60 glowing feedback forms. Even one that noted how much they loved my outfit. But it took only one nameless form to punch my ego. It ironically said I shouldn’t dress like a grandma.

Despite my multiple image consultants – despite frequent positive feedback about my unique but not outlandish style – and despite being the confidence queen, that one form really pissed me off. I actually put tremendous effort into my clothing choices for each and every engagement. More importantly, I put over a decade into collecting and conducting research while honing my skill as a speaker so I can consistently deliver a high impact keynote.

But that one sniper, all he or she could notice and critique was my clothing?! That simply sucked.

He/She had missed all the juicy data and correlations shared. He/She had missed the clever jokes and heart-heavy stories. He/She had missed the opportunity to gain control and improve their own confidence and truthfully, their feedback indicated that he/she most likely need some confidence desperately.

Why do people act like this? Jealousy? Insecurity? Anger? Does it matter? It is after all, really their problem – but with their cruel words, they try to make the problem someone else’s. Part of my mission is to help people take control of their confidence and not worry so much about other people. But I know it’s usually easier said than done – especially when it’s something you do value and take pride in. Kick something I said or didn’t say. Kick my candor or personal stories, but don’t kick something I spent serious time and effort on! I actually like the way I dress and did that day – so why did I get so pissed off at that one comment? Because it was such as shame that was all they noticed and could contribute back. That nameless feedback form reminded me that some people really do feel obligated to hurt others. Perhaps I held a painful mirror to them in my talk – or perhaps they were jealous. Maybe they just didn’t understand my message or could not accept it. Who knows? It was unfortunate for them and a bummer for me only because I would love to connect with everyone – but that isn’t humanly possible.

Three days later as I made my way through airport security, a grey-haired lady behind me commented on the number of bags I was juggling. She offered me advice about how to pack and how to dress to be more efficient and comfortable given security and all that traveling can mess up. I smiled and thanked her – she was right…grandmas actually do know how to dress best. They dress for themselves and simply don’t let other people’s opinions dictate decisions. While being stylish enough for her own needs, she was confident – and that is everyone’s best accessory of all.
Alyssa Dver
Cheif Confidence Officer

American Confidence Institute