Her name began with an H.
I brought the card down to the hotel lobby with a little swing in my pulse—not because I was nervous to give it to her, although in retrospect, maybe I was. I didn’t want it to seem like I was bribing her. (Or, you know, ASKING FOR SEX.)
“My first Kate Spade!” she exclaimed, swinging the lid off the round pink and orange box with the same overflowing enthusiasm that had been the very reason for the gift in the first place. I had recognized that enthusiasm, like bumping into a dear old friend, or accidentally stumbling across an old photograph you forgot existed. It was the naked, natural kind. The kind they had told me, once, never to lose.
“Never lose your sunny disposition,” I had written in the card, telling her the same. “It’ll be the most important asset you’ll ever have.”
Later that afternoon, I, too, received a card.
It was sealed in an envelope, slipped under my door, as if we were secret lovers. “Meet for a quick drink at 5?”
Over the course of three spritzy Chicago-brewed ales, we hopped from sofa to sofa all around the Arts Club Cafe in the new Restoration Hardware, which, if you haven’t heard, is no longer just a home furnishings store—it’s Gold Coast Chicago’s place to see and be seen, with a swanky restaurant inside. It was just a block away from the hotel. She wore the golden earrings I had picked out.
“I believe things happen for a reason,” she said.
She then continued to tell me that she had been feeling stagnant, and uninspired in her job, and entirely unsure what to do next. For her—a Wisconsin broad—Chicago was the big city. She had gone there. She had done it. But what do you do when you get there and…it’s not enough?
She then told me that the day I checked into the hotel and she discovered what I did for a living, inspiring women to lead original lives and make money bravely with The Middle Finger Project, and Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends, and the upcoming reveal of Unf*ckwithable BOSS (yup, it’s coming, and I’m bringing the heat hard, so stay tuned!)—she had hope.
“I gave my notice to the hotel,” she started. “And then you come along with your card to always stay true to myself, and it was exactly what I needed, in that very moment of time. I teared up. I was terrified I was making a mistake.”
But H had it all wrong.
I hadn’t come along to give her hope—she would have figured it out eventually—she had come along to give it to me.
To remind me that the richest experiences in life only happen when you’re in them—not merely observing from a distance. And the only way you can really be in them is by being out of your own head. To stop worrying about how you’ll come across—for example, I used to worry people would think I was naive if I was as warm and friendly as I am by nature—and just BE THERE, as right and true as a carrot is orange. Anything less is committing fraud against yourself. And anything less is not doing you the favors you think it is.
We all know that the most important asset you’ll ever own isn’t money, and it isn’t stuff, and it isn’t power.
But sometimes, we forget what is.
And sometimes, being able to look into the mirror and see your dear old friend smiling back—the same one that makes you smile, the way you do with an old photograph—is the most important thing you could ever own, because it’s the one thing that no one else ever can.
And that, alone, is remarkable.
Even when you forget just how remarkable you are.