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 become what 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.