Trust Your Creativity

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TOO MUCH – YOU MUST CONFORM

I have been told more than once to tone it down. To be myself but not too much. To be calm. That I am too loud. To limit myself. To fit into some sort of societal mold. I am sure I am not the only one who has been told to conform. “Be creative but do it this way.” Hmmm. That’s stifling. Where does one draw the line? And who gets to decide what you do and do not get to expose? Ultimately you are the one who gets to make that decision, however it can come at a cost.

AT WORK

As a quick side note, there are situations that require you to be methodical and these are usually in the workplace. There is a fine line between creative and improper. I have found that if I wonder “is this appropriate?” I might want to rethink a couple of things. In a work environment use your creativity professionally. Find your method but remember your position and audience.

CREATIVITY

Art can take on many forms and creativity can be seen everywhere. Have you ever made something uninhibited that you wanted to show to the world not for attention but merely to stimulate – and the reaction was well received? Didn’t that feel great? You weren’t seeking glory, you were merely wanting to inspire. No limits were set. You were free to be creative. I believe that is where you need to tap in.

I saw a post the other day on Instagram. It read “trust your creativity.” That struck a chord. Hard core. I felt like I needed to high-five someone. Those three words hit hard and deep and I felt as if a weight had been lifted. That is exactly what I have felt for so long. That was it!

Do not limit your creativity. Find your method. Develop it. Edit. You are not stuck. You can continually evolve. Trust your creativity.


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3 Basics of Personal Image

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Personal image is a wide topic but can be narrowed down to key areas. I am going to touch on 3 key areas that cover the basics of personal image: appearance, voice, behavior.

Physical Appearance

Your physical appearance matters. This is where people form their first impressions of you and first impressions are hard to change. You are presenting yourself to your audience. You should be clean, your hair combed, teeth brushed, nails trimmed, clothes stain free, and shoes in good condition. You will be judged head to toe. Believe me, I have been in this industry long enough. When I say the scuffs on your shoes will be seen, trust me.

Now, let’s talk about that posture because this is part of your physical appearance. Your posture contributes to your image. And did you know that good posture can improve your confidence? In an article by Sharon Naylor on posture, it states that “researchers have found when you sit up taller and pull your shoulders back and outward, your brain gets a signal it’s time to be confident.” Feeling confident positively affects your image because you project self-assurance and self-assurance can go a long way. Stand tall, don’t slouch, head up, believe in yourself.

Body movement is not often discussed as part of personal image but it is an important topic and part of your appearance. Take a moment and think of individuals you respect and admire. How are their movements? I am willing to bet they are a frantic ball of chaos. They are composed. Your body movements should be smooth, controlled and with purpose.

Voice

As with body movement, your tone and speech should reflect that of someone who is unflappable. Even if you are late for your next meeting because you got a flat tire on your way into work and spilled your coffee on your suit, you and your tone should remain steady. You set the tone.

Behavior

Attitude check time. How is your behavior these days? Your actions aren’t a reflection of you, they are you. People will not want to be around someone is poor in character. It’s that simple. Your behavior is a large part of your image.

Takeaway

So what is the take away from all of this? Know that if you really want to have a positive personal image, it is deeper than the latest clothes to hit stores. Recognize areas that you want to improve upon and make your image radiate.


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Feeling Flat? How to Wear Flats and Still Rock the Look!

Nude and black flats and high heels

Have you Googled “executive women” lately?

There are a lot of high heels out there. Plenty of options. Now, Google “women’s shoes”. Your options are high heels or slippers. Thanks.

Flats are flat out more comfortable.

If that statement above weren’t true, everyone would be in heels. Sport players would be donning stilettos. Jeff Bezos would be strutting around in sky-high Louboutins.

But do flats look better than high heels in the C-suite? Want to be real for a moment? Yes, high heels do look better. There, we said it.

Now that the obvious is out-of-the-way, let’s get on with it.

Women often ask, “can I wear flats and still be seen as professional?”

Yes, you can. You just need to know how to pick the right kind. You also need to be aware of your image. We are referring to your posture, your confidence, your professional presence. All of this is part of your personal and professional image.

That is why we are here. We want to help you feel and act continually at your best. When you feel confident, you act confident.

So, let’s get to it then shall we?

Here is how to add a bit of flair to your flats and a few to stay away from.

Black patent leather loafer with tassels

Loafers

Loafers can be a hit or miss. Select carefully. We highly suggest one with a bit of a heel. Extra details such as a tassel or buckle over the tip adds more design to a somewhat slipper looking shoe.

But loafers are great for a few reasons. One, they are very much in style right now, so they are available pretty much anywhere you go. Two, since they are so in style at the moment, they are more accepted at work, which is great, because they are so comfortable! Make sure when selecting the right loafer, you do not compromise comfort for professionalism.

Black brogue

Brogues

The brogue is a nice, clean look. It is a step above the loafer. You cannot go wrong with a brogue. The details are what makes this shoe even more put together than the loafer or mules.

Cut out black brogues

Cut Outs

We love the cut out. It takes an everyday shoe and adds a bit of edge. One thing to keep in mind with cut out shoes, they can be borderline unprofessional if there is too much left out. Keep it sharp.

Hit or Miss

Peach mule with studs

Mules

We do not suggest flat mules for work. No matter how fancy the front, no matter how much they cost, flat mules are slide on shoes and slide on shoes have no place in the boardroom.

3 shoes with bows

Bows

We also suggest staying away from bows. There are a few that look decent but bows give off a oh so cutesy look. Do you want to be seen as cute or do you want to be seen as a woman who knows her business and is capable of crushing it when necessary?

Snake skin ballet flats with black toe

Ballet flats

Ballet flats have a similar effect as bows. They are dainty. Do not wear them in your next business proposal presentation. They are a good backup for driving in though.

And a few side notes:

  • Choose the material wisely as well. Certain materials on shoes can look too casual.
  • Embellishments, when done right add to the shoe. When done wrong, are an eyesore.
  • A pop of color is great. Obnoxious is not. Know the difference.
  • Just because they are expensive doesn’t make them appropriate.
  • Just because they are popular doesn’t make them appropriate.

To see more ideas, over to our Tip Sheets or click here and let us know how we can help!


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The Dos and Don’ts of Making Mistakes

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Another mistake…Whoops.

A mistake has been made. What’s your immediate reaction because there are plenty to choose from.

Common reactions:

  1. Don’ts (negative): make excuses, blame someone else, become defensive
  2. Dos (positive): accept responsibility, change your behavior, keep going

Everyone makes mistakes, what sets the skillful apart is how they choose to respond.

Don’ts: Excuses. Blame. Defense.

Someone who is constantly making excuses and blaming others creates an atmosphere of negativity. People cannot trust someone who is not reliable.

If you are constantly defensive, others will not want to confront you for fear of conflict. You make yourself unapproachable if you are unable to take responsibility for mistakes made.

Those who seek professional and personal growth must learn how to handle mistakes because no matter who you are, you are going to make them.

We are not going to spend too much time on the don’ts of making excuses, so for further insight on that topic, here is a great article by S.J. Scott titled 13 Steps to Stop Making Excuses and Get Results in Your Life.

Dos: Accept. Change. Keep Going.

What we are going to spend time on is the positive way to respond to mistakes. Learning effective responses to mistakes will help you be proactive in future decisions.

Accept responsibility.

Own up to your mistake. Why? First, others expect it, and need it. Taking responsibility acts like a reset button. You are acknowledging an error and once that is out in the open, everyone can begin to move on.

Note I did not say full responsibility. We will discuss that next.

If an error needs explanation, there is a time and a place for that, but in the midst of addressing your mistake, the reasoning (if any) should not be in the same sentence. Do not try to explain “your side of the story”.

Also, do not take full responsibility if you do not need to. It is wise to take responsibility, but being the person who always takes blame, that is not good either. Clarify.

Should you need to make any sort of clarification, stick to the actual events that happened and leave all feelings out of it. Discuss what happened, be open to feedback and work out the kinks so you can handle yourself better next time.

Change.

What will you do differently going forward? What did you learn so you do not repeat the same mistakes?

Mistakes are great lessons, as long as you learn from them.

Keep Going.

Mistakes are going to happen.

Don’t spend too much time focusing on the error. When you stay stuck in a negative mindset, there is little room for transformation. Reflect on it long enough to learn and mature.

It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us. -Rachel Wolchin


Contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com for more tips and suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Destructive Behavior is Destructive – It’s Time for a Change

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Image consulting is a professional field that aims to improve the image of the client personally or professionally through appearance, behavior, and communication. It is the process of evaluating the effect of a person’s appearance on their professional image.

Let’s talk about behavior.

Part of image consulting deals with behavior and how that can affect a person’s image, both personally and professionally.

Behavior is so important, there are studies on it, training on it, institutes, books, lectures, seminars, you name it.

Now, let’s talk about behavior in the workplace.

Behavior in the workplace is especially important for your image. This is not to say that outside of the workplace you have a free reign to act inappropriately, but for this article, we are going to focus on workplace behavior and how it relates to your image.

Your behavior affects your image. Your behavior affects your personal brand. Your behavior affects others, and in turn, your behavior will affect you. 

Being someone who others can approach is a desirable quality. It is a skill. It makes the environment in which you work more effective. Opposite of effective behavior is destructive behavior.

You might not be aware of destructive behavior patterns in your day-to-day life. Recognizing them is a step in the right direction.

Common destructive behaviors:

  1. Negative mindset
  2. Defensive
  3. Argumentative
  4. Drama

When someone is curt with you, how does that influence your reaction? How does that affect the way you think about that individual? What is your perception of their image?

We all have some form of one or more than one of these behaviors. And keep in mind, in moderation, it is good to be a little defensive right? In moderation.

People see how you behave and relate that to who you are. 

Making proper changes.

How can you correct these behaviors? Start making changes now.

  • Identify what you need to change
  • Commit to improve
  • Be consistent
  • Seek advice, a mentor, or a career coach
  • Speak with a supervisor or someone who can give you constructive criticism

Break your plan into small, achievable, manageable steps. Set goals and timelines and don’t forget to look back on your progress.

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does. -Sukhraj S. Dhillon


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Hiring an Image Consultant and Why You Should

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What is an image consultant?

Image consulting is a professional field which aims to improve the image of the client personally or professionally through appearance, behavior and communication.

Why Hire an Image Consultant?

Image consultants help individuals with more than just personal appearance. As stated in the definition, an image consultant helps in the areas such as appearance, body language, behavior, and communication. They are there to help evaluate, improve, and/or enhance.

Clarks Consulting elevates our clients to the next level. We provide the tools needed to make effective improvements often overlooked or missed.

Common areas that are often overlooked:

  • Professional appearance
  • Body language
  • Inconsistent behavior
  • Effective communication
  • Online presence

Most people are unaware of these how these areas can affect their image, but the good news is they are all coachable. Recognizing one or more than one of these areas needing improvement is a great step in the right direction, but what next?

What are the Next Steps?

First you must find the right consultant.

You want to select a consultant that understands your goals but also one that you enjoy working with.

Most consultants offer a complimentary meeting which usually is 30 minutes and consists of the basic questions that help them get to know you better.

  1. Concerns you have and what you would like to accomplish
  2. Answer any questions you might have
  3. Review of services and fees
  4. What you can expect and next steps

Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Make sure you ask the right questions – for you and your business.

Next is the contract agreement.

Once you have found the right consultant, you will need to discuss the contract agreement.

Thoroughly read through the entire contract agreement and ask any questions you have.  Make sure you understand all verbiage and expectations.

Consulting timeline.

The timeline goes together with the agreement.

A skilled consultant knows how to map out a reasonable timeline. Do not be fooled by unrealistic promises or quick fixes.

Based on the timeline presented, this should give you a good understanding of what to expect and the process.

There is no one size fits all, so making sure you are both in agreement of what the expectations are and a time frame in which to achieve those is important.

What to Expect from Your Image Consultant?

What you can expect from your consultant is a thorough gathering of information based on your needs and wants. This is usually in the form of a questionnaire or profile evaluation so the consultant can get a better idea of who you are.

Next is a list of recommendations that will fit your lifestyle. Your consultant will go through what is working and what needs to be altered.

Based on the area you hired a consultant for, they should develop a plan that you can easily follow and the tools to continue with confidence.


We would love to work with you. You can contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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Personal Branding Matters

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Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.

What does that mean?

So, we gave you the definition from Wikipedia, but what does that really mean?

Note the word “practice.” This means that personal branding is ongoing, continually evolving. You do not need to change who you are, but you do need to evolve. The difference – change suggests becoming something entirely different whereas evolve means to develop.

You should always be wanting to improve – to always be evolving.

And how does personal branding fit into all of this?

As you progress through life and your career, you will always have with you your core values, but, through the process of evolving, you will enhance those values and become a brand.

What is your brand?

Do you wonder what your personal brand is?

Ask yourself a few of these questions:

  • What makes you stand out from the rest?
  • Can people trust you?
  • What do you think people say about you when you are not in the room?
  • What you stand for? What are your values?
  • What your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your goals?
  • What’s your story?

These are questions you can ask yourself and come up with answers on your own. A more complex experiment of discovering your personal brand is to seek feedback from those around you.

Alex Freund, author at Personal Branding Blog, sent a request to some of his friends asking them to send him three words that came to mind when they thought of him. This a good idea, but make sure you allow others to feel comfortable giving you candid feedback AND you are open to listening to it all.

Building your personal brand.

You are a brand. A walking advertisement.

You know that saying, “fake it till you make it”? Be very careful here. Do not replace fake with authentic. There is some truth to “faking” confidence or optimism. Some people can create a turnaround in their lives and truly become confident and optimistic. But faking for the sake of being an imposter is not suggested. Eventually the truth comes out.

If you want to be perceived in a certain way, discover ways to make that happen.

  1. Be intentional.
  2. Educate yourself, constantly.
  3. Find your niche.
  4. Become the expert in your field so that when others think of whom to call, you are top of that list.
  5. Build credibility.
  6. Be authentic.
  7. Consistency!

Was this helpful for you? How can we help? Contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com or connect with us on social media! We look forward to hearing from you.

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