Call me shallow, but one of the best ways I’ve learned to help people figure out their desired future is to have them think what they are going to be wearing once they’ve achieved it. Now, as it happens, I had a great coaching call first thing this morning while wearing a pair of elderly Princess Tam Tam PJs, still sexy, in my view, if a bit bobbled; flip flops and the indigo blue Three Dog Bakery t-shirt I bought in Santa Barbara in 2002. We did good work; I logged the time, hung up. All good. If I’d been working with my coach on this 10 years ago and said my Future Self would be working in elderly PJs, and aThree Dog Bakery etc. I would not have felt inspired. I’d have been seeing myself more in terms of the Diana von Furstenberg wrap dress, kitten heels and Lancôme Teint Idole which I had carefully applied after my blow dry at 06.30.
So when we play with how we can realise our best selves at work – which is what we are talking about – personal style is a great way to access what matters to us as individuals. At one level it’s superficial, but at another, it’s a doorway into our identity. There are loads of good ways both to find and to live your personal style. One of the best is to find your own personal stylist, be that online (I’m a huge fan of Alyson Walsh’s www.thatsnotmyage.com) or in person (pick your fave store and book a personal shopper just to get started, usually at no cost). Find a magazine cover that speaks to you, or log onto labels you love (www.winserlondon.com is currently making me feel I have come to safe harbour, clothes wise). Another tip is to pick three words that describe your personal style. The first two tend to come easily (classic, comfortable). It’s usually the third that skewers it; witty, dark, chrysanthemum. As Orson Wells – not your obvious style icon – said: style is knowing who you are and what you want to say. And that’s the starting point for great communication.