Image Is Powerful, Yet It Is Superficial

Let’s talk about image. I regularly share advice on how to build your personal brand and your personal style, but this time let’s talk about the ‘superficial’ stuff- image. Image is all about perception. How you are perceived by your peers, by your colleagues, or by a random person on the street. In the instant they see you, whether it’s for the first time or for the thousandth time, they form an opinion based on how you look. We all know that, that’s not new. What people don’t realize is the power of your image. Because image is superficial in nature, you can change it. Don’t be afraid to add more depth. You are not only what you are wearing or what you look like. Sometimes you don’t know where to start, how to change your image. That’s okay! Here’s the great thing- you aren’t alone in that feeling of insecurity. Watch this.  It’s a couple years old and certainly worth it (all 9 minutes).   … yeah, you heard it. Even this accomplished model is insecure. Pretty amazing that Cameron Russell stood up and shared this publicly. “I am insecure. I am insecure because I have to think about what I look like everyday.” Despite her insecurities, she’s completely right.  Image is NOT everything. (you’re furrowing your brows thinking “where is Lazina going with this?”) Well here’s why I say that… How you present yourself each day IS important- yes, but that’s not all. Your image and presentation needs to be grounded in a solid personal strategy.  Without this, image does seem superficial. Your personal strategy starts by taking some time for introspection. I often get clients to answer these types of questions: What do you value most in life? What motivates and inspires you? What do you want to be known for? What are you the absolute best at? What brings you joy and makes you smile? Take some time to answer these questions…. you won’t be sorry you did. Answering these questions bring clarity to who you are and want you’re about. Knowing what you want will help you embody the image of the person you want to be. Once you know YOU, you’ll be able to better understand and define how you want to share your greatness with those around you. You can walk tall and feel comfortable no matter how others see you.   “If there’s a takeaway from this talk, I hope it’s that we all feel more comfortable acknowledging the power of image in our perceived successes and our perceived failures.” – Cameron Russell

Introducing Style Ivy

This week we have some news – BIG news! L Squared Style had just launched the next phase of our business.  This new venture called Style Ivy.   Some of you may have seen previews on social media or maybe you’ve heard rumours through the grapevine. Well, rumour no more. It’s official. Come January 2016 Style Ivy will be available online! First, we want to make sure you know what it’s all about: Style Ivy has been something I’ve been working on for three years now.  It’s all about one thing- personal style. That’s it. We want to empower you to know that style is more than making fashion choices, it extends beyond your wardrobe. Style can make you not only look great, but feel great too! With Style Ivy, we put those tools in your hands. Each day, I work one-on-one with clients and well as train various size teams. Both groups hire me for this personalized service of better understanding their image and what they can do to improve what they share with the world each day.  It’s a premium service. It’s worth it. Ask those who work with me. On the Style Ivy platform, our first e-course is called Style Foundations.  This is an online course that will take you through a journey to discover your own style. In this course there are lessons, videos and, yes, homework. The homework at the end of each lesson is to help you further understand your style goals and personal goals. How does this differ from L Squared Style? Well Style Foundations allows you to go through this style overhaul at a slower pace of two lessons a week and gives you the time to reflect on what you want from your clothing choices. Also, Style Foundations is accessible to anyone, any where and at any time.  It democratizes the services I offer to anyone who is interested in personal/professional development . On that note – Christmas is coming up. If you have someone in your life who fits the description, think about getting Style Foundations for them. It could be just what they need to start the new year with a bang!     Style Ivy. Don’t just think about it. Do it. This is your time. Check us out on Facebook (Style Ivy) or on Twitter and Instagram – @yourstyleivy.

Arrive with five to spare

There are many in life who unfortunately seem to view meeting times and appointments as suggestions rather than commitments. That these set times are something they can breeze into a few minutes late with no harm done. In some cases, you’ll inevitably be able to get away with it. Just as you would get away with showing right in the nick of time for meetings continuously. But you won’t make that great first impression that you could otherwise, not even if you’re arriving right on time all the time. A month ago, I wrote about how much of a detriment being late is to your reputation, both professionally and personally, but there’s something to be said for going further than even just showing up on time. The other side to this issue is arriving five minutes early. Being five minutes early for business events, for meetings, for interviews, even for coffee chats with friends, can make or break you. Especially you, the young professional in the early years of building your career. Those five minutes can create an indelible impression that will impress who you’re speaking with. You already know that that being late is a huge no-no. You’ve often heard that, I’m sure, throughout your life. But don’t just aim to arrive on time, because five minutes early is a big huge “check” in your favour. Why’s that, you might ask? You’ll have time to settle in and catch your breath before a meeting begins. Showing up just in the nick of time could easily throw you off from showcasing your best self and making a good first impression. A benefit of giving yourself this time to settle in is it will also allow you to mentally go over the few – or many – items you want to talk about in your meeting. Aiming to arrive early will give you time to grab a coffee or tea before your meeting starts too. Showing up even a little bit late and with a coffee in hand is a bad sign to whoever you’ve kept waiting. It’s telling them that you valued getting that coffee over arriving on time. Arriving early could also give you a chance to talk and connect with other people attending the same meeting who also showed up early. In meetings of larger groups of people, there’s plenty of chances for networking and getting to know the other attendees, a chance you wouldn’t receive if you arrived only just in time for the meeting itself to begin. You’ll also likely make less mistakes in general the earlier you arrive. You’ve settled in, you have a mental checklist of what you want to say, and thus you’ve set yourself up as best as possible for the meeting you’re about to enter. Something the person you’re meeting with will now have noticed about you is your promptness. Make this arrival pattern a habit and you’re bound to impress. But show up even just one time, and you’ll show