How to look like you have your shit together when you really don’t

We all have times in life when the shit hits the fan. Whether that be work, relationships, family or anything else.

However, in the name of staying professional, you usually have to look like you’ve got it together. The upshot of this is that looking polished can help you feel better. As they say, fake it ’till you make it!

This is something I experienced when setting up an office in Mexico. I was looking for office space, interviewing a team and amending legal contracts. Plus I’d just been through a breakup. It was a tough time, and thankfully I can say that, as the old adage goes, time does indeed heal all wounds.

Nonetheless, here are my tips for looking and feeling okay when things are rough.

1. Do your nails. Pick a nude or sheer colour, so you can go at least a week before chips become really visible.

2. Drink plenty of water. This goes for jetlag and lack of sleep too!

3. Have two or three hairstyles that just work for you. I often found myself throwing my hair up in a top knot in the back of a taxi, only to have people comment on how polished I looked.

4. Try to get some sleep. This goes without saying. You need to take good care of yourself at all times, but most of all when it seems like you have no time in the day. Caffeine can only get you so far.

5. If in doubt, wear all black. Most of my professional wardrobe is darker hues, mainly because I can throw something together with no thought. Additional bonus: you can spill almost anything on black, and it doesn’t show. (This does not apply to avocado or yogurt, as I have discovered the hard way).

6. In meetings, write everything down. In fact, write everything down, full stop. I’ve been surprised by how scatter-brained I can become when I have a lot on my plate. Taking notes will stop you from having to ask stupid questions, or forgetting tasks altogether.


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