Why Just Dressing for Success will Keep You Losing

Live by the NC motto!

As a person who was raised and lived in the Tar-Heel state from age 7 to 32 let me tell you one thing I appreciate other than UNC Basketball about the state, the motto. In my high-school alma mater song there’s a phrase that goes, “esse quam videri be our motto as we strive.” Well being a word nerd I had to find out when I first heard that phrase what it meant. And let me tell you, it’s great business advice. It means, “to be rather than to seem.”

Too many times in business and more specifically online businesses the old adage, “fake it till you make it” seems to be the standard mode of operandi. Even good advice such as “dress for success” has been perverted into advocating marketing puffery. I received a negative feedback from someone a few months back that was criticizing my casual attire and dress. The snarky comment read, “way to dress for success Terry, and this guy claims to be successful?”

Now I’m not advocating dereliction of business professionalism but I am not one that believes “it’s the suit that makes the man.” I’ve seen way too many faux “experts” that their bio reads like they’ve done everything short of ushering in the second coming of Jesus. Then you give them a blog, some marketing tools, and business assets to start building a business with and they turn into all thumbs. A walk that once had a swagger now has more of a limp.

This mindset is self defeating and really a huge impediment to growth. While it’s way easier and tempting to look a part it’s well worth the blood, sweat, and tears to becoming the part. One of the greatest personal and professional accomplishments a person could ever achieve is freedom. What is freedom?

To me freedom is simply these 3 things.

  1. Nothing to hide
  2. Nothing to fear
  3. No one to impress

When you have those 3 things fully operational in your life you will find the true joy that comes from a life well lived.

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2 thoughts on “Why Just Dressing for Success will Keep You Losing

  1. Christopher Miller

    I see your point here Terry, but disagree with the premise of the dress for success mentality. I use this principal myself and I am very successful personally. The concept however is not to impress others but to build your own self image to let yourself know you belong in that room, at that table, in your business. Dressing for success isn’t for others to see you Terry. It is for how you see yourself if you need to overcome your own insecurity my friend. Personally, I have my own fears that I battle. This is my armor for battle.

    1. terrywilson3 Post author

      Totally agree with you Chris. The difference is you are using your dress to focus inwardly and not using it to create a false image outwardly. Too many people in business, especially online use imagery (fancy cars, clothes, jewelry, and outward appearances) to validate their value rather than their character, competency, and commitment to a goal as the driving force behind their value. You probably like me have seen plenty of “empty suits” in your line of work. 😉

      Thanks for your feedback bro! And yes you are very successful but I would argue it comes from what’s in your heart and not on your wrist. 🙂 (even though I’m a fan of Rolexes personally myself) However the success is what brought the Rolex, the Rolex didn’t bring the success. IMO

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