“The only real elegance is in the mind; If you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”
– Diana Vreeland
I’ve never met a woman who doesn’t desire to feel in control of her life.
Perhaps you know a woman who is able to remain calm, cool and collected under the most stressful of situations.She’s a rare bird when most of the world is running around full of worry, stress and overwhelm.
It makes us wonder:
How does she do it?
What does she possess that eludes many?
Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s….
This word ‘elegance’ can often turn people off, as it’s often associated with haughty arrogance and pink, frilly dresses with pearls.
If that’s your definition of elegance, then no wonder it may turn you off. Who wants to be snooty, higher than thou and wear pearls and pink every day?
Probably not you. Definitely not me.
This reminds me of what Karl Lagerfeld said about elegance,
“The elegance is as physical, as moral quality that has nothing common with the clothing. You can see a countrywoman more elegant than one so called elegant woman.”
Elegance runs much deeper than how you dress, or even how you bear yourself in the world. It’s a state of mind.
An elegant mind is clear and confident.
It doesn’t create drama, chaos, excess or vulgarity.
It’s focused, determined and intentional…
…which is why an elegant woman rarely feels out of control.
As someone who spent years feeling out of control, I began to investigate these aspirational kind of women. I wanted to know how they thought, behaved and saw the world.
What I found are 6 ways these fabulous women embody an elegant state of mind.
1. They know what’s important
“What’s most important to you right now?” I often ask my clients. They begin to rattle off so many things that it’s no wonder why they feel torn and scattered.
If everything is important, nothing truly is.
To feel in control of our lives, we must be able to identify what’s deeply important to us today, this month and this year.
As one lady told me, “It’s scary to decide.”
“Because I cut off other options,” she confessed.
And, that, m’friend, is the point.
The word ‘decision’ literally means to cut off. When you cut things off, they are no longer an option, but in a world where we are bombarded with so many decisions, — from the brand of toothpaste to buy to where to go for dinner —taking options off the table clears up more space to live a more fulfilling life.
My mantra these days: less but better.
What is most important to you right now?
2. They don’t get into other people’s business
Byron Katie says that there are 3 kinds of business: yours, theirs and Gods.
What people think of you? Theirs.
What you think of you? Yours.
What you think of them? Yours.
What they are doing tonight? Theirs.
What you’re doing? Yours.
The delayed flight? Gods.
All you can ever control are the thoughts in your mind. Nothing else.
If you base your feelings of control on other people, good luck! Chances are you’ll be highly disappointed.
Take my client, Jackie, for example. She came to me for coaching because she suffered from extreme social anxiety and subsequent self-criticism every time she walked into a room.
Her mind was consumed with questions, such as:
What do they think of me?
Do they think that my dress is too tight?
Will they like me?
What if they think I’m stupid?
During one of our private calls, I pointed out to Jackie, “You love getting into other people’s business.”
“What,” she asked, shocked. “I do not.”
When I showed her how she was trying to find relief by figuring out other people’s thoughts and how impossible it was, she laughed.
“I never saw my behavior as being in other people’s business.” she admitted.
As I told her, “Every time you try to figure out what another person is thinking, you’re all up in their business.”
As Jackie began to see how she spent more time in other people’s business than in her own, she began to understand why she was so anxious around others.
Jackie recently emailed me an update:
“It’s a miracle. I am no longer overwhelmed with social situations. In fact, I love going out now. A friend told me I was the bell of the ball at a recent business function. I guess staying in your own business also makes you more magnetic.”
Whose business do you need to get out of?
3. They practice discipline
When it comes to discipline, there are 2 kinds of people:
- Those who see it as taking away their freedom
- Those who see it as the path to freedom
The elegant lady, of course, falls into the second group.
The root word of discipline is disciple. A disciple is a follower or student of a leader. The elegant woman is both the leader and the follower of herself, meaning she creates her own rules and standards and then she creates the discipline to follow them.
Her real discipline is to feel good. Thoughts become things, so the elegant woman is extremely disciplined about what thoughts she focuses on and what she decides to believe about herself and the world.
The core practice of discipline is to manage your mind, because if you don’t, your mind is like a toddler running around with a loaded gun. Innocent, yet dangerous.
Where are you needing more discipline in your life?
4. They schedule what matters
My belief is this: if it matters, you schedule it.
An elegant woman knows that her projects, tasks and appointments belong in her calendar, not floating around in her head.
Not scheduling your life is a recipe for chaos. It leaves a woman feeling scattered and overwhelmed.
Because of #1 (know what’s important), she understands what she wants to accomplish in her life. She breaks it down into doable steps and puts it in her schedule.
For example, if you decide to learn French, here’s how you would approach it:
- Schedule time to research a French tutor/classes/books
- Based on the findings from your research, schedule time to attend class, read books and study
Each of these steps would go into your calendar.
Once it’s written down, your only job is to show up for yourself.
This requires that you practice #3 (discipline).
What needs to be scheduled in your life?
5. They don’t create negative drama
Just last week, I had one of those days that didn’t go as planned. In addition, I received an email that made my stomach sink.
Then, I remembered what elegant women know:
There are facts; then there’s drama.
Elegant women stick with the facts of a situation instead of spinning into full blown drama queen by letting their minds run wild (remember: toddler with a loaded gun).
Do you know the difference between facts and drama?
“I weigh 180 pounds,” is a fact.
“I am fat and out of control,” is drama.
If I create drama in my life, I want it to be a fabulous one.
When my day felt like it was whirling out of control, I got back to the facts.
I looked at the reality of the situation, and I began to tell myself things like:
You need to contact your accountant.
You can handle this.
You’re a smart woman. You’ll figure it out.
I wrote down the steps I needed to take, put them on my calendar and got on with my day, knowing that I have control over my thoughts, emotions and actions.
Everything else is not my business (see #2).
Where are you creating negative drama?
6. They are not afraid to say NO
Coco Chanel said, “Elegance is refusal.”
An elegant woman maintains control of her life, because she frequently refuses invitations, requests and other demands that don’t fit into what she deems important in her life (see #1: know your priorities).
She understands that this may upset some people, but she doesn’t make it her job to manage other people’s emotions (remember #2, that’s their business).
Because she’s driven by simplicity and meaning, she knows that overloading her life with excess is a recipe for feeling out of control.
For this very reason, she practices the “no” a lot.
What currently needs to be a ‘no’ in your life?
Now, there is a reason why I wrote “rarely” in the title of this post. Even elegant women have those days when they fall apart, fly off the handle and melt into a puddle of drama.
Sometimes, they react with a yes when they really wanted to say no.
Occasionally, they say, “Screw the schedule.”
At times, they get up in other people’s business.
Periodically, everything seems important.
Every so often, they get pissed and have a rant.
To keep it together all the time is too much pressure for any woman (and not elegant at all).
I definitely have my not-so-elegant moments.
So, if you have one of those days, remember this:
Life is sometimes difficult.
It’s okay to feel whatever is present.
Ease up on yourself.
Then, come back, read this article and get yourself back into the driver’s seat of your life.
How will you live more elegantly this week?
Leave me a comment down below.
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