During this year’s Women in Technology event at the HR Technology Conference, one of the speakers made the statement, “I will not compromise my personal style.” I’ve been thinking about the comment for a while now. I get it, the spirit of the comment is that we should be our authentic selves. But, it also made me realize there are moments when we may need to compromise our style.
I have a tendency to think of style as part of our brand. It’s the impression that others have of us. Our personal brand needs to be consistent and align with our goals. It also must be able to evolve over time. The world is changing all around us; our personal brands must keep current with the times. Otherwise we could be sending the message that we’re inflexible and uncooperative.
It’s about understanding when to compromise. We might be asked, or simply want, to compromise in situations when we don’t have a strong opinion or stake in the outcome. Then again, there are moments when we must absolutely be firm about our position. They key is, when we’re asked to compromise, we should explain our point of view. For example, “I cannot compromise on this matter and here’s why…” or “I don’t have a preference in the decision, so I’m willing to flex with the group.”
It’s about knowing what to compromise. Let’s be clear. You shouldn’t compromise your ethics. But there might be other matters that aren’t ethical in nature that you can compromise. It’s possible that compromising our personal style can be a growth and learning opportunity for us. It allows us to expand our thoughts and consider different views.
Each of us must define our personal style. And being true to our style is important. It’s how we measure its effectiveness. But we must be open to change as well. It’s deciding when and what to compromise on that will ultimately strengthen our style.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Miami’s Wynwood District