lifestylenoun life·style ˈlīf-ˈstī(-ə)l, -ˌstī(-ə)l
: the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture
A few years back, I spoke to successful businesswomen at a women's summit about the importance of embracing their personal style as a means to advance their lives, and the response was astonishingly positive and welcoming. This summit included seasoned business owners, CEOs, attorneys, new small business owners and other professional women who were great at their jobs but felt they lacked that special something that could push them forward into the lifestyle they truly desire.
Regardless of if we have life together in ways others only dream of or if we're just starting out in our newest endeavors and feel totally clueless, most of us understand there's still much more we can refine to empower our greatest selves to shine more consistently. However, the difference between those who show up with power and confidence, taking over the room simply with their presence alone, and those who continue to go unnoticed and be overlooked is often a lack of understanding that our personal style directly impacts a large part of our lives.
We tend to think style is simply "fashion" and doesn't relate to us all, but study after study reveals the surprising fact that our clothing choices can affect anything from the outcome of a sports game to an interviewers perception of our ability to do our job effectively. In fact, our style affects how we're perceived, how we actually feel in a day, the way others behave toward us and even our ability to focus. Our mood, health, and overall confidence can all be affected by our style. I could keep this list going, but I'd hate to pound you with a ton more research when I think you probably get my point.
When I mentioned these things at the women's leadership summit, many people in the audience could relate...When we look great, we often feel great - and people tend to treat us better on those days versus the days when we look drab, feel drab and are treated less respectably than we deserve.
Since I know many of us desire to be treated well, looked at positively, have a higher chance at getting greater jobs, feel confident, and so forth, I have some tips for tackling style to open more doors into the lifestyle we desire:
1) Overcome Fears
2) Create Confidence
3) Focus On Your Lifestyle
First, the only way to begin harnessing the style you need to allow for the lifestyle you want is to overcome the fears associated with your body, weight, size, age, knowledge of style and fashion, and so forth (the fears are endless, each individual probably experiences a number of them at any point in their lives).
Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” and be honest and open with your answer. Don’t make excuses for the perceived truths inside your mind, just recognize them as the fears they are and then be willing to begin peeling them away like deeply embedded layers of an onion. It’s important to recognize that we are our own biggest critics and more than likely, others aren’t focusing on our imperfections (not even a little, actually).
Once we start knocking down our fears, we can move toward creating the confidence within ourselves to try new things and make true and lasting changes with our style. This also means having the courage to research, learn and soak up different aspects of style that will benefit our overall look and help us step into the persona we need to reach our goals.
As we begin stepping out of our comfort zone, we feel more compelled to continue, and eventually, we realize we can “pull that off” (whatever it may be). We also see others’ reactions to our newfound confidence levels, even if only in the slightest instances of change, and that alone often inspires us to keep on with the confidence train.
Lastly (but definitely not least), we must focus on our desired lifestyle to even understand who we want to be and the gaps between that person and who we are now. After overcoming fears and creating confidence, we can then feel more aligned with that woman we’ve envisioned since our earliest days as a tween when we thought the whole world was in our hands (you know, before we were crushed by society’s expectations, our schoolmates’ judgments and our family's scrutinies).
Focusing on our lifestyle doesn’t mean picking apart every detail of what we hate about our lives, but rather placing your attention on the positives of who you can be and the life you can live. To do this for the first time, I love following a simple visualization exercise that allows us to envision our ideal self 5 years from now. ... You can follow the visualization in my video above (note the time stamp to skip forward if you'd like).
Wishing you the best as you embark on your “no-fear - total confidence - live the life you’ve always desired“ journey! As always, you’re supported and loved for your beauty along the way, and just remember: You’re Superman, not Clark Kent - Don’t hide behind your basic style and office desk…Be the awesome YOU you were born as, and you can save the world one person at a time (starting with yourself)!
You can learn more about Ashley LaRae - our StylePHX Founder and retired Stylist to the stars - by visiting our Meet Ashley page.