Archive for September, 2009

The Uniform

September 12, 2009

How do you dress for work?

If you’re a college or pro football player, you wear protection from head to toe. For safety. To avoid injury to important parts. To cushion the falls.

As entrepreneurs, we don’t think much about that in our daily business lives but maybe we should. Let’s take a look at the various elements of a football players’ uniform to see if we can’t relate it to our own internal and external attire.

Helmet & Facemask

The helmet is obviously meant to protect the head against concussions. The facemask acts as a rolling bar for the player’s face to protect against pokes and hits and damage from falling on his face.

My guess is that you don’t wear a helmet during your workday. You’d look pretty ridiculous if you did and the nice people in the white coats would probably take you away.

But, what about starting your day with meditation, prayer, positive thoughts, a thankful spirit, and reading the Bible or other devotional book?

Doing those things on a daily basis protects your mind from potential injury from circumstances or various outside influences that come your way on a daily basis. It might even cushion you from mental and emotional falls.

Shoulder Pads, Hip Pads, Knee Pads, Flak Jackets

Again, all meant to protect different body parts. Football is a game about the power of muscle, not the ability of the body to absorb everything.

Do you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders? Is that what your shoulders were meant for?

Do the pressures of your business keep you up at night? What purpose does that serve?

Are you chained to your desk for long periods? Are your muscles so tight that you groan when you get up to take a break? Your body was not designed to be in a frozen position for long periods of time.

Do you take regular breaks during your work day to revive and restore your mind and body? Protect yourself from wear and tear…nobody else will do that for you.

Have you taken the time to strengthen the power of your own muscles with regular exercise, strength or weight training and cardio? If not, start today.

It’s all about the Shoes

Players wear different types of shoes for different playing surfaces. Depending on the playing surface and condition of the surface, longer or shorter cleats are worn. The bottom line is that cleats give players better traction in varying field conditions.

As an entrepreneur, have you adjusted your approach to clients, depending on the circumstance?

Some clients are firm; I call these ½” cleat clients – you need to be business-like, no-nonsense, and to the point.

Other clients are just average; 5/8” cleat clients – you can give a little leeway with your terms and be a wee more relaxed with communication.

Still others are mushy (touchy, feely, emotionally-charged); ¾” cleat clients – you’ll need to balance that out with some bottom-line statements, a firm stance, and maybe a little humor.

Then there are the 1” cleat clients – they are messy and muddy (temperamental and demanding) and cause miserable playing conditions. You’ll have to remain strong in your stance, not slip in their mud with any verbal giveaways, and not be afraid to take them out of your game.

Outer Wear – Jersey, Pants, and Socks

These are the outer clothes that players wear on the field. Many specific rules are linked to a players’ uniform but all for a reason. They don’t call it a uniform for nothin’. The uniform is governed closely by the NFL. If violations occur, the player is fined.

All those rules make me glad I can wear any old thing while I’m working at my desk at home. However, when I’m meeting with clients, some rules apply.

When you have a client meeting, do you show up, dressed for success, with a professional demeanor? Hair groomed? Nice aroma? Clean, pressed clothes? Minty breath? Notepad and pen ready to work?

All these seem like a no-brainer but I’ve heard horror stories about client meetings with vendors showing up, looking like they just rustled themselves out of bed. I’ve also heard about entrepreneurial folk answering their phones with the first phrase being, “Hey, I’m stepping out of the shower, can I call you back in a sec?” Oh my, these things ought not to be people.

If you’re meeting with a client in a casual setting…sure, ditch the suit and tie and go business casual. Depending on the client, dress the part…wear your “uniform” to the game. Don’t penalize your credibility for your appearance. Show your client you’re on his team all the way.

I’ll ask you again…How do you dress for work? Make sure your internal attire…your mental attitude, your emotional well-being…is in check. Also make sure your outer attire…your appearance for clients…is fit for the occasion.

Hurray! Football season is here! See ya’ll on the field.

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