Image Ability | Blog: Emerging in style is about your personal values
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One thing most of us have done more of during the past few years is taking time to think – or, perhaps, just taking a bit more, even intentional (!) me-time.

Reflection, based around our values, has taken centre stage and, as societies gradually emerge into the new light after any crisis for that matter, acquired learning from recent events becomes even more valuable.

It is satisfying to see how my amazing students have reacted to their first assignment in Image Fundamentals; this is when we start by making ourselves responsible for defining our image. No textbook or treatise can do this for us as ‘image’ is about each-and-everyone’s personal values – usually something we communicate loud and clear through what we wear.

Taking time and a conscious effort to become aware of what image means to you is the absolute number one fundamental. If you value status, then you need to be dressed for display and armoured against the judgement of others. If you value family most, but you are in a highly stressful job and away from home, guilt is likely to be chipping away at your confidence as you walk a daily tight-rope.

Or you may be highly competitive but have ended up in an administrative role that doesn’t match your energy; on the other hand, the promise of simplicity in a new job may help ‘bake’ your next escape which you can calibrate against your growing family priorities.

Image goes hand-in-hand with the type of work you want to do and by simply answering this question – What life do I really want(?), you already have the toolkit to design it for yourself and then live it one step at a time.

Inevitably, ‘image’ means different things to different people, as each and every one of us value things in a different priority order. So, even if image is timeless, its make up is very personal as we each achieve our balance in our own, personal ways.

Has your definition of success changed during the past years? Do you have new priorities? What is important to you?

Some of the things which worked in the past may not work any longer – but they are valuable learning. Whether you have thought about it or not, the truth is that defining your success in the ‘new normal’ goes hand-in-hand with your image and style.

  1. Which are your happiest clothes?  What were you doing when you wore them?  Were there any other people around?

Happy clothes abound in my wardrobe as I am an eternal optimist who can only see the half-full part of the glass. I enjoy my life, my work and I treasure quality time with my family. Wearing fresh linen in vibrant colours during hot summers is my definition of bliss.

In other words, for me ‘happy’ means:  goodness, curiosity, creativity, elegance, enthusiasm, uniqueness, vision.

2.   Which are your most proud outfits?  What was the occasion?  Who was there with you to share your pride?

I admit I still have a silk jacket worn when I signed my first big contract. I fainted with emotion when I returned to my car, and luckily I had colleagues who picked me up.

My proudest outfits carry my story of challenge, excellence, freedom, professionalism, dynamism, trustworthiness and success.

3.   What were you wearing when you felt you were at your best?  Remember what was the need which was fulfilled?  Why did the experience work for you?

Natural fabrics, colours and colours again, quirky frills and quality tailoring are what fulfil my needs; they never fail me.

Feeling best is for every day and, for me, it is about cheerfulness, quality, expressiveness, growth and strength.

Which garments do you have in your wardrobe which made you feel happiest, proudest and fulfilled?

Look at the three questions above – and in your wardrobe, if you really need to do so  – and write down five words about each (aim for 15 in total for a start) and learn from what you see. Most importantly, note what you feel as these communicate your identity – not only your style.  And when you emerge into your own ‘new normal’ after any crisis or change be it internally or externally – have these in mind, whatever you do, as re-affirming them will give you direction.

If you can give yourself just an hour a day for six days you can get up to speed with your own Image Fundamentals in my online course; there, you will find a few more questions which will empower you with your own answers.  It is all about your choice of Image – and where you may need to do a bit of work, which you can do in steps and in your own time.

When you know what matters to you – as opposed to what others say should matter – your life becomes easier and more fun to live, especially as you make conscious plans and decisions to make them happen.

If you get stuck with any of the three questions above – or you end up with a list of words you are unsure about- there is help at hand:  just drop me an email.

In the meantime, a big ‘thank you’ to you, my ladies, for defining what the Image Fundamentals experience has done for you! You are truly emerging in style and stronger for all that you want to do next!

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