Friday, November 28, 2008

Less You. More Them.

Today I was reading the book What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. In this book, the author lists 20 bad habits (plus one bonus) that prevent successful people from becoming more successful. Most of the habits were pretty obviously going to be detrimental to one's continuing success, although a few were rather surprising.

However, it was the 20th habit that caught my eye, because it relates to some of the advice I give pertaining to wardrobe planning. I'll introduce the habit first, then draw the connection.

The 20th habit that Goldsmith tells us we need to eliminate is the "Excessive Need to Be Me". He writes: "Each of us has a pile of behavior which we define as "me". It's the chronic behavior, both positive and negative, that we think of as our inalterable essence."

He goes on to share a frank discussion he had with a successful businessman who was finding it hard to praise his staff because he thought it made him "phony". After working through the issue with Goldsmith, the man "realized that this stern allegience to his definition of himself was pointless vanity. If he could shed his 'excessive need to be me' he wouldn't see himself as a phony. He could...start behaving in a way that benefitted others."

The take-away point that Goldsmith makes is this: "It's not about you. It's about what other people think of you."

The gentleman in the story above behaved a certain way because he thought it would be inauthentic of him to behave otherwise. But the message he was sending by being "authentic" was NOT the message he was intending others to receive. So he had to change his behavior -- move beyond what made him comfortable -- to actually get the result he desired.

I've written a number of articles about the mis-guided attempts we make to dress to express our authentic selves. The problem with this method of lighting on a style persona is that while WE may be perfectly happy with how we are dressing, the message others are receiving is likely going to be mis-interpreted. This is why it is so important to first dress the way you want others to perceive you. This doesn't leave out the element of personal expression, it only places it in perspective.

"Less me. More them. Equals success," says Goldsmith.
Sound advice.

See you next time...same blog time...same blog channel....

(For more information on wardrobe planning, or to sign up for my free e-zine, please visit my wardrobe planning website.)


RobFromGa said...

Great advice for salespeople and businesspersons trying to make a positive successful impression.

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Matthew Shields said...

This was a great post.
I know that I used to try and be a very strict business person. When i would make my presentations I could tell that they were not making the connection. I soon realized that I wasn't presenting the person i was in person.

Matthew Shields
Energy Expert

Lena Milukh said...

A good impression is vital, especially on a first time meeting. An according outfit definitely has a huge impact.
Improving Communication in Business and Personal Life

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JohnWShoemaker said...

I used to travel around the country and quickly adapted dressing for my audience...and the environment.

Teaching in Boston proper was different than teaching 60 miles away in the small townships.

Teaching in Long Island was different than Brooklyn.

And on and on.

I just let my intuitive self tell make which way to go. Often I could just tell by talking to an office manager what their culture was like.


Intuitive John

Angela Silvestri said...

Good information that ties in with selecting clothes to create an easy way for people to connect.

One day a heard a girl talking, her voice was beautiful. As i entered the room, the girl whose voice it belonged to was dressed in such a way that caused me to be uncomfortable and confused. Nothing was put together...signals in my brain were screaming all different messages.

Completely get what your saying.

Angela R. Silvestri
Ear Coning Maven

S Chambers said...

Definitely a habit we should all make the effort to break or modify. It doesn't serve us in our business or personal life.

Persuasion & Influence

DIYlawyer said...

Great advice

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Cindy Eyanson said...

Great post and great advice.

Cindy Eyanson Online

Darryl Pace said...

Superb blog, Jennifer! I may get that book.

Darryl Pace

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

Hi Jenn,

what an excellent point. Indeed, it is vanity. And sometimes our egos are attached to how we are presently.

I remember Sr Year in college at Smith College and realizing we would be segueing to suit wearing.



because as Seniors we had all of these attitudes about THOSE PEOPLE who wore suits.

And then my sister bought me my first one.

I think I actually DO still have it (sorry, some things we DO have to hang onto!).

And now? I love wearing suits.

by HABITUALLY WEARING good suits, I became a woman COMFORTABLE with wearing suits so that indeed IT BECAME part of who I am genuinely.

I can wear St. John Knits Couture or a suit from Wal*Mart (indeed, I have this DARLING jacket! it was quite a find!) and be comfortable and look fabulous.

In my Online Dating Coaching work I inculcate for singles to go on MORE dates. There is a whole huge mental shift and transformation by doing so. Yup, plenty of dates are tedious or rather nice that go no where. If they are tedious, time to go back to drawing board of whom we date and our conversational skills. Be like an ambassador or diplomat, able to converse with ANYONE and find out what is INTERESTING in the OTHER person.

Yes, it's not ALL about ... me.

After 6 weeks of doing that, singles who work with me then find dating... enjoyable. And in fact, it becomes... fun. because they are discovering nuances about... themselves.

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Expert, Romantic Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

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