I knew it was a long shot, but I also knew that the possibility was there.
You have to be a little bit of a crazy person to live out your dreams in life. Crazy, yes, but the right kind of crazy… I call this level of crazy “committed crazy.” I am by profession a life coach, so I operate daily somewhere in the spectrum of crazy-committed.
The backstory: against all advice I’ve ever received about wedding dress shopping, I went to Kleinfeld and tried on a dress way outside of my spending range and completely fell in love with one. For months, I agonized over what to do… every other dress I tried on simply didn’t hold up, and, there was just no way I would be spending that much money on my wedding dress.
So, I decided to use my committed crazy skills and let the universe do its job. What conditions would have to be in place for this to work out exactly as I need it to? To have my dream dress without breaking the bank?
It was a long shot, but I waited for the annual Kleinfeld Sample Sale. Yes. You’ve seen it on TV. It’s madness. It’s an open free-for-all with brides-to-be searching the store for a discounted gown — this is different from normal dress shopping, when you try on the “sample” and then put in an order. You buy the sample gown straight off the rack. This environment would make anyone crazy.
But for a committed crazy person, it might just do the trick.
Here’s my timeline and my steps for success when it came to putting all the puzzle pieces together.
Step 1: Let go of all attachments.
Accept the outcome before you know what the outcome is. But just because you aren’t attached doesn’t mean you can’t be fully committed to the possibility of things working out your way. Tow that line. Commit to the possibility that everything absolutely can work out your way, while still accepting all possible outcomes.
Kleinfeld’s Sample Sale. Most people had shown up early in the morning to line up outside the store. I didn’t have that luxury due to work commitments. Unleashing the creative genius in all my coaching clients had to come first, so I got to the sale at 5:30PM.
I showed up. Got in line. And I opened up my heart. I tapped into every ounce of kindness and generosity of spirit I could muster. I made eye contact with the people checking me in and asked them how they were doing — they seemed frazzled and appreciative of a moment to breathe and be acknowledged. I could only imagine what they’d been through by that point in the day. I made sure my energy was open with them and made myself known: “I’m looking for a certain dress… I tried it on 8 months ago. I don’t know if it’s here, but it would be a dream come true if it is. It would mean the world to me.”
Step 2: Be open about what you want.
Part of committing to what you want is sharing that with other people. Explain to them what you want and why it’s so meaningful to you. Bring them in to your commitment.
It seemed like the line took forever. The level of stress in the air was palpable. I focused on my breath for a little while. That helped. I focused on exuding an energy of possibility into a space wrought with scarcity and desperation. When I finally got inside — I saw the dress. I couldn’t be sure, but then again, maybe I was absolutely certain: That’s my dress.
And that’s another woman gesturing vaguely at my dress.
And that’s a consultant taking it off the rack and bringing it to the dressing room to be tried on by — not me. I was filled with fear, rage, and an awkward helplessness as I was still waiting in line. But then I made the same choice again: No. We are not going to do this from a place of fear. We are going to do this from a place of possibility.
Step 3: Repeat Steps 1 and 2.
If only we could commit to what we want just once. To believe that it’s possible. To accept all outcomes. And then just have it happen. But it doesn’t work that way. You may need to commit and recommit over and over again, throughout the course of a day, a week, a month, a year, or many years. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until they become second nature to you.
I got to the front of the line and I spoke to a woman who was directing traffic. I showed her a picture of the dress. “It’s a Danielle Caprese. I’m looking for this one, this is my literal dream come true. I thought I saw it over there… I think someone may have taken it just now…” She took the picture from my hands and looked closely at it. Then she looked over to where the dress hung by the dressing room. “A dream come true? Oh, honey! Let’s find it!”
I must have struck a chord with her because she marched over to the consultant helping the other bride-to-be. I don’t know what they said to each other but I saw her take the dress away and put my name on it. She came back over to me, “It’s there for you when you’re ready. Do you want to shop around a little more?”
Step 4: Trust that the universe has already carved out a place.
In order to know what you want, you have to know who you are. Your hopes, your dreams, your desires, they’re all a product of your own unique brilliance. There is only one you in this world. The real secret here is that when you set your intention on something, if it’s the right thing, your thing, then it’s been out there waiting for you the whole time. It is your job to meet it halfway.
My wedding dress.
It’s not a dress that I would call 2019 trendy, but there is just something about it. It seems like it’s from another time. I don’t even think they have it in any other sizes. I mean, I could swear, looking at it hanging there, that it was literally the exact dress I had tried on 8 months ago. I did a once-over through the racks of sample gowns, but yet again, nothing compared. “No. That’s the one. Can I try it on now?”
The store was so crowded that everyone was sharing fitting rooms. I was lucky to share mine with just one other person. There was a little smudge of makeup on the dress. Probably a result of being piled together with 10 other dresses to be tried on earlier in the day, or the other brides who had tried on the sample over the past few months. I couldn’t have cared less. I just wanted to put that dress back on.
The consultant stood back as I stepped out of the dressing room. I was in tears. It was better than I remembered. My tears brought out her tears.
“It’s literally made for you. There is only one sample of this gown in the whole store. This was made for you.”
Step 5: Gratitude.
The part where you have to figure out who you are and what you want, where you have to believe that it’s possible, even when it doesn’t seem possible, where you have to commit to something without attachment to the outcome: That’s the hard part. Once you’ve got all that going, you’re in for the easy part. The part called flow. The part where things come to you with ease. It’s time to express your gratitude.
The dress fit perfectly. It was half off. I couldn’t contain myself. I shared my story with the attendants, of which there are many along the way to actually buying a dress. There’s the consultant who helps you pick out dresses and brings them to the dressing room, there’s the person who prints out a receipt for you who sends you over to finances, and there’s the finance person.
I was lit up. I told them all how happy I was and how much this meant to me. It must have meant something to them too, because they took another chunk off of the price of the dress for the makeup stain.
The finance woman told me that this was exactly why they do the sale every year, and that this was the best possible way for her to end her day. “It’s a TV worthy Kleinfeld’s Sale moment! Too bad the cameras are gone already!”
Here’s the bottom line: we all have weird stuff in our space when it comes to stuff we want.
Normally, we start the sentence “I want” fill in the blank, then add a “But…” The conversation I want you to have is not about the “but.” It’s about the “I want” with a period on the end.
This story is about me finding a dress (YES. SO AWESOME. IT IS NOW IN MY CLOSET AWAITING OUR SPECIAL DAY NEXT YEAR.) But it’s really a great metaphor for life. I knew exactly what I wanted, and I came to the situation with an energy that was aligned with who I am. I knew that being connectable and not being aggressive makes people want to help. I knew that being upfront about what I wanted and explaining why it was important to me would give people a reason to help. I knew that there is a difference between rage and urgency.
Now that I’m at the end of this process, I can take this feeling I have to my other goals in life. It’s a little bit crazy, but the best way to be at the beginning of the process is really a lot like the way of being you would have at the end of it, after you’ve achieved your goal.