by: Joanne Pittman
Reinventing - There are significant personal changes we face in life such as divorce, career changes and advancements, becoming parents and empty nesting to name a few. Life transitions offer priceless opportunities for reinvention and evolution. Successfully developing our personal brand is an often overlooked yet crucial component.
Many years ago, I worked in a fine boutique selling men's clothing. Without fail, every Thursday through Saturday terrified, middle-aged adult males flooded into my “office” hunting for something to wear. The obvious discomfort expressed in their body language told me that they were not accustomed to the perilous fashion retail jungle.
“Recently divorced? Date tonight?” I whispered.
“Yeah, how did you know? What’s in style? What should I wear?” Utter despair and frustration.
Whether male or female when shopping for clothing, please do not focus on what is fashionable or what is best to wear. These are sub-issues of a more important nuclear issue: Understanding and clearly communicating one’s identity.
Creating Image Authenticity
Lack of commitment to one’s personal brand and purpose is the crux of most fashion missteps. Undergoing a sudden life change simply exacerbates the matter and brings us to a more acute understanding of our confused state.
For over two decades I have developed methods to help clients create their personal brand. It is imperative to develop “Image Authenticity” which clearly reflects who you are and why you matter.
When a client meets with me for an initial consultation, they often expect to answer questions related to their fashion preferences; color likes and dislikes, what size they wear etc. This what a typical retail sales associate asks. I am no longer a retail sales person; rather I have become an expert in personal branding. My objective is to tell your story via your image. I create the book cover which compels the reader to open, read and learn more.
In order for this process to be effective, your book cover must be congruent with your story. Otherwise, you may lose your audience, they may feel as though they have been lied to and valuable opportunities will likely be lost.
The Two Most Important Questions:
Who are you?
Why do you matter?
The typical reaction to these questions is a blank stare followed by a furrowed brow then by twitching of their facial muscles as they grasp to offer an answer. It is rare that I meet someone who immediately recites their personal mission statement with clarity and resolve. Well, come to think of it, that has never happened.
Here are a few questions I ask to gather pertinent information. The answers will offer me clues relevant to who you are and why you matter.
If money were no issue, what would you do for employment and or enjoyment?
What are you best three character traits?
What three character traits do you wish to improve or develop?
By gathering answers to these and several other questions I am able to determine a sense of core values, character traits, talents, ambitions etc. This will help form the foundation upon which all image related matters will be built upon.
What’s In Your Closet? Be True To Your Brand.
Here are three tips to get you started with your personal brand development:
Start in your closet. Remove items which do not reflect the truth about who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. This includes all clothing which does not fit you RIGHT NOW. Your closet is a library, all about you. If the shoe doesn’t fit, remove it. Literally.
Go back to your closet. I know you don’t want to. But DO IT. This is where each day begins. Your closet is either mocking you or celebrating you. (Those items that might fit you one day can be stored away somewhere other than your closet.)
Do not buy anything that takes away from your message, no matter how inexpensive it is, or how “in style” it might seem at the moment.
Divorce is a stressor which changes everything. Our identity and what we were as a married person is no longer. Picking up and moving forward to define a new life, a renewal of purpose and a new sense of self is a healthy part of the experience. Reflect on who you are and why you matter. Carefully and thoughtfully create your personal brand (which includes your personal grooming and clothing choices) to reflect these truths. You will attract the right people and opportunities as you continue to grow and evolve.
Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” - Sir Richard Branson, CEO Virgin
As one of the principals and founders of Pittman, Lamitie & Associates, Joanne has developed their proprietary IMAGE Authenticity™ Training Programs which address the multifaceted work and lifestyle demands on employees and executives in the corporate world today. Her innovative approach has evolved over the past twenty three years in the fashion, fitness, luxury retail and image consulting industries. Joanne has been writing training curriculum and presenting developmental workshops to large and small audiences for over eighteen years. She is known for raising new questions and expectations which successfully foster authentic corporate and personal brand presence.You can contact Joanne at Joanne@PittmanLamitie.com. Visit her website at www.PittmanLamitie.com and linkedin at www.linkedin.com/pub/joanne-pittman.