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