24. The Effect of Clothes

Clothes have a very peculiar effect of speaking for you. Depending on what you wear, and where you are wearing it, clothes themselves have the ability to influence.

Have you ever been around a person who is wearing a nice suit but you aren’t wearing nice clothes? Have you noticed how you feel just a little uncomfortable like “something is going on?” Maybe you even feel “under-dressed.”

This is one example that happens from nice clothes, but this effect isn’t just for suits. This effect occurs with “spiritual robes”, medals and awards, police uniforms, and more.

Consider intentionally dressing to influence

If you are not already conscious in your clothes choices, consider being more intentional. People respond to what you wear, even if they don’t tell you. When you are in public, consider wearing clothes that if a person met you for the first time, they leave with the impression that you want.

First impressions matter, because that is the stepping off place that people begin their relationship with you. If that relationship is “we’re just casual buddies” then don’t be surprised if you are building influence from square one, instead of ahead.

In some cases, the “uniform” of the day is most important.

When people are wearing uniforms, and you are not wearing the same uniform, the reverse is affect is true. Those wearing the uniform can often feel a bit uncomfortable being around a person who isn’t wearing a uniform. It is almost as though they naturally cannot place you in “their tribe”, the one that has the uniforms.

Sometimes it is necessary to put on the same clothes as other people, especially when you want to work “at their level” to drive forward. People who work together as a team, feel comfortable when they “dress together.”

Probably the best example is outdoor work clothes for working on around the farm. If you are helping lead outdoor projects, wear similar outdoor clothes as the people doing the work. This is the time to fit in.

Never underestimate the power of clothes for setting the tone of a relationship.


3. Knowing Your Place

People can lead and influence others without knowing that is what they’re doing. I’ve nicknamed this “the unconscious leader.” The unconscious leader, generally is a person who has drive in a particular direction that has caught the attention of others. Through the natural processes of making friends this leader opens up space for others to interact with the drive that they have.

Because the unconscious leader, does not know that they are “leading” their abilities to maximize those around them is limited. Others can even come into conflict with their in-the-moment personal desires.

A Critical Situation Was Born

In 2002, I started a band named “A Critical Situation” with friends in high school. Because I had a drive to create music, friends around me, who had no desire to play, began picking up instruments. Kyle picked up the bass, Jon picked up guitar, and Chris played the drums. Magically, one day, a band was formed.

Little did I know how much frustration was going to follow by not intentionally leading this band.

Kyle didn’t want to play an instrument, he just wanted to hang out with us so his playing never improved.

Jon really was a better frontman and singer than guitarist.

And Chris had the worst rhythm and stamina. He needed intentional practice.

Worst of all, I really wanted to create music not necessarily perfect the craft of playing music.

Ignoring our inability to play musical instruments, it took two years to get “A Critical Situation” into a well ordered machine.

What the band needed was stepping back, getting intentional, and reordering everyone.

Instead of unconsciously bringing my friends into this music, fixing the band required getting rid of those not committed to improvement. Our friend Mark, who was already practicing and playing bass, became our bass player.

James another friend of ours, who was already a guitarist stepped in to replace Jon allowing him to become the frontman.

An Chris got the practice that he needed.

A Critical Situation became the punk rock master piece that I had envisioned two years before. What made the band possible was becoming conscious about decisions and choices.

Leaders don’t have to know they are leading.

At the time, I never considered why any of my friends wanted to play music. I assumed they were like me, but if they were they would have started a band before I did. I know now, they wanted to play music because I created a vision for our punk band and put everything I had into making that vision a reality.

Every time there was a new problem, we needed new gear, something would break, music didn’t work out, I’d step in to fix it. The band, and making good music, became a mild obsession of mine.

Even in this moment now, it is difficult to see the band outside of what were my own desires.

However, it was the vision of what could be and my determination to make it so, that drove my friends to help me create the band.

I began my life as an unconscious leader.

In the end, it took another 12 years before I finally understood why I have attracted people. That is when I became conscious.