone’s hand, please don’t give a wimpy, half palm, barely present shake.
Make sure your hands meet palm to palm, tight grip and firm two up and down shakes. Especially as a woman, I like to let this person know I’m present, I’m strong and I’m not afraid.
Whoa, that wasn’t even my point! My point is, speak with authority.
In the morning when you walk into your workplace, look each person in the eyes and say “good morning” with a tone of voice that’s just loud enough for them to stop what they are doing and respond.
When you cross paths with someone in a hallway, say “hey, how are you?” and then… WAIT for an answer! It’s like we don’t realize sometimes that we are actually asking a question. If you ask me how I am and you keep walking without giving me time to answer… I swear I’ll think you’re a fake. Lol
When I took my trip to New York, I was at a crossroads many times. I was alone so I had to be smart. My slogan the entire trip was: “Pretend you’re local!” Only sometimes, I knew I had to ask for help or I might end up in an entirely different and unsafe place.
So I asked. With confidence and a strong voice, I asked the most decent person I could find, “Is this the stop for the shuttle bus?”
Just like that, we have to practice being outspoken. Not loud, not ignorant, not inappropriate… just present. Don’t miss out just because you’re scared to ask.
We’ve only got one life…
When I was 27 years old, I sat beside my grandfather’s death bed and watched him take his last breath. Much quicker than I imagined his entire body turned pale yellow and I knew, my abuelo was no longer there.
About a month before that moment I went to go visit him at one of the hospitals where he was being treated. It was the last conversation that we had just him and I. I asked him how he was and he told me that he felt better but that they were recommending another round of chemo.
He said (in Spanish), “I am going to talk to the Doctor when she comes in and I am going to tell her that if another round of chemo is going to have me depending on people to feed me and care for me then I don’t want it.”
Here’s the most powerful part. He said, “I’ve had a good life. I loved my wife, I loved my children. I got to see grandkids and great grandkids. Now it is time for me to go.”
Gosh, I can’t help but drown in tears every time I bring him back from long-term memory.
We only have one life. There is no time to spend doubting ourselves. Sooner or later we’ll be there too… on our final hour. When I get there, I want to say just like my abuelo, “I’ve had a good life.”
So here goes sweet friend: Create a life that you love. I believe in you!