L to R: Kristy Villa, Tracy Beckerman, Danielle Knox, Lindsay Maddox
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to fly from my home near Seattle, WA to Raleigh, NC to meet up with The Balancing Act hosts on their Raleigh stop of the Balance Your Life Tour. The idea was that, along with Tracy Beckerman, my friend and partner-in-crime, I’d be interviewed by Danielle Knox for one of the show’s TV segments. I knew I would be out of my element. I mean, I’m a writer, not an on-camera personality. And more than that, I’m an introvert who is trying her darndest to adopt an extroverted personality.
Tracy and I arrived to the Southern Women’s Show on Friday and met Danielle Knox and Kristy Villa, along with a whole slew of crew and producers that we’d be spending the weekend with.
I immediately went into my default personality mode and shy girl emerged. I stood behind, walked behind, and didn’t speak up.
The next day, we were set up to film our segment. To my dismay, I learned that there were several people, if not most, who had assumed I was Tracy’s assistant. Now, I love my fellow funny lady and admire her immensely, but I do not want to kiss her butt or carry her crap around.
When I realized this was the impression I had left, I knew I had to fix it and fix it fast. After all, I am my own entity. I am Lindsay Maddox, birther of many offspring, writer of funny words, and author of Silly Mom Thoughts. I am nobody’s assistant. Fortunately, first impressions mean a lot, but they aren’t devastating.
Saturday morning, while Kristy and Danielle were getting into hair and makeup, I pulled a chair up near them and said, “Okay, I just found out that I’m giving folks the impression that I’m Tracy’s assistant. I’m not her assistant and I don’t want to come off that way. Obviously, I’m lacking in some confidence. Give me your confidence tips.”
They looked at me, they smiled, and they hit me with so much fantastic, genuine advice, it was all I could do to avoid bowing down and thanking them. (Somehow, I don’t think that would’ve improved my “trying to appear more professional” situation.)
As soon as Kristy was done in the chair, she ran me out to the expo hall.
“A lot of your confidence comes from your wardrobe,” she explained. “Next time, no flats. Put on some heels.”
I stared down at the simple sandals I had brought along for comfort, since I knew I’d be on my feet.
“Also, no jeans. A dress, maybe a suit. You already look young, you need to dress older. You look like you just walked off of a college campus,” she coached.
Normally, I’d love to be compared to a fresh college student, but in this case, she was definitely right: I needed to present myself more professionally. She found a shirt for me to wear and although it wasn’t something I loved, I bought it, in attempt to embrace a more adult-looking side of me.
After about 10 minutes, the producer had to practically drag her away to make it to film an off-site segment. I thanked her for her help and I could tell she enjoyed taking me on as her project.
I stood in the expo hall, surrounded by jewelry and adorable clothes and had an idea:
I couldn’t afford to buy an entirely new outfit, but I could borrow it! So, I approached different vendors. I told them that I was going on camera and that I needed a more grown-up look. I offered to promote them on my page in exchange for them allowing me to borrow their items. I promised to return them when I was done.
White skinny jeans. Cute. Sure, they were jeans, but they were a significant style upgrade from the $7.99 Old Navy jeans I had on.
I took a picture with Danielle Knox and looked at it.
“Are you guys sure this shirt really looks okay?” I asked Tracy and Danielle.
“It does look good, but how do you feel in it?” Danielle asked.
“Uncomfortable. It’s not my personality at all,” I shrugged.
“You should go change, then,” she smiled.
I put the pink tank and super cute jacket back on and kept the white jeans. This outfit was much more “me.” Another expo vendor had a necklace that I loved and they let me borrow that, too. I had my hair done and Tracy and I had a makeover as a part of our segment.
I felt more confident. I walked around and chatted with expo-goers. I asked them about their kids, I talked about The Balancing Act. I made a name for myself using my personality and confidence.
So, I didn’t take Kristy’s advice on the shirt, but if she hadn’t called me out on my college kid style, I wouldn’t have been motivated to have the confidence to ask vendors if I could borrow their clothes and accessories. I wouldn’t have had the motivation to change into not only a different outfit, but a better mindset. Between Kristy’s flurry of excitement over my willingness to change my style to create a more professional appearance and Danielle’s kind words that encouraged me to be confident but also be who I am, I have learned a great deal.
Next time, no more shy girl. It doesn’t open up opportunities for me and it doesn’t do me any justice. It doesn’t help me reveal the fun, quirky person that I truly am. And next time… heels.
Lindsay Maddox is an extrovert trapped in a shy girl’s body. When she isn’t flying across the country to play TV star-wannabe, she is documenting the hilarity of raising her four small children (including twins!) at her blog Silly Mom Thoughts.