Episode 115 Remember Moments Of Courage

September 25, 2023

Good morning from New York City. I’m excited. My countdown is officially on. If you’ve just stumbled upon this, I’m leaving New York City for five months, after 18 years here.. I will begin what I call my dance with uncertainty, or you could call it my dance with the unknown. Interestingly, I stumbled upon a quote yesterday as I’m sorting through all of my notebooks. It is by Maria Popova and she said  “not knowing is the most vulnerable thing in the world.” I’m sure that is often the case. In my particular circumstances, it’s exciting and it’s sparking my curiosity.

One of the things that’s coming up for me is something I’ve talked about in the past. It’s that to reinforce your courage – or to gain perspective –  one of the great things to do is to think of times in the past when you’ve confronted something similar. Just yesterday I was remembering when I had been in Italy for some time and I was teaching English for many years because no one would hire me. Despite the fact that I spoke fluent Spanish and I had a college degree, I couldn’t even get an office job. But I slowly made my way. At a certain point my dear friend Enzo Manes introduced me to Diego Della Valle, the founder of Tod’s, and I got my start in the fashion business.

About a week into the job, I got a call from him. He said to me, “Constance, you go to Russia and Asia for me and take a look around. Go see what everybody’s doing.”  That’s a terrible Italian imitation, but you get the idea. There was no project. No clearly defined objective. When Mr. Della Valle said to take a look around, what he was thinking was his competitors have started manufacturing outside of Italy, they’re doing fashion shows on the wall of China and doing deals.

His idea was to send ‘one of his own’ to take a look around. But for me, it was my very first real job in fashion, and I was utterly petrified. I had no idea what to do and there was no one to ask for guidance. I had never even been on a business trip. I’ll never forget – I think I still have it –  on my very first trip at the airport, I bought myself my very first Hermes scarf. I wanted to celebrate that moment. After all those years in Europe, I had finally landed someplace that I could be proud of. Anyway, back to the story. I ended up digging deep and truly unleashing my curiosity and I mapped out my own research project. I went to Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Russia, I interviewed people and collected data and took photos.  I had the experience of a lifetime.

I was also thinking about the fact that I came to New York City exactly 18 years ago this week, 2004. My first day on the job was Monday, October 4th, and there again I was very out of my depths. I remember sitting in meetings with references being made to industry leaders on a first name basis. I had no clue what anyone was talking about. I remember having this aha moment. Something popped into my head and it was this. Have you ever heard that if you have a dark entry hall you should never try to make it light? You’re supposed to embrace the flaw. So instead of trying to light up your entry hall, you should do something like paint it dark red.

I applied that to my circumstance and I said what’s my flaw? What’s my disadvantage here? It was that I didn’t know anyone. I came up with this idea to start putting out telephone calls when people weren’t in their office, so I could leave a message. I’m assuming that many of you that are listening remember the days when we actually went to the office and had answering machines Well, I would start the message with you don’t know me.. I led with my perceived flaw. Then I would strategically drop the name Gucci because I know that had cache. It worked. Everyone returned my call.

So I’m not quite sure where I’m going with all this except for to share with you that I may one day look back on this and think it was no big deal. But right now, this feels like a very pivotal moment in my life.  I’m doing what I call ‘defying gravity to make space for what deserves to be in my life’ and, yes, I’m stepping up to dance with uncertainty. That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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“Speaking with Constance helped me to see myself  – and my experience –with fresh perspective.  I got great clarity and completely shifted gears. She totally got it. The experience fully re-energized me.”

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