Following on the heels of my appearance article, and in a number of my talks, I’m confronted by people who seem to think that, because I’m suggesting that you care about your appearance, I’m also suggesting that you need to be someone you are not. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Before anything else, you must always remember to Be Yourself.

In my programs, I’ve developed a 7-step approach to leveling up, called In the Key of C – 7 Steps to the C-Suite (Or Anywhere Else You Want to Go). For those of you not in the corporate world, the C-Suite is the place where decisions get made by the CEO (Chief Executive Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and other Cs such as the COO (Chief Operating Officer) and other designations as needed by the company in question. The buck stops there, so the people in charge necessarily need to be good leaders and leaders cannot be good if they aren’t playing to their strengths.

The first of the Cs is Core, which is all about uncovering your key attributes and understanding how they’re serving you or being overused. Who are you at your core? What this means is that you need to have enough self-awareness, seek enough feedback and be courageous enough to look for all the ways you’re unique and all the ways you can uncover and leverage those strengths.

What do people always say about you? Is there a common thread running through their feedback?

You might be called bossy, then be called direct, then be called challenging and then be called headstrong or determined as you grew older. All those words speak to having a gift for direction, which is a good trait to build on if you want to lead. Conversely, if you’re called shy or retiring, your strength might be your introversion, your ability to think quietly and thoroughly about something, which is a great trait for researchers or analysts. Building on your strengths not only builds your confidence but also acts as a great method for getting into work that inspires you.

What do you find inspirational or appealing? Is there a common thread?

Let’s say you love all kinds of sports and what you love is the pursuit of excellence. You are inspired by the amazing feats of athletic prowess and the pulling together of the team. The things you are can often be found in the things you enjoy and can be examined to find out what it is you value. Once you understand your values, you can make your decisions based on them. Value teamwork? What kind of leader might you be, based on that?

Once you know who you are and what you value, you can work on making sure your appearance reflects it. Always BE YOURSELF.

Katherine Lazaruk

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