Makeovers are part of our mythology, the ugly duckling becomes a swan, the scullery maid goes to the ball and dazzles the prince. My eyes are always drawn to before-and-after pictures, and I bet a lot of us share a secret desire to be the chosen Cinderella.
Why are makeovers so compelling? Perhaps it’s because you get to become a whole new person. It’s an evolutionary leap. An instant transformation. Poof, you’re someone more fabulous.
We can be our own fairy godmothers with the same life-changing results using the four essential principles of successful makeovers.
1. The Harsh Light of Day
You can always see every pore and blemish in a “Before” picture. Nothing is hidden from view. So apply that to your life. Do an honest appraisal of your current reality. What’s working well? What’s broken, doesn’t suit you, or leftover from a previous life? What do you like and want to keep? What values are honored or ignored in the way your life looks today? Be ruthless but fair. Don’t throw out aspects that are important you. Maybe they just need to be updated, not discarded.
2. Bigger, Brighter, Bolder
“After” pictures are striking because the new look is more vibrant. The colors are more intense. The individual is willing to call attention to herself. Why are so many of us shy about doing that?
Pretend you’re an encouraging friend, one who sees your hidden fabulousness and loudly says “You go girl!” Then imagine all the aspects of your ultimate dream as bigger, brighter, and bolder than ever. Turn the dial up a couple of clicks more than you think you can stand. That’s the way your friend sees you. Now capture that vision and explore the emotions that come up for you. What’s keeping you from being your Technicolor self?
What you don’t see in the magazines is the maintenance required to keep up the new you. Just as the woman in the picture will have to touch up her hair and pluck her eyebrows now and then, you will need to continue to hold yourself as the bigger, brighter you. See it, feel it, taste it. Pay attention and notice your changes. The creative tension between your vision and your current state will pull you to your goal.
4. Reflection in the Mirror
Finally, you need a way to see yourself. How will you know that you’re transformed? Pick some ways to measure your success — honest feedback from your friends and family, acknowledgement from your boss, a certain number of hours per week devoted to creative pursuits or peace and quiet. It’s at this critical point where many change efforts break down. What gets measured gets accomplished. You need ways to see your accomplishments.
“After” people get what they want. They inspire Wows. And those of us who waved our own wand have the advantage because we aren’t dependent on some team from Hollywood. We know how to do it ourselves.
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