There is a woman I know who emanates style with every move she makes. Every time I see her, she is dressed impeccably, moving through her day seemingly effortlessly, and commanding respect from those around her without demanding it. There is a difference you know.
I have watched her for years and have asked others about her so I could get a piece of the action. Oh yes, I copy others. Imitation is the best form of flattery after all. Isn’t it?
After all of my inquiry and my keen observation of this particular style mentor of mine, I have come to this conclusion. What seems effortless is actually the result of intense preparation. She is constantly studying her professional journals and is continuously networking with experts in the field of education. She surrounds herself with friends that are goal oriented and have well-established value systems so her day-to-day routines and dealings with others is not out of sync with her internal compass.
She only buys clothing that reflect her personal style: Classic with an edge. She dons a business suit to drive home the serious nature of what she does with the unexpected beautiful white ruffled blouse just peeking out and a glimpse of a few long strands of pearls that are mixed with metals to keep her current. Hair is chin length, yet feminine. Shoes are classic pumps with the hip buckle. She does not have a lot of clothes and accessories – just the right ones that are timeless and easy to adapt for different functions and seasons. She is in her mid fifties, yet the most youthful person I know.
She travels the state and must be ready to change plans on a dime. One would think that this makes it impossible for her to have a plan in place. Quite the contrary. Her steadfastness to her plans frees her to be able to do what she must to meet the unexpected demands of the people she serves. When her clothes are clean and classic, her makeup routine simple and in her bag ready to go, her job-related reading and projects up-to-date because she honors herself enough to not procrastinate, and her family’s grocery shopping done in advance and laptop in tow, she is able to pick up and go where she must without causing upheaval in her life. Her coworkers left behind at the office know the “plan” and continue with it in her absence. Her family has what they need and thrive because of the well-established routines already in place, while she fulfills her professional obligations away from home. And she, herself, is “together” on the road because she has learned to prepare for the unexpected and now expects it.
This preparation does not happen by accident. She takes time every week to plan, prepare, and practice. She plans, taking into consideration all those she loves and for whom she is responsible. She prepares by reading the latest professional journals and by networking with others in her field. And she practices her craft by calling others, emailing them, or visiting their offices to pass something new by them. I have witnessed her reviewing a presentation with her cabinet (she is a high-level state education administrator) prior to a major state meeting, asking for honest feedback – and getting it. Needless to say, the actual presentation is always fabulous.
So, I have incorporated the 3 P’s in my life. Oh, I back-slide and have to research, pray, and just make myself “do it”, many times over. But it gets easier with practice. And I am worth the peace it brings when it all comes together. With that peace I get a fulfillment food and drink cannot, even temporarily, give me. My addiction becomes a little less powerful everyday I honor myself with my planning, preparation ,and practice.