Over the years, regardless of race, age or gender, I have found that the size and shape of our bodies and body parts are of great concern to many of us. Instead of accepting and understanding that we are divinely made and the size of our bodies and body parts serve a specific and meaningful purpose, it is obvious that the images we consume on a daily basis impact our self-perception. I believe that these images distort our understanding of our divinity and sometimes take us off course.
I do, however, understand why we obsess over ourselves and our outer appearance. Statistically speaking there is a direct correlation in our looks and how much money we make. According to Sociologists Drs. Samantha Kwan and Mary Nell Trautner, “physical attractiveness is associated with a number of positive outcomes, including employment benefits such as hiring, wages, and promotion, and is correlated with social and personal rewards such as work satisfaction, positive perceptions of others, and higher self-esteem.”
On January 17, 2008, Faking Good Breeding posted a blog entitled, Beauty and Success. The author shared the following: Science Daily published an article that included a recent study showing that attractive people often receive better job positions and pay than average looking applicants. The study found that women were more likely to give high status packages to attractive men than men gave to attractive women. Isn’t that a trip?
I, like many of you, seek to achieve and maintain my personal best. In doing so, I’ve hired a personal trainer, regulate what I eat–but, like President Obama with cigarette smoking, at times, I slip off the wagon–and before going out play I put on sunscreen. I have to confess that, from my days of modeling, I still secretly shadow my nose (There Is More Inside Page 32) . As I explain in There Is More Inside, one of my clients told me I had a “big” nose and I needed to make it appear thinner. Ten years later, I continue to shadow my nose so that it will appear slimmer. Some may categorize my behavior as ingrained self-hate. Adding that if I were in a different country the standard would be different and thereby my behaviors would be different. I wouldn’t argue that point. However, I’m not in a different country. I’m in America. I believe how I present myself builds on the image that I’ve created. That image substantiates my brand.
I can’t see myself having any creditability as an image consultant or motivational speaker if my body and appearance doesn’t reflect what I’m selling. Perhaps you’re thinking that my message is, There Is More Inside. That is true. I believe, however, that what’s inside is showcased through how I treat myself and my body.
I had a client who is a “motivational speaker.” When I saw him speak for the first time I was taken aback by his appearance. His pants were too long, his tie was too short, and he was approximately 100 pounds overweight. His image didn’t match his message and, therefore, directly impacted his brand. As a coach, I had to ask him some tough questions: Who is your targeted audience? Would the people in your audience look to you for answers? If so, why? What do you have that they want? Does your physical appearance match your message of hope, perseverance, and achievement? Is your message believable?
Branding doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t about being a particular size or shape. It does, however, require you to authentically show up. Does your body match your brand? If you are unsure, here are five questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to shape up.
- What is my brand?
- What problem do I solve?
- Do I look like the solution that I offer?
- Would I buy from me?
- What should I change to make my brand more believable?
I invite you to leave your comments or questions, and don’t forget to tell a friend.