First Impressions – Dressing For Success

That the goals that I have for myself and the standards that I have set for myself to achieve those goals also come in different forms.

First impressions….

Its a term we’ve heard a number of times.  First impressions are made within seconds of meeting someone.  Its cruel but reality and our clothes make up a large portion of that first impression.  While clothes can be a factor in first impressions, it can also be a factor in moving closer to your goals.  It all depends on how you see yourself and how it relates to your goals.

I used to wear the typical Steve Jobs / Mark Zuckerberg uniform to work.  Not the most professional, but then again techies like myself weren’t expected to dress well.  Infact, our anti-uniform is the standard uniform in the industry.

But one day, I realized that it didn’t have to be.  That the goals that I have for myself and the standards that I have set for myself to achieve those goals also come in different forms.  So up until now, I’ve been working hard because I’ve set a standard for myself, but the way I dressed, didn’t indicate so.

Thats when I decided to set a standard not only for how I act, but also for how I look as well.  Because up until then, the way I looked indicated that I set myself up for mediocrity.  My end goal was to start wearing a suit everyday to the classroom and beyond.  I wanted to because I wanted to set a standard for myself.

Brian Tracy once said in one of his audio CDs that you should dress for the role you desire.  I’d like to take that a step further and say that you should dress for the success that you desire.  But I decided to work this in, in baby steps with a 2 year plan.  I started by moving away from jeans to dress pants.  For one whole semester.  Once I got used to that routine, the next semester, I moved away from sweaters and golf shirts and worked in a dress shirt to go along with the dress pants.  The next semester, I added a sport coat.  The next semester, I went with a full on suit, but no tie.  Finally, I moved to including a tie.

It was these baby steps that allowed me to take on a new routine and stick with it.  I now regularly wear a suit almost every where I go.  Sometimes, at the office, I would be asked if I was going to a job interview as a joke but otherwise it also gave me a sense of going places as well.

The benefits of dressing for success are huge.

  1. Self-esteem.  There’s something about dressing up that gives you a sense of self worth.  When I used to wear jeans and cheesy t-shirts, I didn’t reflect that I had much pride in myself, or the work I would produce.  Pride in my own work should be the highest priority.
  2. Motivation.  There may be days when the grind is so gruelling that you may not even want to get out of bed.  Having yourself distracted with taking pride in your appearance may take away those jitters.
  3. Direction.  Dressing for the role and success you want will guide you towards the direction you want.  Its all about mind set and

So here are three tips for taking your outfit to the next level.

  1. Have a plan.  Know your end game, what do you want to do and why do you want to accomplish it.  It is the only way you will be able to maintain it.
  2. Take it in small steps.  All changes that come in life need to be in the form of baby steps.  Think about January 2nd of every year.  The parking lot to every gym in the city is full because everyone feels that this is the year they get in shape and maintain it and yet by February 1st, the parking lot is empty because they did too much too quickly.  Personally I don’t believe in New Years resolutions and feel that if I’m going to change myself, I should not only never do it on January 1st, but also to do it in pieces.  I started by just adding dress pants to my daily routine and eventually worked my way to a full on suit and tie.
  3. Start with what you already own.  Don’t go out and break the bank on a new wardrobe when you might be just as fine with what you already have.

So there you have it, a process for taking your visual appearance to the next level and why you should consider doing so.

So go out there and get dressed for success.

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