I started this blog as a place for candid conversations about life and career. Throughout most of my career, I trained myself to do what I thought I should do. Sometimes that included compromising my integrity. This blog is about me revisiting that thinking process and trying something new.
I recently listened to a keynote by Gary Vaynerchuck, if you don’t know who Gary is, I suggest you check him out. Gary has become a viral sensation with his no-nonsense marketing and entrepreneurial advice. Before I watched the keynote, I was stuck on what this post should be about.
Then… it clicked: fitting into my jeans.
Fitting Into My Jeans
You might be asking, what the hell that means. I promise this is not a PSA that I’m never eating junk food again (that’s never going to happen). Fitting into my jeans is about a different kind of fit. Fitting into my jeans is a lesson in how I’m training myself to “fit” the concept of living my truth and being my authentic self into all aspects of my life – I invite you to come along with me.
A Moment of Meditation
I want you to take a deep breath. Now, think about your favorite jeans* and how they make you feel. Fitting into your jeans is about finding your flow. Whether your favorite jeans offer comfort, fashion, or maybe both; the good vibes you get is what I want you to try and capture during this mini-meditation. The feeling of owning who you are. That is what fitting into your jeans is all about.
Integrity: Channeling True Blue Jeans
In less than a year, I’ll be saying closing the door on one decade and entering another. I can’t think of a better time to focus on being true to myself. The phrase ‘true blue’ stands out to me. True blue means loyal, faithful, or unchanging like the blue sky; consistent. There have been times where I’ve been too polite, passive, or even too afraid that resulted in compromising my integrity. This is why I’m working channel the authenticity of a pair of jeans. Blue jeans are blue jeans, with no apologies. Integrity works like that, too.
There have been times where I’ve been too polite, passive, or even too afraid that resulted in compromising my integrity.
Fit Over Fashion
‘Fitting into my jeans’ is an all-encompassing phrase for being true to yourself. I associate jeans with when I was starting out in marketing. I had just started a new job and I decided to wear jeans on my first day. During the interview process, HR confirmed jeans were allowed and I saw people in the company wearing jeans during some of my time on-site. My first day, I met my team, they were all dressed in khakis or dresses – no jeans in sight, except my own.
I got this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach, ‘Am I underdressed?’ I thought. I sent a message to HR asking (again) if it was okay to wear jeans. I received a friendly, resounding yes, and that helped to ease my worries. That said, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my jeans were only the beginning of a bad “fit”.
A Small Test of Integrity
I’ve been on my share of interviews since then. Every time I’ve gone on an interview since – it’s in jeans. Wearing jeans in an interview has become a small “test” of integrity for me. It forces to face the possibility that I might be underdressed. I know I work harder in jeans. I’m not fussing with skirts that are riding up or trying to smooth wrinkles on my slacks.
A few years ago, I participated in Insights Training, a personality training, where I answered questions designed to provide insight into my personality. Following the questionnaire, me and my coworkers had a day of training exercises focused on how personalities and relationships workplace. During the training, everyone received a personal profile (which was surprisingly accurate). The personal profile noted that my ideal environment includes a few rigid rules on dress code. I’m sure my mother wouldn’t be surprised, she still jokes about how as a small child I would need accommodations and tweaks to my school outfits. For context, I wore the same uniform to school every day. Maybe there’s something to be said about my work habits.
Lesson 1: Breaking In a New Pair of Jeans
I feel like I’m at a place in my life, where I need a refresher on integrity. Like breaking in a new pair of jeans, you need time to get comfortable and have them acclimate to your body. I am going to be “breaking in” integrity. Some of the best legal advice I ever received was not to take or pursue a case based on principle. Legal advice aside, it’s time for me to acknowledge what I’ve left on the table by compromising my principles.
How am I going to do this? First off, I’m starting with radical candor, this idea was written about by Kim Scott – and it focuses on being honest and empathetic.
*Note: For me, it’s jeans, for you it could be yoga pants, sweatpants, skirts, dresses, etc.