And the Oscar goes to...

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The Oscars, the stars, the red carpet! It was all sooooo exciting!

The 2 hours of make up, the one-hour of hair styling, the uncomfortable shoes! It was all so exhausting!

Now add to that the pressure to look great, the pressure to make sure you get interviewed and lastly the pressure to keep up with the illusion.

2014 was my maiden voyage onto the pressure cooker that is the red carpet of the Academy Awards. I have watched the stars walk the red carpet on TV for years. This was my chance to walk it and be the one who was being asked whose dress I was wearing. Let’s face it…not many people can say they’ve done that in their lifetime and I bought it lock stock and barrel….for a little while. :)  

For me…life is an adventure and the Oscars experience was just that…an adventure.

One thing that I noticed was that everybody was really stressed out. The stars, their handlers, the media, the assistants, the security…etc… Why isn’t this more enjoyable, more fun, a celebration???????. I mean, the men are wearing tuxedos and the women are walking around in $20’000 gowns and millions of dollars worth of jewelry. Who wouldn’t wish they could be in their shoes? (It’s not real and mostly on loan)

They pose and smile for the paparazzi and answer questions over and over again. Everyone is watching their every move. They are rich and famous. They have it all. (Really?????????? Not really…it is an illusion)

Everybody, not just celebrities, succumb to what others think we “should” be or how we “should” behave and what we “should” do. We mostly go to work and play a role. A role we think others want us to play. That is why Facebook is so popular. It is a place to showcase and show off that our lives are so fabulous! (It’s an ILLUSION!)

I saw it everyday in the corporate world. I lived it! I too lived the illusion and nobody knew how “empty” I really was. One day, I said enough. I did the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I found the strength and courage to start the process of becoming the person I really AM. It was time to start letting go of the ILLUSION.    

Today I work with CEOs and executives on how to deal with this pressure…the pressure to keep the shareholders happy, the board happy, and the boss happy… CEOs have to perform or outperform expectations so that’s why they work 24/7 and often lose themselves. Company cultures are mostly fear based and that fear makes it’s way down to the managers and then to employees. Employees are afraid of their managers, they are afraid to lose their jobs or afraid to disagree, or… or… or. Mostly everyone deep down (consciously or not) is miserable and afraid.    

Living the life you want to live is a choice and everyone has a choice to live a balanced life, a fulfilled and content life…if you chose to. We can chose to live under stress (why?) or we can chose to do what we love (why not?) We put these huge expectations on ourselves everyday. Expectations that are hard or near impossible to meet but here’s the secret…one that I teach my clients.

“When there aren’t these huge expectations to fulfill, there is a lot less judgment. And when there is no judgment there is acceptance, and when there is acceptance, there is joy and when there is joy, there is freedom.”

I will be walking the red carpet once again in a few days and I am going with an open mind and heart, without any expectations about this new adventure. I must admit, I will look around and wonder where the life of these celebrities will go or end? This past year we lost two actors who succumbed to these huge pressures. How many more will take their lives (with awareness or without) before Hollywood stars (and everybody else too) realize that it doesn’t have to end or be this way?  

Your life doesn’t have to be an illusion. You do not have to live under constant pressure…. You choose.

This year, I choose to wear comfortable shoes!!!

Here is to your “comfortable shoes” :)

Jacqueline Muller