Thirty Day Challenge

A Few “of the Week” Thangs
To go along with my post thang

Quote of the Week

“If you feel great about yourself, others will think the same” – Magdalena Yesil

Word of the Week

Gravitas: dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner

Podcast of the Week (and past thirty days):

“Powering up your Professional Presence” by Magdalena Yesil (from the “How to be Awesome at your Job” podcast, which should really be called “How to be Awesome at your Life,” but he’s gone too deep already, I’m sure of it…)

Background of my Thirty Day Challenge

 I left you hanging in the last post about my most annoying idiosyncrasy, according to Papa Cheeks (you can find what I’m talking about in the Dinner of Truth–directly before blaming society’s selfishness for this gun epidemic in This Tragedy isn’t about Guns. This Tragedy is about Us).

If you’ve been dying to know, the thing that most annoys him is…

(drum roll, please)

My lack of confidence.

Yes, being annoyed about someone’s lack of confidence does seem like an asshole move, I agree – but just hear him out before you get your nickers in a bunch, okay?

The Conversation

K&CJ
Actual footage of our “Dinner of Truth”


(as I remember it…. a few beers in, of course, and definitely NOT how the Dinner of Truth is supposed to go…)

Papa Cheeks: Why do you always think you’re the “ugly duckling” of any group? Like, what makes you so insecure about yourself?

Me: Well, I think it all started in high school…

(conversation-turned-monologue)

(fast forward to talking about “mid-twenties” me)

…. And then I’d go out with (so and so), and I’d always be in her (or their) shadow(s), because guys always wanted to get with her (or them), but almost never me, and I guess I just don’t care enough to be in the lime light.. I don’t know.

Papa Cheeks: Okay, I was honestly just trying to get you to say it yourself… There’s nothing any more special about those girls than you, the only difference is they try harder. Your friends come over and you think because you’re home you shouldn’t get out of your sweatpants. Most girls just try harder (yep, he had to repeat it, as if I didn’t get the kick to the gut the first time) even on the daily – they put on make-up, they care about what they look like before they go in public.

(defenseless Momma, OUT)

Me: Okay, but my friends shouldn’t care about what I’m wearing if we’re just chilling at the house. Some of them do it too – they come in leggings or whatever. I mean, why can’t I be like one of those Lulu Lemon moms who just, like, look cute in their workout clothes all day, every day? AND, why should I have to wear make-up to prove that I’m “pretty?” PLUS, I have a LOT of friends who really don’t try much harder than me before we go out, yet they are still the ones getting the attention.

Papa Cheeks: (trying to be the neutral party, per usual, agreeing on some things, being calm and collected with his points… like, just fight with me already! I’m ready, I’m fired up! let’s do it! Feed into the fire! Shit.) Okay (as he does a little shoulder-shrug, as if he can see where I’m coming from, even though he really doesn’t get it). I guess what I’m saying is, you never know who you’re going to run into, or when. If I went to the grocery store in my sweats, and ran into [name someone important in his soccer community here], I know he’s not going to take me as seriously – doesn’t matter my knowledge of the sport – because I’m not taking myself or my public appearance seriously. BUT, if I run into him in a nice pair of jeans and a nice shirt, he’s going to think of me as more professional – that’s just how people are wired.

Me: *Murmur murmur*, *babble babble* (mention lululemon moms again, get more defensive…) Okay, but you have time to do all of that… my childless friends have time to get ready in the morning, look cute, whatever.

Papa Cheeks: I’ve literally seen you put your make up on and get yourself ready in 10 minutes.  I mean, look at you now – you did your make up in the car on the way here (a ten minute drive), and you look great.

Me. (pause – was that just a compliment??) (more murmurs) Well thank you! (move back to defense) When I was a teacher, I was always wearing make-up and  wearing cute clothes. But now I have a kid, and no offense (definitely yes offense), but generally I’m the one taking care of him in the morning, getting him dressed, feeding him, etc.. We’re lucky we even get out of the door on time, never mind if I allowed myself more time to put on make-up and do my hair and look nice.

Papa Cheeks: (realizing the conversation probably isn’t going to go anywhere from this point) Okay, you’re right, I agree I haven’t been helping out as much in the mornings as I was for a while – I’ll start helping out more.

Me: Okay, … (I don’t remember the rest, but I’m sure I didn’t just stop with my excuses…)

The Morning After

I’m cleaning the gym (I work at a gym, guys… I don’t just clean gyms for fun, if you were wondering), catching up on some podcasts, and “Powering up your Professional Presence” comes on the How to be Awesome at your Job podcast. Karma sits back in her imaginary chair, puts her hands behind her head, and smiles.

The podcast is an interview with Magdalena Yesil, and her focus is Professional Women. I think, “hey, I’m trying to be professional woman… sometimes… okay, woman always… professional, working on it” So I pay attention to the podcast just a little bit more. She’s talking about the whole “look good, feel good” mentality – if we leave the house feeling confident about our appearance, then we are going to feel confident through-out our day. If we leave the house worried about how we look in our clothes, or how our hair looks, or if someone is going to realize the bags under our eyes, then we’re going to direct our focus on our insecurities, rather than the important things. Basically, these insecurities transfer into everything we do; if we’re in a meeting and we’re not confident about how we look, then we’re going to be less confident in the meeting.

So, start your day feeling good about yourself, and continue to feel good throughout your day. Practice gravitas (see the word of the day if you don’t know what that means – I could, also quite possibly, be using the word wrong, but you’ll understand enough…), and others will take you seriously – professionally (Simple enough. Sounds familiar to another person’s advice… can’t… put… my finger… on it…)

There’s more to the podcast, of course, like being the first one to extend your hand for a handshake, but this is what I absorbed…

no clue why….

The “Give a Shit” Challenge

Papa Cheeks held onto his promise, and started helping out more in the mornings, leaving me around 5 minutes to not run around like a chicken with her head cut off. With those five minutes, I began a “self-improvement” month of “trying harder, for public appearance’s sake (and self-confidence sake…).

I started simple: eyeliner, mascara, and running a comb through my hair, if nothing else (yes, there were days I didn’t even brush my hair. I’m not proud). It was so easy to get into.

I immediately started noticing that I was less concerned with how people viewed me, and more concerned with what was going on throughout the day.

Then, I started focusing more on my clothes – I started matching my outfits more, I started… wait for it… IRONING.

Yes, I was still wearing leggings and a t-shirt, but I put more thought in whether I was actually comfortable in those clothes (not, like, “ooo, so comfy,” but like, confident comfortable… you get it. You get it, right?). If I wasn’t, if there was any hesitation of “will this body part be too showy,” or “will I look too bloated,” or “are these pants too small for my winter, hibernation body?” then I changed.

And then the rest of life happened…

  • By the end of the 30 days, I conquered some important strides in Cheeky Things (networking opportunities, an INTERVIEW for an upcoming magazine article, a new client).
  • I began to worry less about my relationship with Papa Cheeks – if he was being distant because of me, if he was even being distant (ohh, good-ole insecure imagination), or if it would really matter in the long run – along with all the other insecurities that come with a relationship.
  • I began to work harder.
  • I cared less about rejection (hoping to the gods no one tests this too strongly…)

Could these changes be coincidences?

Yeah, definitely.

But also, maybe not…

Some solid examples of a more “confident” me:

  1.  I sent quite a bit of emails out to try and grow my networking community with people in similar industries as myself this month. Out of all of the emails I sent, I received less than half of what I sent as responses to those emails. Sure, it irks me that people won’t even send a “thanks, but your business doesn’t really seem like it would mesh with mine,” or whatever – but literally nothing.
  2. Not only did I send a bunch of emails, but I got one back that said, “Thanks, but I’m not interested.” And that’s it. That’s all. Not, “Thanks, but I’m really too busy right now to take something else on,” or, “thanks, but I already have a cloth diaper person,” or anything… just, “thanks, not interested.” Basically, a VERY polite “nah, fuck you, but thanks.” As you can tell, this one did irk me more than not getting any response, but only because the business this woman owns has a very similar client base as Cheeky Things… but, again, I took it, and while I’m still (obviously) talking about the rejection, I’m not obsessing over it, and wondering what’s wrong with me, and what I could have done to piss her off, and what I could have said instead in order for her to want to meet me, and blah blah blah…  as I am known to do from time to time (Bet you wouldn’t have guessed).
  3. I was told I’m getting “thick” by, not one, but two people, and while it was meant as a compliment, no girl wants to hear that she’s noticeably gaining weight. Although I would normally start obsessing over my food intake, and start working out twice as much (maybe three times) to get my body back, I took this as a confirmation that all of my pants weren’t actually shrinking, and I was, indeed, getting “thicker”… and then I took the so-called “compliment” as an opportunity to go shopping, and purchased two new paints that didn’t suffocate me every time I sat down (we alllllll know about those pants, don’t we, ladies? And gents, I guess.. if you’re into that type of thing).
  4. I received another email from a super bitchy type of person, who was supposed to be working for me, stating one thing or another that she seemed to think was obvious, but wasn’t obvious at all unless you worked in her profession. The response I wanted to give, and that I would have given if I wasn’t feeling so good about myself, was slightly aggressive and definitely rude. The response I gave: “Okay, thank you so much for taking the time to look into that for me so late in the evening! Have a great night!” BAM. I kissed that bitch with so much kindness, I could feel her cheeks getting red from the other side of the screen… and it felt SO GOOD!!

There have been more moments, too, but I won’t bore you with them all… four examples are enough.

The Moral (and other relatable things)

  1. Looking good to feel good must be a real thing, because I’m feeling it. Even on my most discouraging days, I just “keep swimming” and don’t look back. My OCD of failures has definitely diminished, and I would like to say I’ve become a more positive, collective person since then. PLUS, I’ve only cried, like, once this month, so… hell, fucking, yeah!
  2. I challenge YOU to try a “thirty day challenge” similar to the one I embarked. Maybe you’re already spending a solid amount of time getting yourself ready in the morning, but you still feel that insecurity… Find what you’re insecure about. I mean, really tap into your feelers for this one (if you need a Papa Cheeks to lay it to you straight, then… find your own. I’m not sharing) – and challenge yourself to do something about it. Start with baby steps, and before you know it, you’ll be going above and beyond (and in ways you never imagined) (baby steps are key – the bigger the challenge, the less likely you are to stick with it).

Be the Change

-Momma Cheeks

PS: This is definitely a challenge (it’s called a “challenge” for a reason guys, COME ONNNNN) that needs continuous TLC. If you stop working on yourself and your confidence, then the frustrations, the insecurities, and those obsessions over failure come flooding back.

Don’t think I haven’t had a few set-backs, I just choose not to focus on them.

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