Fashion Your Life: Dress for the Career You Want, Not for the One You Have
Written by R. Kay Green PhD
If you want the career you don’t have, you must dress for that career. Dressing for the career you want (and not the one you have) isn’t a matter of just putting on new clothes. Rather, it’s a matter of internalizing your goals and dreams. When you internalize something, it means that you believe in it absolutely and pursue it relentlessly. Internalizing and making personal your goals, starts and ends with dressing for the career you want. That means dressing, talking, behaving, and crafting a résumé and brand image consistent with your ultimate aspirations. In essence, you have to be the whole package if you’re going to get where you want to go.
Living and dressing for the career you want is so important because success requires that everything about what you’re doing be consistent and reflective of your authentic-self and your aspirations. So much of the time, the way you’re presenting yourself is what matters most. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to align the way you look with that concept. If you want to be a doctor, the first step is to put your physical appearance and your mindset in line with that goal. When you dress for the career you want, you embody everything about that particular career. You internalize it. Instead of dreaming about maybe becoming something or someone one day, you literally becomewhat you are destined to become. When you truly aspire to do something, it’s not just a want; it’s a belief.
So now that we’ve established the power of truly internalizing, living, and dressing the part of what you hope to become, let’s consider a few strategies for how to make it happen.
- Repeat your dreams to yourself.
Remember those studying strategies? Whatever worked for you when you were studying for finals, that’s what will work for you when it comes time to internalize your dreams. Don’t just memorize the thought; absorb it and make it a part of you.
- Read, read, read.
Conduct as much research as possible about the career you want or the business you want to start. Read about your desired career as often as you can. Thanks to the internet, there is no shortage of information on any given career or business path.
- Go to seminars.
At a seminar, you learn new things, get new insights, develop new ideas, and more importantly, you meet new people. Many of these people are serving in the career or market of your dreams. Meeting them—actually looking them in the eye, shaking their hand, and making a personal connection—is one of the surest ways to determine how to get to your dream.
- Discuss your dreams.
Sometimes the one thing that separates the dreamers from the doers is accountability. And for many people, accountability only comes from sharing the dream with other people. Knowing that there are other people thinking about your goals and counting on you to succeed is often a tremendously motivating factor.
- Dress for your dreams.
Always use the industry as a gage. Remember, we want authenticity, not carbon copies. Use the people in your desired career field as a template, not as the final word. Your style and your preferences matter greatly. Be sure to incorporate them in your manner of dressing for the part. The ultimate goal is to be creative and be yourself while also maintaining a level of respect and believability.
- Take action.
Don’t just say that this is what you want to do. Put the wheels in motion. Too often, people share wonderful ideas about what they want to do, but fail to implement the necessary steps to do so.
- Find a mentor.
The best and most powerful way to internalize your dreams is to interact consistently with someone who lives them. Mentors are so critical in any industry. They are the people in the best position to tell you what actually works when it comes to planning your rise toward your goal. They can help you internalize what you need to internalize because they are literally living their dream.
- Volunteer wherever possible.
The thing that separates the doers from the dreamers is a matter of who is willing to work for free. Take internships. Volunteer for efforts related to the company or career you want to pursue. Do whatever it takes to experience what it is like to work in the career you want.
With competition for every industry as fierce as it has become, those who internalize will be the ones to succeed. The results will come to pass in your career, as well. You will get more callbacks from hiring companies, prospects, and customers. You will be recruited for the career of your dreams, rather than having to apply. You will begin to get feedback from everyone you work with. In the end, people will look at you differently. This won’t be simply because you have begun to dress for the role you want. It will be because you have become the person you want to be.
Dr. R. Kay Green is CEO/President of RKG Marketing Solutions, a professor of marketing and author of the new book, I’ve Been Called the B* Word… Now What Do I Do? 13 Rules for the New-Age Professional Woman; see www.ivebeencalledthebword.com, barnesandnoble.comand amazon.com.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”