Living with the intention to never compromise my commitment to approaching every situation in life and business with grace is something I’ve realized will never be a perfectly balanced act. There are discouraging times I feel like ruthlessness is the only way to get what I want, but my moral compass never allows me to stoop to certain levels. My Mama always said, “you catch more flies with honey.” Being gracious and ladylike doesn’t mean you’re a push over. It means you succeed despite people’s incorrect assumptions that you cannot maintain your femininity while climbing the ladder to success. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found 4″ heels give me something to dig in with on that daily climb! My established personal style and need for things “to be pretty” while I work isn’t a hindrance — it’s the foundation by which my brand and business succeed! My aesthetic has made me the success I am today. We’ve all heard that saying, “bless your heart,” right? Southern women know it has a myriad of meanings; you know instinctively what sort of blessing is being bestowed based on the tone, inflection, attitude and expression of the woman who just said it. She didn’t raise her voice, use course language, become aggressive or argumentative, did she? Every hair was in place, and her nails perfectly manicured. Yet, you know exactly what she meant by those 3 words. They could have felt like the hug of an angel or the most dire threat to your life and everything you hold dear!
A daily dedication to a lifestyle (both personal and professional) based on a gracious outlook has served me well. I don’t believe in being one person at home, and another in the boardroom. While I am frequently tired of being underestimated, knowing I’m going to blow someone’s expectations of me out of the water is that much sweeter when I’m able to do it with the air of a humble, yet victoriously reigning and beloved queen. Being underestimated has proven to be my greatest weapon at times.
I wish I had a magical piece of advice to bestow on you, but I only have what I know from personal experience to pass on: Don’t compromise. If it feels like a dirty deal, it’ll be dirty money, earned in a way you won’t sleep well with at night. You may end up waltzing about town in Louboutins, but if you don’t respect yourself, it means nothing. Put in hard work, ask for opportunities BEFORE they are available, make opportunities if they never seem to come along when you need them, don’t take advice from anyone you don’t trust and be able to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and blow yourself a kiss. Still not sure about what to do? Think about your 6 year old, 13 or 21 year old self — would she be proud of you right now? Are you a woman she can look up to? Trust that gut instinct. It’s usually right.
Living life at a girl boss pace, while maintaining style and grace, has never been more attainable than it is for women right now. Seize the day!