Recently, I decided that entrepreneurship is like a language. You need to immerse yourself in it to become truly fluent. And you need to surround yourself with a steady stream of conversation partners to STAY fluent.
For most of my adult life, I've thought about leaving the corporate world. I've entertained thoughts of being a freelance copy writer or PR/communications consultant. I've dreamt of writing books and starting agencies. I've debated joining forces with colleagues who have launched design firms or web development shops.
I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about being happy professionally - not so much actually doing it.
A tireless worker bee and grade-A know-it-all, I know I have the stamina and business acumen to do whatever I want. I know Mr. Diabolina and my mother would be 100 percent supportive. I know my friends who encourage me to do it believe in me...even when I don't believe in myself.
You see, I lack one critical ingredient for being truly successful professionally: balls. I may come across as larger than life but I'm also painfully sensitive and a people pleaser, first and foremost. Plus I can be a worrier. AND the consummate planner.
The feast or famine, "fly by the seat of your pants" dynamic of being on one's own quite simply terrifies me. It's what's made me cling to a series of stable if not dream jobs over the last decade.
Over the past two years, the blog has helped me approach both professional and personal fears. It's helped me reclaim my voice, gotten me back into writing. It's helped me open up and own my talents again.
Last year, the blog even led me to take on some styling projects. Working with clients as a stylist was something I had NEVER pondered but ended up really enjoying. The best part: meeting ambitious, amazing women like The Modern Type and Jordana Hazel who happen to be their own bosses. No such thing as a coincidence, right?
Another by product of the blog is that it's redefined many of my long-term friendships. It's made them richer and more authentic. Friends have gotten to know different sides of me better; they have gotten to see the myriad of interests and skills and OTHER friends I have.
One of these friends is The Brown Devil, the husband of one of my grad school besties who I have known for nearly a decade now. He started a branding firm a few years ago with some well-connected partners and has worked on major film, music and product campaigns. They regularly work with celebs like Snoop Dogg and Travis Barker. They are - for lack of a better idiom - blowing up. BEYOND proud.
Last month, The Brown Devil approached me to help with a pitch for a fashion client that had come their way. They were one of 5 firms - narrowed down from 25 - in the running for a 4 month contract. He wanted me to develop a social media and traditional PR product launch plan and come with him to New York to help pitch the clients.
I was simultaneously thrilled and nervous. I didn't want to disappoint him. I didn't want to disappoint myself. I started doing what I do best: worrying.
Then one night, inspiration struck and I stayed up until 3 am and banged out the pitch. As if by magic, all my creative juices started flowing again. I remembered just how much I know and how much I can do. And I realized just how much of a nose-dive my self confidence took when I wasn't vigilant. F.
Suddenly, I felt invincible and most importantly I recognized myself again. Even better, The Brown Devil LOVED my work and that's how I found myself in NYC the week before last.
The Brown Devil and I started the day at Kinko's for some last minute prep for our pitch meeting with the client and then grabbed some tasty sustenance at City Bakery. I heart a place with a marshmellow curtain, glorious maple biscuits and cookies the size of my (large) head.
In the afternoon, we met up with The Brown Devil's three UBER talented partners and one of their lovely interns (who just happens to be a fabulous blogger too) at their NYC office. We presented for 5 members of the client's corporate team. And, well, we killed it!!!!!!!!
More importantly, I got a glimpse of a different kind of professional life. A life where I'm hustling everyday but a life where I am engaged and excited and around like minded, supportive, amazing peers.
We find out this week if we got the contract. If we did, we're going to have to figure out how I work on the project. Maybe part time to start.
Even if we don't get it, there are more fashion clients waiting in the wings. And I have ever increasing faith that things will work out how and when they are supposed to...one just has to take chances and have faith.
Back to the night of the presentation: The Brown Devil and I enjoyed a well deserved Happy Hour. Ducked into an Irish pub. In honor of our Irish spouses back home.
The luck of the Brown continued at the new bar underneath the Hotel Marcel. When I ordered a Glenfiddich I got a pour that was enough for 4 people! Loooove bartenders who don't quite understand how scotch works.
Knowing I would be down for the count if I drank even half the glass, I encouraged BD to get it up to his room. No need for good scotch to go to waste. Living up to his name, the Brown Devil managed to sneak it out in his jacket pocket with minimum spillage. He is my hero.
Left The Brown Devil to enjoy himself before his late business dinner and headed to Peaches' place to meet my new Labradoodle nephew Rufus. As anticipated, we loved each other on sight. LOOK AT THAT GINGER FACE!! Got in quite a bit of cuddling and love bites before dinner at oldie but goodie Buddakan with Mr. Producer's brother and his wife.
Fantastic seeing my Peach per usual. And of course grubbing with him. We are soooooooo one fried rice short of needing a Kristie Alley intervention.
Fashion District dress, Bebe Boyfriend Blazer, Phllip Lim coat, Alpaca scarf, DKNY tights, Tory Burch heels, Forever 21 studded bracelets and belt, Chanel earrings and Foley + Corinnina bag
The first thing I did when I found out about NYC: beg my mom to borrow her newish Phillip Lim coat. I knew it would be the perfect gold buttoned, fierce shouldered thing to take me from business to boozing to Buddakan. Thankfully my mom was so excited for my NYC adventure, she consented.
Decided to keep the palette of the presentation day outfit mostly black and pretend to be a New Yorker :) Peppered in some of the moment accessories to pull the professional but fashionista vibe together. Felt fabulous from the minute I slipped the look on.
The dress - which I've worn before here and here - was my nod to spring florals. And ruffles. And all things girliness.
The print and the frou-frou detailing reminds me of some of my favorite looks of late - Prada and Christian Siriano and McQueen and Chanel
But I toughened up the pretty princess feel with new studded bracelets, an old studded belt and killer heels. One can never look too precious on the mean streets of New York. Or in the boardroom.