This post contains affiliate links.
Before I tell you about the time I was interviewed for a magazine, there’s something you must know about me. I’m a relatively sane, normal person until you tell me I’m going to have my picture taken. Then, I immediately become a psycho.
A couple of weeks ago, I found out that I was going to be recognized as an up and comer in the local business community. I was genuinely surprised. This was a big bucket list item for me. As soon as I found out, I began frantically preparing for my photo and interview.
First, I had to determine my “look.” And then it came to me – I wanted a tweed jacket. It would be youthful yet professional, and wearing a tweed jacket instead of a blazer would prevent me from looking like a little girl playing dress up in her momma’s closet. (This happens to me more than I’d like to admit.)
Then there was the skincare regimen. I charted out which days I would need to exfoliate, and which days I would need to use a glycolic cleanser. I didn’t slack on my eye cream a single bit. The Saturday before, I went through the hell that is eyebrow threading. I practiced how to pose for a photo without a double chin.
I went to bed early the night before my interview and woke up early the morning of to give myself a fresh blowout and do my makeup. (Confession – I had honestly considered paying someone to give me a blowout and do my makeup. I told you – I am crazy.) On my way to the interview, I was wearing Crest White Strips. (I felt like wearing my whitening trays would be just a tad bit overkill.)
Along with making sure I looked like the best possible version of myself, I fixated on the interview questions. Every single day on my thirty minute commute, I talked to myself. I had answers ready for every single thing that I could possible think of. I went back to my days of acting lessons, and even practiced where I would pause.
And then I got to my interview, and I blew it.
I blanked out. I had practiced every single answer in my head. But I spoke really fast, and I left out the most important stuff. I didn’t thoroughly answer a single question. My name only has four letters in it, but if you had asked me to spell it for you, I’m not sure I would have been able to.
When I got back to my office, I was in tears. And when anyone told me they doubt I did as poorly as I thought I did, I just sighed because I knew in my heart that I had sucked. And I spent the next 24 hours thinking about just how bad I sucked until I went to hip hop hot yoga that evening. I sweat out all of my frustrations, and when they asked us to leave something on the mat, I gladly dropped this situation. Good riddance.
Now I kind of giggle about it. (And I thank God for an awesome boss, because if it wasn’t for him, I might still be crying.) I am owning the fact that I really sucked, and I hope that in the future, I can use it for fuel instead of anxiety.
During my 24 hours of sulking/over analyzing the situation, I thought about what I could have done better during that interview, and what I could do in the future to prevent that from happening. (I’m finally at a point where I can kind of giggle about it, but I sure as hell do not want to relive that moment.)
1. Enjoy the moment. I spent this entire process putting a lot of pressure on myself. I needed to have the perfect photo and answers that made me sound intelligent. What would have happened if I would have just enjoyed the moment? What would have happened if I had answered a question with the first thing that popped into my head, instead of trying to think of those answers that I had rehearsed, and just rolled with it? I think things would have gone quite a bit smoother.
2. Professional development is my friend. I’m going to do some research on how to be a better conversationalist and how to keep my composure in stressful situations. I’m actually signed up for a “Perfect Your Elevator Pitch” training tomorrow! (Wish me luck!)
3. Everyone is not out to get you. Sometimes I feel like people are out to make me look stupid. (As I proved at this interview, I can totally do it on my own with no help. Haha.) The interviewer was not. He wasn’t looking for an angle or a story. He was looking for enough information to write a paragraph about me and my accomplishments, and I should have had that at the very front of my mind the entire time.
4. Bring backup. If you get really nervous in situations like I do, why not bring your talking points. Have a list printed out of some things you want to be sure you mention. I got so stressed out that I couldn’t remember the name of a board that I was sitting on that had just rebranded. Had I written out beforehand, I could have avoided that.
5. Don’t caffeinate. On stressful days, I treat myself to breakfast from Chick-Fil-A, including a large vanilla iced coffee. Caffeine and nerves don’t mix well, so on days when I’m speaking in front of people, I should probably cut back to half a cup of coffee.
Since I put an insane amount of thought into this outfit, I want to take a quick second to talk about it. I fell in love with this tweed jacket because it reminded me of my mamaw. My mamaw had a gorgeous blue tweed suit that she used to wear for special occasions, so wearing this just felt right. I also wore a ring that had been a gift from my grandma Katherine before she passed, and I wore earrings that had been a gift from my dad to my mom. I am who I am because of so many people, and I wanted that represented in my photo, even if I’m the only person who knows about it.
The rest of my outfit is pretty basic in order to let the jacket shine. The top is from Target, and I own five pairs of these pants – two black, two navy, and one khaki. I bought the heels on my trip to Indiana, and they are gorgeous, but a little painful to break in. (Of course I forgot to put on my Blister Block that day. I’m not even surprised. Haha)
Thanks for the opportunity to be vulnerable with y’all. I’d love to hear from you! How do you handle failure or rejection?