The Red Velvet Rope

Posted on January 9, 2014


rope barrier and stair

A couple of years ago, I took a class with this awesome business coach named Michael Port. I learned a lot of great things from him, but one of the most profound was his idea of the “red, velvet rope.” Michael was talking about a business concept but his philosophy was so unique that I think of it often when I’m talking with my clients about relationships.

The best nightclubs have VIP lists and waiting lists and people who are going to try to get in even though they are on neither of these lists. There are all these people, waiting outside of the nightclub on a Saturday night, pretending to be cool enough to party there. So what’s a hot dance club with limited space to do?

Put up a velvet rope, hire some bouncers, give them the lists and make sure that only those that are allowed are able to get in.  Do this with your own clients, put up a red, velvet rope and be very careful about who you let in, and your business will be transformed, Port says.

But forget the dance clubs and the businesses for a minute.

I wish every woman I know would put a red, velvet rope around her heart. Protect it fiercely and make sure she knows who should be allowed in and who should not.

There is a woman in my mom’s group who has been going through a divorce since last year. Her son is my son’s age, only two, and I don’t know how she is handling all of it with such grace and poise, but she is. I am dying to know what happened, why things fell apart so quickly, but of course I’m not going to ask her outright. Instead, I look for clues on her Facebook page. Every so often, she’ll post something that hints at the wisdom she’s gained from her failed marriage.

Something she posted the other day really struck me. It said something like, “If you wouldn’t let your daughter or your sister date a man who treated her in a disrespectful way, why are YOU tolerating it?” Because isn’t that the truth?

If someone treated your best friend or your little sister or your precious daughter meanly, you would feel outraged and indignant. You would say, “Don’t date that person! or Don’t hang out with her. You deserve better!”

But if someone treats you badly, you don’t walk away. You blame yourself. Or you make excuses. Or you rationalize that maybe nothing better will ever come along and you should  just accept what you’re given.

What is it about us women that makes us so desperate to be liked? To be approved of at all times? To be included and accepted and loved before we even know what we’re getting into?

One of my coaching colleagues told me her New Year’s resolution was to disregard any and everyone who didn’t love her. I laughed when she said that and I’ve been thinking about it for weeks. What would my life look like if I chose to do the same?

I’m not sure, actually, but the whole idea is exhilarating. I’ve spent a great deal of my life worrying whether or not other people like me and it’s been such a huge waste of time. But this whole idea of dismissing those who don’t love me?  Now that’s something.

Every time I think of a red, velvet rope around my heart, it reminds me that I don’t have to let everyone in.  {Even if I’ve known them since grade school. Even if they’re related to me.} That, in fact,  it’s foolish not to be selective.

Love is a gift. It’s a gift when it’s given and it’s a gift when it’s received.

So put a red, velvet rope around your heart. Put a bouncer there, too, just for good measure. And do let people in, because a life filled with love is so worth living. Just make sure those that get past the guard are worth what you have to offer.

Posted in: Self-Worth