The first day of my training class in Toronto was the most intimidating day of my life.
Here I was in a corporate board room with 7 other professionals in suits when I, a stay-at-home-mommy-turned-career-woman-overnight feeling like a poser in my suit, sat nervously playing with the handle of my purse. It was surreal.
I looked around the room at the other women. They seemed so put-together and professional. And then my trainer came into the room.
All I had known was that her name was Leigh, and that she was very friendly, as per the introduction & welcome email she’d sent me the week before.
Leigh was gorgeous. She had a smile that lit up the room and she was trim, had beautiful hair, great style, and she carried herself with a graceful air that spoke volumes.
And I have to admit, my first reaction was that she wasn’t going to like me.
She shot that down within the first five minutes.
I have never, in my life, met such a beautiful woman who had such a kind heart.
I’m not saying all beautiful women are conceited, I’m saying that’s been my experience with women who look like they belong on a magazine cover. They usually know it and they usually work it to get whatever they want. At least the ones I’ve known.
Not Leigh. Her kindness and her genuine sweet personality were a breath of fresh air and we all became huge fans instantly. She was a brilliant teacher, a wonderful example of poise and professionalism, but she also met us on our level and never once became condescending or unapproachable.
My third or fourth week in Toronto was really hard. I was starting to miss my kids so much I could barely focus. I remember texting my colleague Adam one night around ten as I was sobbing in my hotel room. His reply (as he always shoots straight with me) was: “Breathe. Sleep. I miss my kids too. We’re almost done.”
I was also really struggling with whether or not I could make it in this career. I didn’t know if I believed in myself. The job was hard, and there was so much to learn in five weeks that I began to doubt I could do it when training was over. All the things I had been told over the previous eight years were ringing in my head and I was sitting on a very dangerous fence.
We were doing role playing, and Leigh was acting as a client, and we were going through a meeting and proposal in front of the class, one at a time, and then giving each other feedback on our pitches.
I asked Leigh if we could practice alone in another room first. All the others in the class had business degrees and had worked in sales before. My expertise was in diaper changing and making a mean meat loaf.
So Leigh and I went next door to the adjacent board room and she began to coach me. And I broke down.
I poured out way too much about my personal life, my divorce, the things I was still hearing him say in my mind, and my doubts about whether I would make a good rep. And this beautiful woman, who at first glance I thought would judge me, gave me the most monumental pep talk I’ve had in my entire life.
“YOU ARE ENOUGH.” She pushed my books to the end of the table, made me look her in the eyes, and said to me from her soul, “You can do this. You are beautiful. You are capable. YOU ARE ENOUGH.” I honestly don’t remember the details of the whole conversation, because I was crying my eyes out, but she sat there and chip, chip, chipped away at the shell of fear and doubt that I had built up around me. All of the “you can’t’s” and “you don’t’s” fell silently to the floor, and as I looked into her eyes and saw the sincerity behind her words… I began to think, maybe she’s right.
I dried my eyes and she gave me a hug and spoke some beautiful words of comfort to me, and went back to the class. I gained my composure, and joined in.
Leigh wasn’t easy on us, but she wasn’t unrealistic either. She was giving it to us like a real client would. And one by one, we took our turns roll playing. I was the Paula of the group – I scribbled down notes about all the things I loved that they had said or done and my feedback was purely encouragement. We learned a lot from each other. And then it was my turn.
I was nervous, and my mind went blank. I fidgeted and kept glancing at my paperwork instead of just having the conversation with the client. Leigh’s eyes told me “Just go for it, you can do this!” So I forgot about the 7 pairs of professional, experienced eyes, and gave my first sales pitch. And I was the only one that day who closed.
I know Leigh wasn’t just taking it easy on me. I actually rocked it. And Adam has reminded me of that fact several times since training when I start to freak out about a specific client or my net gain that week or the job in general. “Hey Amber? Who was the only one in the class who closed the deal in role plays?” I started to believe in myself, not because Leigh told me I should. But because I knew Leigh did.
I IM’d with her this morning and gave her a little update on how I was doing. I told her “I’m so much stronger than I ever thought I was,” to which she replied, “I always knew that.”
SO today’s post is twofold.
One: Don’t assume all beautiful women are conceited.
And two: YOU ARE ENOUGH. Whatever you’ve been told – you are beautiful. You are capable. You are worth so much more than you will ever know. And you are enough.