May 7, 2010
An often forgotten chapter in my life, is that I once sold Mary Kay cosmetics. It's true. Just check my bathroom and you'll see the remnants of my brief career: half-used moisturizes, lip glosses and bunch of nail polish.
I bought my starter kit the summer after my freshman year of college thinking it would change my life, just like it did for Evelyn Couch in "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe." However, I soon learned I was not much of a saleswoman (my current bosses would also agree). By the following March, I packed up my inventory and shipped it back to Dallas, ending my career with MK forever.
My short-lived cosmetics career taught me more than the proper way to select eyeshadow (FYI, it's not to match your clothing) or how to write off business expenses on my taxes. It taught me that to succeed, I first had to see myself as successful.
All new MK sales representatives receive a copy of Mary Kay Ash's autobiography "Miracles Happen." The book tells about how she built her company from a one-person show, to a major multi-million dollar industry with hundreds of sales representatives nationwide. The key, she said, to success was simple: fake it till you make it.
I can't tell you how valuable that lesson was to me.
When hired at the Daily Nebraskan as a new transfer student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I'd only ever reported a few new stories, and all were for class assignments. My editor handed me three story assignments for the next week, and I pushed aside my worry and went to work, pretending I knew what I was doing. I remember making my very first call. I practiced my introduction over and over before I picked up the phone, until even I believed I was "Laura Chapman with the Daily Nebraskan."
I've faked my first few days at every job since, and it seems to be working for me. Maybe I can find a lesson in here somewhere for me, now. Maybe I can pretend I am a novelist, and get myself — and others — so convinced, that I can't help but finish writing a whole book. Might be something to it.
On another note, No. 9 in the "Project Boy Meets Girl" series will be out this weekend. I spent too much time working my job and playing after hours to do more than re-read the book that features our next couple. With any luck, I can get No. 8 out this week, too, as I've already done the leg work for it, too.