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"Have an ordinary day!" Did anyone ever say that to you? Probably not. No one wants to be thought of as ordinary, and most of us do not purposely pursue an ordinary life. We hope to change the world or achieve something special in life.  

If you were interviewing candidates for a job, would your goal be to hire an ordinary person? Or would you be searching for a candidate that was extraordinary? The answer is obvious. But just what makes a person extraordinary? Credentials matter, of course. But when two people have identical credentials, experts say that the choice boils down to who looks the part. In other words, the one who looks the most polished and professional. After all, if looks didn't matter, we would hire exclusively over the internet.  

Psychologists tell us that we pick cars that tell the world who we are. Of course, most of us shop around to get a good deal with car, but when push comes to shove, we are likely to pay a little more to get a car that is a little special. And we certainly don't go about searching for an ordinary car. Interestingly, some people spend more time and money on their automobile than on themselves. It is normal for an auto to express who you are, but it is not wise to give it more importance than you give yourself.  

My awareness of extraordinary people came about when I was thirteen years old and our family went to Miami Beach for the first time during summer vacation. I can still see the boardwalk now and all the beautiful, elegantly-dressed, suntanned people on parade there. It was my first encounter with so many extraordinary-looking people in one place. To me, they all looked like the movie stars I had seen in magazines, and I must have stood there wide-eyed and enchanted.  

As I look back now, I'm sure all those beautiful people on the boardwalk in Miami Beach worked hard to look good. As Cindy Crawford said, "Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford." In other words, when you see Cindy on the pages of a fashion magazine, she has taken the time to make herself look extraordinary. It's what we expect, and to do anything less would be unprofessional.  

Cindy has been photographed on the streets of Beverly Hills in jeans and T-shirt, but she was still looking extraordinary, because her hair, makeup, shoes and other accessories were immaculate. There was no disguising her polished, classy look – with or without runway and photo makeup. It's all about attitude. A true professional in any field knows that he or she must meet the demands of others in order to be successful.  

You may be surprised to know that quite often fashion models do not like the clothes they are given to wear on the runway. As a true professional, a model would never let you know it, because she's learned that we all choose clothing from out hearts and souls, and not from the results in the mirror. What appeals to your best friend may be totally unappealing to you. So, she walks out there with the attitude that this is her most favorite garment in the world, and you can just eat your heart out and run right out and buy it so you can have that same feeling. Ultimately, it's about choosing to look extraordinary, and it is a good goal to have. It only takes a little awareness and a little time.  

During the holidays I attended a fundraising event at which there were local celebrities representing their cause. Some chose to look like celebrities and some did not. It was disappointing to see people representing themselves in such an ordinary manner, when all of the guests were dressed in holiday finery.  I assume many of the guests were also disappointed, because it was the "glamorous" celebrities who got all the attention.    

It's the beginning of a new year. Why not choose to look special instead of ordinary for the rest of this year?  Get an updated hairstyle, wear dynamic colors, and give yourself a few minutes extra each morning to put your best face forward.  It's worth it. Just ask Cindy Crawford!

Sandy Dumont is Executive Director of the Impression Strategies Institute and is a pioneer in the field of image psychology and impression management. She has been an image consultant for 30 years and has consulted for individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies. Visit her website to receive a free e-book and five-part Image Course:


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jane Woods wrote Apr 29, 2008
    • Hi Sandy,
      This is a really good article, thanks. I enjoyed reading it.
      I have also written on a similar topic and the importance of [Link Removed]
      People make so many judgements based on how we look so why not use it to our advantage, however much we might bemoan it! 55% of the information people take in about us is based on our appearance, and how we dress is a relatively easy way of changing that image.
      Kindest regards,

      Changingpeople, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tanyakogan wrote Mar 3, 2010
    • I believe that as woman we are blessed to wake each day and find a blank canvas to dress, accessorize and design!  Everyday is an opportunity to create a new and exciting is the one thing we have total control over in our very demanding lives.  My favorite is accessories...I love to mix new bangles with oversized rings and great crystal designer look earrings.  I feel that I get the most stylish impact from fashion jewelry, and lots of bang for the buck!!! I find great designer looks at, and the prices are amazing.  Please share your great finds and post them...thanks!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sandy Dumont wrote Mar 3, 2010
    • Tanya,
      You’ve got the right idea. The way you make a statement is with accessories - and also with a shock of color with some accessories. I, too, love fashion jewelry. Kenneth Lane is one of my long-time favorites, and you can find his things at department stores, but be cautioned, they sell out as soon as they arrive.  

      For earrings I prefer silver, because it’s so lightweight you don’t feel them. I have a few styles on my website that I ordered for clients, because it’s so hard to find fabulous styles.

      Steinmart also has a sprinkling of good earrings. My favorites are doorknockers and chunky hoops.

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