How often is a girl passed over for promotions even though her work is efficient simply because her appearance casts the wrong impression on her abilities? How often is a woman left out of a club or a party simply because her appearance and manners do not “fit in” with the group? How often does a woman miss the love and romance she seeks because she has not learned to convince others of her true charm?
These tragedies occur daily. A girl faces heartbreak and disillusion simply because she has not learned to paint a proper picture of herself for the world. Women hold themselves, their husbands, even their children back from the goals they seek. Tragic, yes–because it is so needless. Needless, because any woman can achieve the realization of her dreams once she acknowledges the importance of making the most of herself. ~ John Robert Powers, “Secrets of Poise, Personality and Model Beauty (1960)”
Our charm mentor, Mr. Powers comes on a bit heavy handed in this quote but he does have a point: We need to be aware of the messages we send to the world. If we don’t, we put our dreams and aspirations at risk…and, in a roundabout way, our family’s dreams, too. Simply put, the world will not recognize our best qualities until we present them effectively.
Here are five reasons we should strive to make the most of ourselves:
- We are our spouses’ business partners. Like it or not, people will make some judgments about our spouses’ professional acumen based on their interactions with us. At conferences and business-related functions, we are an extension of our husbands.
- Doors are literally and figuratively opened for us. If a choice is to be made between two equally qualified women, the position will go to the person who carries herself with more poise and confidence.
- The basics of poise and charm assist us as we navigate new surroundings and situations. Life isn’t a “romcom” where the flustered person looks adorable and wins the heart of George Clooney. Usually that sort of person is told to “calm down” all too frequently. We want to be known as someone who carries themselves well regardless of what the new environment may throw our way.
- When people respond in an authentically positive way toward us, our self-confidence improves.
- In the United States, we are told we can be anything we want to be. And that is true…to an extent. If we want to break through some social or career barriers, we have to be mindful of our language, elocution, behavior, the amount and type of makeup we wear, and clothing choices. Think: My Fair Lady and Pretty Woman.
First impressions matter. So do second and third impressions but the first one is the hardest to change. I’d like to share a lesson in contrasts. I was running a few errands on Saturday and the temperature was in the triple digits. But, as I try to always do, I was “dressed.” This particular day, I was wearing basic black sleeveless dress accessorized with a vintage gold pin, comfortable heels, and had my hair up in a French twist (because it was cool, not necessarily for the Audrey effect!). One of my stops was the mall and I was walking through a department store I don’t normally frequent. I thought they were remodeling because every department had sections curtained off. I discovered they weren’t remodeling, though, when several sales clerks invited me to the special sales section behind the curtain. After I politely declined one offer, I heard her tell another woman who wanted to go behind the curtain that the special sales were by invitation only for their best customers. Well, I didn’t have an invitation and I think I average about $50 a year that I spend in that particular store so I certainly don’t qualify for “best customers” status. I guess I made a great first impression because I was one of the few women not wearing flip flops and bikini tops to go shopping at the mall that day (okay, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean).
Are you ready to be transformed? In our next exploration of this topic, Mr. Powers will teach us how to accentuate our positive assets!
To your fabulous Technicolor life!