A publicist calls to thank me for featuring her client on “Deals & Steals.” She says they’ve already gotten more than 5,000 orders and it’s only noon—they expect to sell far more by the time buying ends at midnight. We begin talking about other things and she says she’s spending the afternoon prepping to pitch a new client the next day.
“Have any words of wisdom?” she asks.
“Wear red underwear,” I say without hesitating.
She pauses and asks, “Why red underwear?”
I’ve always liked red underwear because I feel there’s something that’s simultaneously naughty and empowering about the color. I’ve advised more than a few women who need a psychological boost before heading into a high-stakes conversation to go red. It’s a power color that you may not be able to pull off on the outside, but when you wear red underwear it’s a hidden superpower that only you know about. Wear red undies and you’ve got a good luck charm and a sure-fire confidence booster wrapped in one. My dresser drawer is filled with them.
As I build a stronger me, I realize I could use a new pair of red undies myself. I already have my neon yellow Nike sneakers, which Peter calls my “don’t mess with me sneaks.” When I wear them in the park, every step seems easier.
I’m always on the lookout for stuff to make me feel strong.
It doesn’t take long before an opportunity to put my red underwear theory to the test.
I am speaking at a conference in Long Beach, California. I’ve given hundreds of speeches in my life, but I’ve never stood alone on stage in front of 13,000 people, which is what I’m about to do for an entire hour. I am here to talk to direct sales reps for a skin-care company, about personal and professional challenges and triumphs. The main event is in a cavernous arena where people fill the main floor and a balcony.
I can talk to 5 million Good Morning America viewers and not get nervous, but now I have 26,000 eyes staring intently at me. The crowd is welcoming and gracious with laughter and applause as I speak about my own heartaches and successes. They’re here for inspiration and they hang on every word.
I want to bottle the energy in this hall. It feels like this is my personal cheering squad—and it’s 13,000 strong.
When I start coughing midway through this speech and think I’m losing my voice, someone in the audience races from her seat to the stage to bring me bottled water and cough drops.
As I take a sip and catch my breath, I hear women say from random parts of the balcony: “We love you, Tory. Take your time.”
I love them right back, so much so that I take a risk: I ask everyone to stand so I can snap a selfie from the stage. I want to capture this magical memory. To up the ante, I ask them for their favorite mantras for a short video that I’ll post on Facebook.
Backstage, unbeknownst to me, my husband Peter has recorded that moment on a monitor. On a whim he sends the clip to several friends and relatives.
As I walk offstage to a standing ovation, a barrage of texts appears on my phone from the people back home who have watched, courtesy of Peter’s video. The best one comes from Barbara Fedida: “OMG. That looks like a Taylor Swift concert!”
I’m not a rock star, but I feel like one today and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I am wearing red underwear.
Put on a pair of red underwear and rock your confidence.
Excerpted from Shift for Good: Simple Changes for Lasting Joy Inside and Out by Tory Johnson, Good Morning America contributor, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Shift and columnist for SUCCESS magazine