OK, so I have moved the majority of my former life clothes out of my closet and into another closet. The plan is if I don’t want to wear them when they are out of sight, then they must be out of mind.
The next step to decide what should stay and what should go. My plan is to pay it forward, just as one of my mentors did for me many years ago.
I remember the day one of my mentors invited me out to her car at lunch. She opened the trunk, and there it was . . . Nirvana. A trunk full of suits. She asked if I would be able to pay $300 for the entire wardrobe and I did, even though that was a lot of money to me at the time.
It was the best $300.00 of my life, because as I wore those suits, I started to feel more confident, more professional and I felt like anything was possible. She didn’t say it at the time, but this was her way of helping me to improve my professional image in the workplace and increase my self-esteem.
As I started to wear the clothes, people started to notice. I was surprised at the time that anyone would notice but they did. They began to treat me differently - more like a peer and less like their note taker. I was invited to the table and I learned from the discussions. My ability to contribute grew as did my confidence and my career.
Let me be clear. Clothes do not replace the intellect. A great wardrobe does not make the woman but a great wardrobe helps a great woman enter the arena with style and confidence every day. Having style and a fashion sense is a gift and a talent than can be honed, but having a great wardrobe to draw from helps. And it is not about money. It is about structure, good fabrics and understanding what story each piece tells in its wearing.
Breaking up is hard to do. We have been through a lot together. These suits carried me through executive meetings when I was presenting proposals or leading them through strategy meetings, board planning sessions, client meetings and through work related social events. Each piece has a memory woven into it that only we can ever understand.
Letting go of these pieces also means finally saying good bye to something that I have missed, and that is my career as a strategic planner in the corporate world. Saying goodbye means accepting the present and allowing myself to make room for the future. Saying goodbye is letting go of the attachments that these clothes contain. Saying goodbye is letting it all go. Once and for all.
I gave the suits to a young professional with the hope that she will be empowered by these suits of armour as I had been. The other day, I saw her wearing one of the pieces, and I have to say, it looked better on her than it ever did on me.