A wonderful message for women of all ages, but for men too:
You don’t have to try so hard.
Beyond the body image that Colbie Caillat portrays, this message is about being authentically the gift you are, just as you are.
It’s true in every life situation.
It’s what makes great leaders great, and is behind all spiritual practices too:
Be authentic VS. living according to please others
(Cause you won’t …AND will be overlooking the gifts you bring.)
Actually, to date, this has been one of the best pieces of career advice I have been given.
It was given to me by a dear person, who had worked with the Clintons before, during and in their rise to power, and yet never let any of it go to her head.
(We’ll call her Jane.)
It was 2001 and I had zero experience putting together events yet I found myself working with Jane to create the first ever National Book Festival for the Library of Congress and First Lady Laura Bush.
In a land of suits and power, Jane would show up to meetings in khakis and remain in the “back seat” (as I call it). She wasn’t out to prove herself or wield her position of power. Instead, Jane used thoughtful calculation run most situations without it being obvious.
She had big guns and never needed to brandish them… to validate her role, opinion, or presence. Not once. She rarely mentioned who she knew. It was of less relevance than getting the job done.
It was amazing to watch and everyone respect having Jane around because Jane was Jane. Jane knew how to build consensus. She knew how to manage power and authority. She knew where she began and ended, and how to connect from that place.
It was a glimpse into the ultimate attractiveness and power.
For me, I was green and only 10 years into my career. I wanted to prove myself and that I can do anything I put my mind to…
Yet, I had never volunteered at an event let alone produced one as big as this. There should have been a team of ten working on this. We were two.
So I poured my heart and soul into it. I worked day and night to fast track my knowledge and stay one step ahead. I pep talked myself everyday:
"Never let them see you sweat!" "Fake it ‘til you make it." "Smile and sail through."
Then came the day when all eyes - representatives from Congress, the White House, Library of Congress, internal dignitaries, media, Secret Service, etc, etc. - were all on me to unveil the vision and plan we had devised.
The mic cracked. My hands were shaking. I had a surge of defensiveness in my tone to compensate for feeling insecure.
And the words of my esteemed colleague rang in my ear, "Don’t try so hard."
In other words,
Stop trying to prove myself - I am enough today just as I am.
I know what I know and that is enough. I am smart enough to figure the rest out.
Don’t overcompensate in any moment. The ego out of control creates enemies.
Be the best version of me where I am today.
The event was a success and continues on today, but what is more important…
was what Jane taught me intentionally or not: The key to true power (and beauty) isn’t forced or manufactured.
Colbie Caillat also reminds us it’s not in a lipstick tube or how the hair is styled. It’s determined by the watch you wear or what names you can drop.
As I began to separate my worth from my role/title, how I looked, what I was wearing, my need to prove myself and be perfect, I gained a freedom to laugh, consider others in new ways, become creative. Only then did I see doors begin to open.
So I wonder, what if we all take off our armors and just be ourselves?
What would the world, our lives, families, relationships, work environments be like if we accepted ourselves and each other where we are?