It happens so often to so many women and so I started to put the pieces together and then I was kind of accidentally invited to go to this image and style weekend. It was like a Tupperware party for image. It was like this lightbulb went off inside of me that with everything I know I can do this. All my branding and sales and marketing experience it’s an easy jump into well everybody should have a personal brand, not just products and companies and if you study art you know that there are seven elements in art that we use in making a beautiful portrait, painting, a piece of jewelry or whatever and we could apply all of those to us personally. That’s where I said this is what I’m doing, and I found an amazing mentor out in California who I studied under and got certified as a dementia consultant and I created my own system of first personal branding and then also how to use art principles to look at ourselves and see ourselves as art so that we look our aesthetic best.
PHYLLIS SMITH: What I ask you is to become an image consultant and stylist you talk about important – the thing you seem to love the most is helping women feel beautiful. How do you get them to feel that way but also on the inside?
CYNDY PORTER: That’s a good question and that’s hard right? If you’re used to telling yourself negative messages the approach that I take is, there are many, many people that work on the inside out. There’s therapist, coaches and all kinds of things. I basically take the approach of the outside in.
When we first start to talk about a personal brand the idea is it’s not about how you can look like the classic beautiful girl or woman that would be on a magazine cover. I don’t talk about that ever at all. I talk about how the ancient Greeks defined beauty, I talk about things that are math, art, and science related as it refers to beauty and then I teach them how to focus on what they love about themselves, what are their best features, how do we emphasize their best features, and if you happen to have sensitivities how do we learn to de-emphasize or conceal those a little bit, right?
What I found is that what happens is as you start to focus on what you love about yourself . You start to know what colors and what textures and what shapes make you look your best in and you look in the mirror and you see reflecting back at you somebody that you’re proud of, somebody that you admire, you know that you feel good about. Then you go into the world and whether it’s in an elevator, a classroom or an office and you hear people say, “Oh my gosh, I love that color on you.” or “You look so great today.” or “I love that color on you.” or “You’re glasses look awesome.” Doesn’t that boost you every time and gives you some self-confidence and it’s to bad that we rely upon the external world to make us feel better about ourselves, but it really does work and so I really focus on that. Like taking baby steps to who you are as a person, what does that look like, do you know that your most powerful communication tool is how you look. It happens in nano seconds. People judge us, and we judge ourselves. If we can start to put ourselves together in a way that we take baby steps toward looking in the mirror and learn what we love about ourselves then we carry that with us.
...you look in the mirror and you see reflecting back at you somebody that you’re proud of, somebody that you admire, you know that you feel good about.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Describe it, what is a personal brand because you’re talking about looking at things you know, what do you love about yourself and then kind of work with that and accentuate that. Is that a personal brand or do you also help people sort of decide what that is.
CYNDY PORTER: Yeah, so when I work with my clients. We always start with personal brand because that’s the most important. I think if things aren’t like your best colors, shapes, patterns, or proportions but you are showing up being true to who you are authentically then that’s the first battle. Are you showing up in a way that you communicate who you are, right? In order to do that you have to know who you are. I take them through a series of questions, thought processes, exercises and I also do, you mentioned the exercise you did in your program, I do exercises so that they get feedback from each other and so it could be as simple as sometimes when I’m speaking in a group we have a stick it or a post it to put on their back and everybody will be given a pen and you walk up to them and say what is your first impression. There are always positive you know, pretty, gorgeous, creative, interesting, professional, lively, or whatever and then they get to pull that thing off their back and I usually have them think about number one how they see themselves and number two what they want to be written on their back.
So, I’ll often say if you were to get up and leave the room and we were all to say, Isn’t she blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” What would you want that to be and it must be five or fewer adjectives, right? You can’t have twenty. Is it that you want to be edgy or is it that you want to be smart or is it that you want to be interesting or creative? What is it really that makes you, you? Then once we get to that core then how does that look? How does look in an outfit? How does that look in an earring? How does that look in hair cut? What make up is that? What eyewear is that? That’s the first step and then this other thing I was talking about with the aesthetics I all that owning your style and that’s more of using art elements to make you look your personal best on top of communicating your personal brand.