So we’re experiencing a ton of change here at ICU with interns arriving, moving from a home office to a downtown office, getting a virtual assistant and generally expanding our business and during this time I’m noticing a couple of things… first, change has an emotional and financial price, even when it’s good change and second, change can be a little crazy making! Why am I blogging about this? It’s because I have a newfound appreciation for the change clients go through when they enter the image development process; even when you think you’ve got your ‘brand’ down, there’s always more to refine, finesse, move into and go deeper.
In this age of branding, rebranding, marketing, media and communication, it can be daunting to get into your closet or into the stores and create a personal image that goes along with your business/work life or vice versa. It’s important to have your personal image aligned with your work, especially when you’re in or planning on getting into a transition. Living in alignment with your work creates a positive attraction for you and will draw clients and opportunities to you more easily.
Grab your journal – here are three questions to stimulate your thinking and get you started in aligning your work with your personal image and vice versa:
1. What is my business/work life?
This is the first and most important question to ask. If you aren’t sure who you are, or you’re still figuring it out, you’ll be projecting that uncertainty in your image. Uncertainty in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it’s a necessary place to go before achieving clarity, but when you’re aligning your personal image with your business, it may be easier to start with the business. Write down everything you know about your business, about the general perception of your industry and the typical image projected by others in your industry. Then, once you’ve got the information down, check your closet to see what’s in there that aligns with your industry and what aligns with you.
2. What practical requirements do I need to meet with my image?
The second thing to consider is pure functionality. Depending on your industry, your clothing may or may not meet your needs. For example, home stagers need to embody creativity and organization and polish, but they also need to move furniture, deal with small repairs and clean areas where necessary. As a result, their clothing requirements will be different from an administrative professional who also needs to embody organization and polish, but has a completely different working style. Write down all the practical requirements of your business and then head back to your closet to see what’s available and functional for your daily activities.
3. What is my personal style?
Finally, write down everything you know about your personal style. Do you like comfort? Are you on the cutting edge of fashion? Do you enjoy soft, luxurious fabrics? Are you highly creative? It’s important to figure out what your values are around your clothing and then apply those values to your business image and in fact to your business as well. If you’re not comfortable in the clothing your business calls for, that’s a clue that you might not be fully aligned with your business and will need to do some further investigating to see if your image can change or if your work needs to change instead.
Don’t love to write? Try collaging or creating a Pinterest board instead of all the things that inspire you. This will give you an indication of what you’re drawn to and you can apply those concepts to your closet as well. For example, if you find you have a lot of pictures of stuff that has really clean lines, it’s possible the clothing that satisfies you most will have those same clean lines.
Have some fun with the exploration – I invite you to drop us a line and let us know how it’s going; here in the comments or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org