Appearance: Be yourself – 100%
Appearance: Be yourself – everything else will be found automatically
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s quote describes a problem that hasn’t gotten any better in the age of social media and the constant visibility of businesswomen than it did back in Emerson’s days.
I think reaching the goal of “being yourself 100%” or “staying yourself” is harder than ever. If you remember: This was the only new years Resolution I made: BE YOURSELF!
Now, at the beginning of February 2022, I would like to take up exactly this topic again in this blog post.
How do I appear?
It doesn’t seem easy, especially in the business world. Especially not as a woman. If men have a dress uniform with a suit – optionally with or without a tie, WOMEN can only do it wrong.
Too sexy, too long, too short, too revealing, too casual, too strict too…
In a conversation between two female entrepreneurs, I overheard the following: “I never quite know what to wear seeing my clients. If it’s too feminine, then I’m afraid that he just wants to sleep with me. If it’s too young, then he doesn’t take me seriously, if it’s too strict, then he thinks I’m some buttoned-up governess. It’s so hard to dress properly. I want to come across as a competent expert.”
I would have been happy if her interlocutor had contradicted me. But she hasn’t. On the contrary: Business woman #2 also vividly underlined this problem with examples from her customer and employee experiences.
Appearance -> What does your inner voice say?
Be honest: What does your inner voice say?
For example, you meet a business partner and her skirt is a tad too short for your taste… Well, do yourself a favor and listen to your inner voices. What do you hear? Is there a “My god, doesn’t she look into a mirror?” Or rather, an “ok, topic number one on the agenda is: …” Depending on how your inside is receiving her outer appearance, gives you a good hint, what your limiting beliefs are. Have you been thinking: “Somebody dressed like that is not professional!” Or “Oh my, whom did they send? She will never do the job!”
If so: What are you thinking about your appearance? What do you think about your competence and professionalism?
Appearance -> find your style….
There are color and style consultants around every corner. And yes, some advice on color and style might very well be helpful. A well-coordinated appearance is a piece of security for the business woman. It takes away the complexity of “What do I wear?” from everyday life and gives a bit of security, which ensures from the outside that she can go into a meeting calmer on the inside.
And yet: Despite all the color and style advice, the actual problem may not have been solved yet: Do you come across as a competent expert to your counterpart?
Appearance: Do you come across competently to your counterpart?
The question of competence should be asked here completely independently of whether the business partner is a man or a woman or how young or old this person is. If you have any insecurities, then these will show to the outside! Even after the color and style consultation. The attire may be perfectly coordinated. If the “inside” doesn’t match, then the perfect outfit won’t be able to look perfect after all. Then your competence, your expert status will not reach the person you are talking to.
Be yourself – inside and out…
I have a girlfriend, let’s call her K. She’s a few years (>15) older than me. Like me, she is physically rather small, barely 1.60 m. And yet: She is always noticed. Always seen, never ignored or passed over. At first I thought it was the experience of old age that gave her this competence. It wasn’t. Stories from her friends of the same age confirm that K. had this behavior even when she was young. Her words radiate the clarity and competence that woman often desire. K. is not misunderstood… and if that should ever happen, then she puts it right – immediately. Without hesitation, without the thought: “What do they think about me?”
American entrepreneur Mary K. Ash is quoted as follows:
“You lead 3 ways: By example, by example, by example.”
That describes the behavior of my friend K. very well. Because what she does is always 100% authentic, 100% consistent, everything fits together. The prime example of leadership, so to speak. Leadership from the inside out.
That’s not something to “fake”. This only works in the long term if you are 100%.
What you are on the inside has an effect on the outside. 100%.
What you are on the inside has an effect on the outside. 100%. There can be great make-up, cool glasses and an expensive costume… but if you don’t believe in yourself and what you can do and are: then it won’t work on the outside…
Unfortunately, women in particular have these loud negative inner voices. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a businesswoman working from home, a mompreneur or a manager in industry or politics. The constant critic who turns every tiny problem into a crisis is loud, annoying and often this inner voice prevents you from achieving (professional) success with ease and composure. The inner critic conjures up an unnecessary crisis that distracts from the really important things and lets female self-confidence plummet.
The inner critic does not believe the outside. The realization must come from within – from yourself.
The inner critic does not believe the outside. The knowledge must come from within – from yourself.
These inner voices keep some women from even getting up and speaking for themselves or making a career. Taking the lead, as the saying goes. But that only works if you can lead yourself.
If you lead yourself successfully, then others will follow you. Whether this is as an entrepreneur, department head, mother or just a customer in the boutique (like my friend K.)…it doesn’t matter.
K. knows how to deal with her inner voices… Do you?
If I could see inside the heads of other women, the picture would probably look like this:
An “I’m not as good as them!” alternates with “I’m fooling myself” or “I’m not good enough”.
We blame ourselves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Let’s get back to the conversation between the two business women. “Too sexy, too long, too short, too frank, too casual, too strict” can then be completed with “too fat, too thin, too young, too old, too little experience, too little turnover, too little, …. “
This is poison for your outward appearance. It almost doesn’t matter what clothes you’ve picked out for the business meeting… With this negative inner attitude, you’ll come across as insecure, incompetent and, in case of doubt, super nervous.
External effect: How can you achieve inner peace and serenity?
Your inner compass or your inner GPS will show you the way. Take a few minutes and think about your current situation. Are you happy with that is everything going the way you would like it to? “Walk your talk” is a quote that sums it up perfectly. If you know what you want, it’s much easier… and yet: the inner critic prevents so many things…
With Erfolgskeks I help (business) women to transform their inner critic into a relaxed, trusting and clear supporter. An inner voice that builds you up and looks at the situation objectively instead of subjectively evoking a fearful or timid reaction.
Interested in finding out more about your inner critic?
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