Why good self image is important for women to succeed at work

Confident woman picture to accompany blog post on self image and why it's important for women to succeed at work

Good self image is important.  By self image I mean what you think about yourself and how you portray it to the world.  It’s more flexible than identity.  Identity is deep rooted.  Image you can change.

Read on for why your self image is important…

If you change your hairstyle, say going from long straight hair, to short pixie hair in one hair cut, you are going to look differently aren’t you?  You might look more chic, more modern.  If you change your clothes style to go with your new hair cut.  Say you start wearing closer fitting dresses, not tight, but skimming.  And say you start wearing more funky shoes or boots.  Well, now you are starting to look quite different aren’t you?  Your image is going to be different.

Good self image affects you and it affects those around you

And it’s easy to see from this descriptive example, that two things are happening here:

  1. The first thing is that you are going to have an effect on those around you.  They will respond and react to you based on how you look and portray yourself and
  2. Secondly, you are going to have an effect on yourself.  How you are portraying yourself is going to have an effect on you.  If you have a fantastic new hair cut and start to dress more stylishly, more intentionally you are going to feel different.  Most likely you will have much more self confidence and an attitude that you have a great ability to get work done and great potential to live a great life.  And this is all from what you wear.  Which shows, as I am always saying, how important what you wear is.  It really does go further than skin deep.

At Working Frocks we are all about healthy self esteem and self confidence.  Why not sign up to be on our list?  By signing up it just means you are interested in letting us help you.  It’s totally free to join.  You can sign up here:

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What is your self image at work?

So, my question to you today is, what is your self image at work?  Are you dressing intentionally each and every day?  Are you consistently wearing the same set of jewellery, the same system of clothes and wearing your hair in a similar way too?  I don’t believe you should stick rigidly to the same routine for the next 20 years.  But consistency is good.  Consistently looking amazing every day is particularly great and it is totally possible for you and for me aswell.

It might be harder for women than for men in the workplace as still have to make more of an effort, with hair, clothes, grooming.  But awe can use this extra effort we need to make as  a competitive advantage in the work place.

The benefits of a healthy self-image

A healthy self image is a great attribute to have in our world, in our lives.  to think about oneself positively, to neither think too much, nor too little of oneself, to be able to give an honest account of yourself, and to love and accept yourself, gives you a great framework upon which to build your life.

The competing forces of the office environment and a healthy self-image

When we find ourselves in the work place, other attributes start to come into play.  Factors such as:

your ability to do your job well;

your enjoyment of your role;

your relationship with your colleagues and your manager;

the presence, or lack of it, of office politics;

the health of corporate culture.

We want to do a good job.  That’s what we start to focus on.

Our focus rests on our work and our ability to navigate our day (juggle family life, negotiate the commute).

The numbing down of our self image

Slowly we stop paying attention to our level of self esteem.

We focus on the work, the commute, the juggling.

We forget about feeling positive, we don’t think about self love, or self acceptance.

Well, sometimes we do.  But we think we’ll address that another day.

Then we stop dressing well, we stop looking after ourselves.

We’re like little hamsters on the wheel.

Getting high on the running.

And instead of addressing that we are not in tune with ourselves, we have a cup of coffee, or a biscuit, or a glass of wine.

Because that takes the pain away.

How to tell if your self image is positive

So, if you want a quick way to tell how positive your self image is, look at what you’re wearing.

Are you wearing the same clothes?

Every day?

How do you feel in those clothes?

Do you want to wear something else?

Why does it matter?

Why does good self image matter?

You’re getting your work done.

You’re successfully managing your day.

You juggle competing demands of work and home life.

Should you expect more?  Is that reasonable or unreasonable?

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3 reasons why you should expect more and why a healthy, positive self image is an important part of your office life, as important as your ability to get the job done.

  1. Your self image is your silent publicist

    How we look, act and behave are part of our non-verbal communication.  Other people, “read” us and what they are reading is how we look, our attitude and our general demeanour.  Looking good and dressing well, and feeling great about yourself communicates to to others, it’s a conversation that is always going on.
    You want to make sure you’re getting the right message across.  It’s important to note there that you are totally in control of the message you are portraying.
    It may be that you don’t want to take responsibility for yourself in that way.
    You may be nervous or anxious at work and the thought of looking good and feeling good scares you.  You think you’re going to stand out.  That attention will be focussed on you (and that you’ll want to curl up and die).
    That’s not true though.  It’s just a thought you are telling yourself.

  2. Your self image is a visual CV – make sure it’s read right.

    If you want to be taken seriously then your look needs to match that.  If you want to be promoted you have to look intentional about being in the office.  You have to look like you want to be there.  If you work hard, that’s great.  But if you look like you’ve just got out of bed, your hard work may be in vain.  look like the person who works hard.  Do athletes turn up to the track, ready for the big race in jogging pants with holes in that are baggy round the knee?  No, they don’t!  Neither should you turn up for work looking like you can’t be bothered.
    There are some caveats with this idea:

    1. it’s not all about how you look.  You have to have integrity, humility, love and a sense of humour.  ie you have to be the human being you’re created to be.
    2. If you’re an entrepreneur in any way, you’re not necessarily going to want to look corporate. Develop your own style and live up to it.
    3. I don’t want to advocate that your self image should conform to a look that you don’t feel comfortable with.  In other words you shouldn’t take on the appearance of someone you aren’t or don’t want to become.
  3. Self image as barometer

    Using your self image can help you keep in contact with your inner you.  It’s a barometer if you like.  It gives you the weather report on your self esteem.
    It’s a great way to use it as a mirror back to yourself.  Especially if you are hiding your feelings from yourself (or trying to).
    If you purposefully avoid looking at yourself in the mirror, something is going on.
    If you wear the same thing every day, with no enjoyment, something is probably going on.
    When you realise what you are doing, you can change it.
    One week of choosing clothes purposefully and accepting what you see in the mirror, loving it even, will have a huge affect on your self esteem.
    And that will definitely transfer to your work situation.
    If you feel good about yourself and have self compassion, it will transfer to other people.
    Your family and work colleagues will thank you for taking care of yourself.

Key takeaway and what to do now

If there is one phrase from this post that I think you should take away and use, it is this,

“Develop your own style and live up to it.”

What is your style?  What style do you want to develop?  How can you make a start today?

You can sign up for my 3 day wardrobe detox.  It will get you quick results, sort your wardrobe out and get you focussed on what you really do want to wear.  Sign up here:

Sign up form for 3-day wardrobe detox

How can I help?

Aside from the 3-day detox, one way I can help is for you to sign up to the Working Frocks list.  It is a way of connecting and for me to help you better.  I love everything to do with clothes, styling, what you wear, the psychology of getting dressed.  You don’t have time.  you just want to get dressed and look great.  Let me do that work for you.  Outsource it to me!  You can sign up here:

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Have a great day.  See you on the detox, or on the inside!

Sarah

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