A couple weeks ago, I went into a large and local establishment to get my oil changed. Now, this wasn’t your typical run-of-the-mill automotive shop. This was, dare I say, upscale. It is a newly constructed building with beautiful architecture. When you bring your vehicle in to get serviced, you pull up to the huge garage doors that open up automatically. You drive inside a beautiful garage that looks so clean it could be used as an operating room.
Once you have your car inside, you walk through the double glass doors and are always greeted by smiling faces and helpful staff. After checking in, you head around the corner to the waiting area, and wonder again if you’re in the right place. The tall ceilings and stone surrounding screen high class. There are plenty of seating options such as individual chairs, tables, or comfy chairs in front of the TV and fireplace. The refreshments are always fresh, and you have a selection of cookies, coffees and espressos, and soda to choose from.
I know when I go in there that it will take at least an hour to get my vehicle done, so I always bring work with me. This particular time, I had my computer and a notebook, so I chose a table in front of a window, and settled in to get some work done. There were two older gentlemen in the waiting room, both enthralled in the news broadcast that was on TV. Just as I was really getting into my work, in walks this lady.
Now, I am not a judgmental person, so at first, I hardly noticed her. However, after she sat down and pulled out her phone, I couldn’t do anything BUT notice her. She plopped herself down in the middle of the room at one of the comfy chairs. Her purse clunked to the ground and she sighed loudly before exclaiming, “SH**, it’s been a long day!”
Now first, I do not swear that often, but especially not in a room full of strangers. I understand that there are some people that have no problem with it, and to be honest, it seemed like she had a rough day. Besides, if you can’t swear in the waiting room of an auto shop, where can you, am I right? So, again, I din’t judge and I just went back to my work.
This gal was on her phone the entire time she was there. Because of the projection of her voice, I knew that she was a bartender that was excited to attend the free concert at the fair that night with her friends. No, she didn’t have a boyfriend anymore and she didn’t care if he saw all his stuff torn up on the curb when he got off work that night, he wasn’t invited to the concert. Her daughter had a rough day, too, because while we were sitting there, he daughter’s van stalled 4 blocks away from the house and she had to make several trips to carry all the groceries to the house. And no, the automotive shop wouldn’t be open long enough for her to get it towed there and fixed, so she would be without a car till Tues (it was Sat). This conversation was had mostly inside, but I’m not sure what details I missed out on when she went out for a smoke a couple times.
I felt bad for the circumstances this gal was facing, but I was impressed with her moxie. She showed grit and determination, and even a happy spirit, and I love those qualities in a person. I was enjoying her stories and even wondered how I could offer some help to her. She never took the phone away from her ear long enough for me to feel good about interrupting, so I simply sat in the background. Then, she did something that surprised me so much and made the men in the room so uncomfortable that one just got up and left and the other kept side-eyeing her while shifting in his seat. She started clipping her toenails!
Yes! You read that right! She was sitting in this beautiful, brand new waiting room, in front of three other people while on the phone, and she pulled out a fingernail clipper and started clipping her toenails! She didn’t take her thong off her foot and she was holding the clippings in her hand if that makes it any better. But she was just sitting there clipping her toenails!
Folks, I don’t even like it when my 9 year old son clips his fingernails in the living room. It just grosses me out. I make him clip over a closed sink, and gather up the clippings to throw in the garbage when he’s done. But she had no problem doing it in a public area! Moxie.
This is what I thought about when I left that day. How am I showing up in the world? I am not saying that we need to change who we are for the sake of fitting into society or other people’s definitions of how we should be. But really. How am I showing up in the world? I really took a look in the mirror (figuratively) and wondered how other people saw me. Again, it doesn’t always matter. Other people’s opinions of us are NOT our business. What does matter is how I want to portray myself, and if I feel like I am doing a good job at it.
I am a business professional that chooses to wear jeans to work almost every day. I have naturally curly hair that I straighten almost every day because I feel like it looks messy when I don’t. I have put on weight over the last five years and know that I choose clothes that make me feel confident until I catch a reflection or an unflattering picture of myself in that outfit. Then, I will never wear it again.
I am a very caring and open person, and I know that I have kind eyes. I want people to see my eyes. I want people to know they can always talk to me, always trust me, and I will always have their back. I am loyal and I am a leader. I am someone that will hold you accountable for the tasks you were assigned, and I will speak the truth to you even if it might sting a little. But I also give the best hugs afterward.
So those are the things I know about myself. I am self-aware enough to understand that how I present myself to the world matters. I have two tattoos that I never worry about hiding and I don’t like to show my legs. I don’t change myself to make others more comfortable around me, but I do tailor myself to my audience. When I speak to a group of older business professionals that wear suits and ties to the office, I meet them with a suit on. When I speak to a group of young mothers that want to find purpose, I wear a torn shirt and curly hair. Haha…just kidding. That’s just what I looked like when my kids were really young.
The point is, are you showing up in the world the way you want the world to know you? If you are, awesome! If you’re happy with where you are in your life, that is perfect. However, if you are wanting to land that next big client, are looking for your soul mate, or are even just wanting people to know that you are kind and caring, are you doing your best to portray that? The image you choose to present to the world is 100% up to you. Just make sure it aligns with who you truly are, and how you are wanting the world to see you!