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Want to Look Successful? Follow These 6 Tips

Define success on your own terms and drop subtle cues that can give you the advantage when want to look successful.

The appearance of success opens doors in business. It helps you exude competence, inspire confidence, and reinforce your personal brand. However, establishing an image as a thriving entrepreneur can be tricky given society’s ever-changing expectations of what it means to be at the top.

Photo: Jack Shaw, Freelance Writer | Courtesy
Photo: Jack Shaw, Freelance Writer | Courtesy

Learn how to look successful by today’s standards – on your own terms.


Dress with purpose

Conventional wisdom says, “dress to impress.” The adage implies you should take personal grooming seriously, wear a crisp sharp-shouldered power suit, strap on a timeless luxury watch, and drive a fast supercar. Looking like a million bucks has its merits, however, dressing for success is about sporting a look that echoes your values.

The most successful entrepreneurs refrain from spending considerable energy on fashion to appear high status. Jeff Bezos looked like an accountant in garden-variety office clothing in a famous photo of him building Amazon in his garage. Mark Zuckerberg is synonymous with plain shirts, as was the late Steve Jobs.

These three high-profile men appeared presentable in public without letting their attires distract from their purpose and personal brand. Tech icons dressed like regular people seems odd, but there’s method to their madness. Follow their lead to look successful without being flashy and dress in a way that defines what matters to you.


Earn respect

Successful entrepreneurs aren’t people pleasers — they do what’s best for business at the expense of some. Still, they command respect even from people who dislike them.

If you want to look successful, you must be professional and authentic. Develop a stellar work ethic by showing up on time consistently, working harder than everybody and abiding by company rules. Ask for help when you need it and treat your team well. Always act admirably so that when it’s time to break some eggs to make an omelet, your employees, clients and peers may still speak highly of you when they’re displeased.


Nurture and build a functional family

Loving relationships with your spouse, significant other, and/or children can carry more weight than any accomplishment you can achieve in business. Leading a profitable enterprise while dealing with divorce and not being on speaking terms with your kids can erode any aura of perceived success.

Your family is your true legacy. Seventy-three percent of American adults value family time the most, so balancing your professional and personal lives is a surefire way to show you have things figured out.


Build a solid support system

They say it’s lonely at the top, but you need a dependable support system to achieve your ambitious goals. Surround yourself with people who genuinely want to help you succeed. Your long-time friends may not fit the bill, so go beyond your circle to build a network of like-minded individuals.

Forging meaningful connections with them can help you keep it together when the going gets them. Having their positive qualities rub off on you can take you to the next level.


Value tradition

Entrepreneurs must innovate to stay ahead of the curve, but there’s a time and place to be old-fashioned. Some traditions communicate success almost instantly because of the deeply ingrained ideas they symbolize.

Take celebrations as an example. Lighting up a cigar has been a classic triumphant gesture of many legendary athletes, such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Popping a bottle of champagne feels more special and luxurious than drinking other beverages to memorialize an event.


Care about your community

Generosity creates an impression of success. It signals to the world that you’re doing well enough to give back to your community. Philanthropic initiatives often attract publicity, which reinforce this perception, but ensure your efforts are not disingenuous. There’s nothing wrong with seeking good press. People want to know what you did more than how much you spent. The more gratification you feel, the more motivated you will be to create a local impact.


Look successful on your own terms

The meaning of success is fluid. You can listen to society or make your own rules. Avoid stressing too much about looking successful. Instead, embody what success authentically means to you and rise to the top.


With a specialized focus on personal success and self-improvement, Jack Shaw’s articles provide actionable steps and valuable wisdom to ignite personal growth. Jack is the senior writer of the lifestyle publication Modded and has also been published in Hella Wealth, Skills You Need, Big Ideas for Small Business and more.


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