Who are you trying to impress? It’s a question that I get all of the time. Anytime someone asks me, they aren’t referring to my attitude, they are, without fail talking about the way I’m dressed.
Every day, I wear my uniform with pride. I wear a tailored suit, a pressed shirt and dark tie. I make sure that my shoes are shined and hair is cut. I take a great deal of care to make sure that when I present myself to the world, that I’m presenting a polished, professional image.
But there’s only one person that I’m trying to impress and that’s myself.
I set high standards for the way that I look and the way that I carry myself not because I want others to notice me in vanity, but because I do my best work when I feel best about myself.
I write and I speak a lot about standing out because it has its advantages. Men and women who are well dressed are instantly given more credibility, but it’s men and women who carry themselves with confidence who are trusted. This is what my suit does for me. It fires my confidence.
This wasn’t always the case.
My grandfather wasn’t a cinema star during the golden age of Hollywood. He drove a tractor. My dad isn’t a slick suited attorney, he is a carpenter. Both were good men that taught me a lot of about the value of discipline and hard work but when it came time to put together an executive image, I was on my own.
After struggling for years a salesperson, I realized that it didn’t matter what I was selling. Having the greatest product or service in the world didn’t matter if I couldn’t get taken seriously by gatekeepers or decision makers. It was a lack of confidence that was holding me back, but I didn’t know it at the time.
That’s when I began studying those that succeeded where I failed and I noticed that in almost every case, it was small details that made a huge difference; shiny shoes, a dimpled tie, a properly fitting suit. When I worked on these details, I began to see myself differently and the world noticed.
Every day the most important sale we make is the one we make to ourselves. Every day we have to sell us on our own abilities before anyone else will buy them. It might seem silly, but that’s what looking the part does for me. It might be something completely different for you, but whatever it is, you have to find it and do whatever it takes to close that sale because your success depends on it. That’s why I work so hard at looking my best. I don’t do it to impress anyone. I do it for me, and that’s reason enough.