Not bad for a fat girl


Fake it Til You Make it

There’s a famous story about Mary Kay cosmetics founder Mary Kay Ash. It is said (and I have no idea whether it’s true or not) that each morning before she began calling potential clients from her kitchen table she had a routine. She would dress professionally, including stockings and shoes, do her make up carefully (after all, that was her product), and style her hair. Only after she looked like a million bucks would she begin her sales calls. On the phone. From her house.

No, nobody saw her. She could have been in curlers wearing her pajamas, after all, her clients couldn’t see her. But she was convinced that it made a difference. She presented herself as a successful business person, and to her clients she came across as exactly that. The woman built an empire, and you still see the occasional pink Mary Kay Cadillac driving around.

Her story isn’t unique. Many successful people report that they behaved as if they were already a success before they achieved whatever goal they sought. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers provides more good examples of the ways that people set themselves up for success. A strong belief is one piece of the success puzzle, and one over which we have control.

I’m a writer. I’m successful. I think of myself as a writer, and behave like a writer (whatever that means), and I let people know I’m a writer. Do I have a book contract? Not yet. Have I been printed in prestigious periodicals? Not yet. But it’s coming.

What makes me a writer? Besides my mindset, it’s the numerous small things that I do. Here are a sampling of my “writer” things:

1. I have a dedicated place to do my writing, I call it my studio

2. My hard drive is called “writer’s den”

3. I receive and read publications for writers (Writer’s Digest, Poet’s and Writers, and the Barefoot Writer)

4. I submit my writing to websites and periodicals for publication (and guess what, sometimes they get published)

5. I blog, regularly

6. I attend writer’s workshops and conferences

7. I have a writing partner and we meet to read and critique each other’s work

8. I seek out good writing and read it

9. I have a writing website currently under construction

10. I write!

There are others too, I’m sure. It’s just a part of who I am.

What makes you a ______________ (fill in the blank)? Until I have a byline in the New York Times or a book deal I’m going to keep doing the things that make me a writer. In fact, even after those things happen I’ll be doing these things.

Do you believe in “fake it til you make it?” What steps have you taken in your own life along these lines? I’d love to hear from you.


What Do I Look Like?

This is a phrase we sometimes use when someone asks something of us that may seem unreasonable.

“Will you drive me to Target to buy an expensive game five minutes before closing time?”

“What do I look like, a chauffeur?”

“Will you make lasagna for dinner tonight?”

“What do I look like, a chef?”

“Did you bring my charger along?”

“What do I look like, a mind reader?”

But really, what do I look like? I have so many roles that I play that sometimes I think I need a wardrobe manager to help me keep my costumes straight. Case in point: the other night I sat down to write but I just couldn’t get into it. I wasn’t sure why, but then it hit me. I wasn’t in the correct outfit. I was in the clothes I had worn to school. Teacher clothes. I looked like an elementary school teacher. I felt like an elementary school teacher. I didn’t feel very writerly. I changed into something far more comfortable and got down to business.

Wearing the right clothes for the occasion makes a world of difference. You would feel like an idiot working out in a sexy dress, but wear your gym clothes to a fancy party and you’re equally uncomfortable.

Of course we’ve all heard the old saying, “the clothes make the man,” but how does that work? I think it has very little to do with the clothes themselves and almost everything to do with mindset. When you can look at yourself and say, “I look pretty good,” you have accomplished something. Most of us are our own worst critics, and if we can get that critic on board, we’re well on our way to convincing the rest of the world.

Sure, there are certain items that you put on that no matter what make you look great. There are others that don’t do you any favors. Honestly, though, a morose or angry woman in a stunning designer dress and heels has nothing on a joyful or placid woman in a t-shirt dress and flip-flops. imagesAudrey Hepburn in Funny Face is a perfect example. She rocks that awful sack of a dress in her first scene. Still, if you want to make an impression it does make sense to try to match your attire to your desire. Hey, I just made that up. I like it.

It reminds me of the old story of Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. According to the story, each morning she would dress in her best outfits, complete with hosiery, shoes, and accessories. Naturally she would do her make-up ¬†and hair too. Then, when she was dressed to the nines, she would begin her day’s work. At her kitchen table. In her house. On the phone. Nobody saw her, but the confidence she gained from putting on her “uniform” or her “game face” helped her to become a force to be reckoned with. Had she made her calls in curlers and sweatpants I doubt we would know her name or her brand today.

This is the reason that I’m in favor of school uniforms for kids. I truly believe that they get into school mode when that uniform goes on. I don’t care if the uniform is a simple t-shirt and shorts. The idea is that it’s something specific just for the job of going to school and learning. There is also a sense of community that is built through the wearing of a uniform. Go to any major sporting event if you don’t believe me. Fans happily sport their team’s attire in order to become part of a community of supporters.

Listen, I’m no fashionista, and ultimately everyone wears what they want to anyway, but for me being a writer entails donning comfy clothes with stretchy waistbands. It may not be haute couture, but what do I care? After all, what do I look like, a model?