An amazing thing happened just moments before I stepped onto the conference stage…
I did a final wardrobe check — necklace not brushing against microphone, belt straight and secure, back of dress not errantly flapping upwards and exposing my behind — and in doing so, I discovered something remarkable.
This dress has pockets.
Did you hear what I said?
Neatly tucked away on each side, a comfortable and previously hidden pocket.
How did I not know this dress has POCKETS?
What a gleeful discovery! What an exciting element of surprise!
Here’s what you should know:
This was not a new dress.
It was a wardrobe staple. I had actually worn it many times before, sometimes with strappy sandals, sometimes with a cardigan and boots. Often to work and once to a bat mitzvah.
And yet, after all those wearings, I had never noticed the POCKETS!
I love dresses with pockets. There’s something so cozy, so reassuring about them even if they’re not actually being used for any particular functionality.
If I wanted to, I can casually rest a hand in the pocket. Or use it to discretely hold something. Like lip gloss. Or a credit card. Or a pocket-sized tampon.
This is exciting stuff.
It’s like a new way of looking at something familiar and seeing it in an entirely different manner.
It wasn’t hard to see the symbolism here too.
As I took the stage, I changed my opening remarks to remark on the remarkable discovery of the pockets in my dress.
I began my presentation with this moments-old story and my admittance the dress had been worn multiple times without knowledge of said pockets. And my surprise and delight to discover the dress had now taken on a whole new meaning.
The audience laughed, nodded.
To be fair, this was a women’s conference and an audience full of women, many in dresses, who all value a DRESS WITH POCKETS!
I turned the discovery into a greater discussion about self-discovery.
What are those unrealized parts of ourselves we haven’t yet found and don’t yet appreciate?
How quick are we to settle with how we believe ourselves to be, or as others have described us in past – and not always positive – ways?
How often do we limit our value without further exploring all we have to offer?
Where are the pockets? Do you search for them? Do you believe you have them?
YOU HAVE POCKETS.
You have valuable parts of yourself yet to be discovered.
You, my friend, are full of yet-to-be-discovered pockets.
They hold your desires and determination and ability to go beyond day-to-day duties to all you might do.
If I can see an old dress in new ways (IT HAS POCKETS!), you too can refashion yourself in any style you choose.
Your story is just beginning.
There are new discoveries to be found, experiences to be had, relationships to be made, opportunities to be grabbed… deep pockets to fill.
Oftentimes it just takes looking at yourself differently, imagining what more is possible.
Go beyond what’s immediately visible on the surface.
Go beyond what’s known and what’s been to what may be.
Consider yourself in new ways and be open to what’s undiscovered, to what you might find if you truly envision your future you with focus and fresh perspective.
Find those pockets and then fill them with limitless possibilities.
Valerie Gordon is an award-winning television producer and owner of career and communication strategy firm Commander-in-She. She helps women with the tools and skills necessary to ascend the leadership ladder and find greater success and satisfaction at work. Inquire about her corporate workshops and conference breakouts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.