when I was lucky enough to attend the Harpers Bazaar/ Kailis Jewellery Fabulous at Every Age event in Sydney.
The invitation had come in the mail three weeks earlier. My initial reaction was that it must have been a mistake – these events are for the glamorous and well recognised in our society aren’t they? Yet here it was and it clearly said that “Kylea Tink” was invited. Maybe this is what Cinderella felt like when she peaked at the invite to the ball?
I guess that what surprised me most is that the anxiety started from the time I opened the envelope!
I guess what surprised me most though was that the anxiety in me started from the time I opened the envelope!
You see I was meant to be travelling to Perth that day to build support for our business in WA. Most of my meetings there were cold calls though and so, from a purely business perspective, I found myself weighing up where the better opportunity to connect with people might be. Well at least that was what I told myself – you see I think the real internal dilemma for me was whether or not it would be being shallow tp chose to go to an event like this? I mean could real business connections be deepened in this sort of environment.
And there was the fact that, while the event itself certainly had allure for me, I was also desperate to meet Dr Kailis herself. I had heard her story on one of my earlier trips to Perth and found it really inspirational. It’s a story of a woman who took her skills in one area and applied them to an area completely left of the centre and as a result revolutionised an entire industry, and at 80 Dr Kailis is still charging ahead. I had wanted to meet her for some time but our flight paths had literally never aligned and, yet again, I seemed to be facing that challenge.
And finally there was the very personal issue that I had to tackle – my internal doubt about whether or not I could “pull it off” and not be discovered for someone who was so completely out of place! There were so many things to consider – the thought of trying to work out what I should wear made my heart race, and my hair – well lets not go there, and let’s face it – summer has only just hit so my winter layer of warmth is still hanging to my hips.
Did I really want to put myself into an environment that I imagined would be so amazingly glamorous when I wasn’t going to be looking my best? Surely 6 months notice would have been fairer warning?
So I asked a colleague who had worked in the magazine space what she thought I should do and when she didn’t even hesitate with her answer I knew I had to try and push all of that aside and just go. As she said “if you don’t go you’ll never know”
The morning of the event I was in such a mood. Challenge is usually an environment in which I thrive – I mean I’m 40 something, a Virgo and a CEO – surely a littler event shouldn’t rattle me, but on this particular morning I was feeling very vulnerable and uncertain.
The morning of the event I was in such a mood. Challenge is usually an environment in which I thrive – I mean I’m 40 something, a Virgo and a CEO – surely a little event shouldn’t rattle me, but on this particular morning I was feeling very vulnerable and uncertain.
My hubby (who I love) was oblivious to what was going on and unfortunately when I asked for his expert opinion on what I was wearing he commented that he thought I looked a bit like “a bloke” (I mean wide leg silk pants and a see through organza blouse might have been ok in a fashion sense but my hubby wanted more leg and less cover). Thank goodness my 6-year-old daughter overrode him though and said she liked the pants otherwise a week’s worth of sleepless nights would have been for naught.
Then at work, I was like someone powered by pure adrenaline. I pushed my team through our normal fortnightly meeting in 30 minutes rather than the usual 60 and I delegated and created like a demon. I had to do it this way to stop myself thinking about what was to come and whether or not I could pull that off. As 12:30 hit though I knew I had to leave the safety of my office, and this world that I know so well, and head into the city for the event.
Parting words of advice from the team:
– You look lovely
– Smile and just enjoy the moment
– Remember to align your ear lobes with the top of your shoulders – it takes 2 kgs off instantly!
From the time I got out of the taxi I found myself looking at other people – was she attending (she looked amazing) or him (he’s shoes were so cool). And then, at the top of the stairs, there was a photo wall. I mean what was I supposed to do there!
The gorgeous girl in front of me (in wide leg silk pants I might add!) confidently dropped her handbag on a near-by chair and posed – beautifully. Long flowing hair over one shoulder, one foot forward and definitely skinny arm (as my guys here call it). Then the photographer was looking at me, so I took a huge breath, said hi, and dropped the han bag in the same spot. I don’t know if my foot was forward, I know my shorter hair certainly wasn’t over my shoulder, but I smiled and just hoped that whoever vetted the photos later wouldn’t call the editor over to ask how this person had managed to crash the event.
I don’t know if my foot was forward, I know my shorter hair certainly wasn’t over my shoulder but I smiled and just hoped that whoever vetted the photos later wouldn’t call the editor over to ask how this person had managed to crash the event.
Into the room I walked …. not a familiar face in sight. Champagne was offered and I gratefully accepted (at least there was something in my hand). I’m pretty sure I was still holding the breath I had taken as I walked in. Then momentary relief – I did recognise someone, but a brief conversation ended in her turning her shoulder to me to air kiss someone else and rather than stand there looking lost I felt the best thing to do was press further into the crowd.
Then a second face I recognised, a smile but no real conversation, and a distracted look by myself over my shoulder (with a desperate thought pattern running through my head pleading that I would find someone to chat to) and then an actual friend!
The team from Kailis is made up of some of the loveliest people you will ever meet and I am fortunate to have been working with them a little this year as they have stepped up to support the Foundation. And so I found myself chatting to one of the girls that work there and the very stylish lady she was standing with. An older lady who seemed to have sought and found a very comfortable space against a wall. We talked about travelling to Russia, stage shows with the kids and grand kids, and the fact it had taken her 50 years to be accepted as a local by her family in WA. Of course you guys have guessed it – this was the very person I had hoped to meet – Dr Kailis. She was everything I had hoped for with something more that I didn’t expect – you see I think she was actually just like me and also nervous about being in the room.
Then another smiling face this time someone much younger than me. I had met her, her mother and her sister when they attended our High Tea in Sydney recently. They were such nice people – I was genuinely pleased to see her. It was her first time out by herself to one of these events and she confessed to also being quite nervous. Suddenly I found myself in a role which I did not expect – that of the “reassuring one”. Encouraging others to relax in the beautiful environment and finding conversation points that would connect four women who literally had a life span of over 60 years between them.
In the interests of not boring you I can then tell you the rest of the event went quickly. There was a speech from the Editor praising her team for their work (which was lovely to hear), a series of beautiful photographs of some inspiring women and Dr Kailis herself speaking and offering words of wisdom and I can honestly say, I really enjoyed the lunch.
It wasn’t as scary as I had thought. Sure – I wasn’t the most glamorous person in the room, and I certainly wasn’t the most highly recognised, but I had a lovely afternoon and I learned something I didn’t expect. That is that even those who face the cameras frequently, and live in that world that most of us observe from afar, also experience anxiousness and nervousness sometimes. I suppose at the end of the day it is only human to fear rejection, isolation or judgement and none of us are completely exempt from those emotions.
I suppose at the end of the day it is only human to fear rejection, isolation or judgement and none of us are completely exempt from those experiences.
So what now – well I really don’t think there is any risk that I am about to become a regular on the social pages, but I do think the next invite I receive (if I’m lucky enough to ever get another one!) might just be met with a little more confidence … oh – and I will definitely book a blow dry for the morning of and ask for some tips for standing against a photo wall!
Have you even found yourself faking it until to you made it? How did you get yourself through? All tips and advice so gladly welcomed.
Your’s in faking it until we rule the world x