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How To Own Your Professional Style with Mr. Ben Brooks

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Ben Brooks, an executive coach, and CEO of PILOT has helped countless executive and founders achieve their career goals. A key piece to their success, says Ben, is their intentionality with style.



What are the top three style mistakes guys make in the workplace?

First, it's simply lacking an intentional sense of style. You have a "look" regardless of whether you're trying or not, and it's up to you to shape it.

Second, guys often underdress early in their careers. I did this for awhile, but my career really started to progress when I took the advice to "dress for the job you want". You need to "look the part", which is far more than your technical skills, education or experience. Leaders at your company want to be able to envision you engaging with confidence when meeting with clients or partners.

Third, guys will half-ass their style. They'll shine the front of their shoes but not the heels. Their suit won't be tailored or their neck isn't trimmed. You don't have to be flawless, but paying attention to the little things says "I do the whole job and pay attention to detail."


How do you get started with being more intentional about your professional style?

Think about men you respect in your industry, the kind of reputation you want to have, and your future career goals.

Make your style personal. I'm obsessed with aviation and have airplane-shaped brushed silver cufflinks and I also wear ties that my Grandpa Mike wore 50 years ago.

More importantly, there isn't a "right" way to be stylish. Let that go and go get inspired!

I subscribed to GQ and followed various Instagram accounts just to get a better sense of what I liked. Build out the fundamentals like nice shoes and belts, and a few nicely fitting suits that you can wear often.

Avoid getting any sort of "it" piece that may quickly go out of style.

Also, use your travels as an opportunity to pick up unique things (and avoid looking like you bought everything at one store).


How can guys be more intentional about their careers?

"Stay woke" applies to careers, too!  Most people I meet, even if they are successful on paper, do a poor job of managing their larger career.

Because careers are far more than just performing in one's job. A successful career is the collection of experiences, relationships, capabilities and results one creates over time.

A few things guys should think about:

- Be more than your job: Think about how you can use and grow your professional skills, learn new things, and meet new people outside the walls of your office. Look to your industry, function, community, and enrichment activities as places to enhance and diversify your career.

- Invest in yourself: Be thoughtful in investing your own money, time and attention into yourself. Why? Because it means you take yourself and your future seriously. And, very few people invest in themselves so you're already ahead of the competition. With people switching jobs so often companies invest less than ever in their employees so you must supplement what your company does with your own investment. Plus, you get to choose what you invest in!

- Establish your brand: This is where style plays a part. Everything you do is an opportunity to shape and hone your professional reputation. In addition to dressing the part, make sure how you treat people, communicate, plan and deliver work, and engage with outsiders all supports the reputation you want in your career.

Bonus: Make sure your digital footprint (what a Google search says about you) supports and enhances your professional narrative (as opposed to being a hot mess).


What next step should guys take to explore Pilot?

PILOT provides weekly executive coaching to employees so they can powerfully command their careers. We partner with companies to help their top talent advance their careers and grow as professionals every single week.

As a fast-growing startup we're always looking for new companies to partner with, so if you would like your company to offer PILOT please reach out!

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In other news, learn career and style tips from celebrity hair stylist Cash Lawless.

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