It took an outfit dilemma and a woman named Cleo to remind me of what passion, presence and playfulness looks like in the workplace.
I wanted to share a feel good story from a few weeks ago, although it feels like months ago. It was when we were still all out and about and doing our thing. Mmmmm…
It was a Friday and I had a big day planned; a couple of business meetings in the morning, on stage at the Queensland Law Society Symposium in the afternoon and then a flight down to Adelaide for another conference.
So I started the day early, did my hair and makeup and put on my black Saba dress; a beautiful number, very fitting to just below the knee.
The business meetings went well. I was sitting down about to eat lunch when I started to question my outfit choice for the day. I just wasn’t feeling the dress. If you’ve seen me present on stage, you know that I like to move; A LOT and the dress I was wearing suddenly felt very restrictive. I needed a new outfit! And fast!
I dashed into David Jones in the city and went up to the Witchery counter. Now, I know the woman behind the counter there. She’s served me a couple of times and I now know her name is Cleo. Well, she saw me coming. Hard to miss me I guess; a woman on a mission!
Cleo comes up to me and asks how she can help. I explain that I need a new outfit for a presentation in an hour. It needs to be black, sexy but still corporate and most importantly I need to be able to move in it. She nods and I can see that glimmer in her eye that she’s just loving this. This is a challenge.
She grabs black leather pants, exactly in my size and then finds a black lace shirt to complete the outfit. Fantastic. I ask her for some other options; what else does she have for me? She looks at me and says “You don’t need any other outfits. This IS the outfit.” I giggle. I love her confidence and enthusiasm. Ok, let’s do this. Off to the change rooms I go.
I put on this outfit and man, she was right. It IS the outfit for me and it fits me perfectly. I feel so good in it. Cleo says “I told you so” with a huge grin on her face.
We make our way back to the counter and she’s greeting other customers. She’s making them smile. She’s talking to the other staff from Country Road and Seed. Wherever she goes, she just makes people smile. She brings joy.
I still remember that day. I remember her. I think about the passion and the love she has for her work. The real presence she has in the workplace, and her sense of playfulness. She makes people’s day.
So as a leader, I have some questions for you my friend:
• Are you passionate about the work that you do?
• Do you love it? Does it turn you on?
• How do you feel on a Monday morning?
• Do you turn up every day with real presence and purpose?
• Are you playful?
• Do you bring joy to the lives of the people who you lead every day and to your clients?
• Do you create memorable delicious moments for those around you?
As I often say, this is not your dress rehearsal, this is your main show. This is it. This is your chance to do work that matters to you and that makes a difference to the lives of others. What is it that you want to do with your time and energy? What do you want to create?
When I think back on that day in David Jones and when I put on that outfit, I can’t help but smile…..…
Thank you Cleo.