Hi I’m Michelle Sterling, the founder of the Sterling Style Academy. I’ve been an image consultant for over 15 years now. I started in my 20s and since then I’ve seen an evolution in my own image and my own style.
Why did I become an image consultant? Because when I was young I used to be teased and made fun of and always had a hard time fitting in. My family moved around a lot within the U.S. because I had young parents with evolving careers. And so when I graduated college, I became what my parents wanted me to become a corporate professional. They wanted me to have a stable career and a stable life but somehow working 9-to-5 or rather 9am to 3am as an investment banker was just not living life in my eyes. But what investment banking did do for me was give me the foundation and the discipline I needed to start my own business.
You see I know how scary it is to start your own business because I started in my 20s when I was still young and insecure and I didn’t have any idea where I was going or what I wanted to do in life. I thought by 25 I would be married and when I wasn’t my life was over. Well since then I’m still single I’m still waiting for my prince charming but in the meantime I am continuing to try to hustle and continuing to build my business. You see the industry has changed over the years and if you don’t change then you become a has-been so it’s important for you to be fluid, go with the flow as technology has taken over our lives and changed everything.
So going back to my career as an image consultant and why I decided to become an image consultant… in my 20s I was so insecure I never thought that I could start my own business and turn it into something that was lucrative but that’s the benefit of working in investment banking – it gave me that can-do attitude. And in my 20s I spent so much of my time worrying about what other people are thinking about me that it was just a natural fit for me to become an image consultant. Why? Because when you’re an image consultant the clothing that you wear enables you to manipulate the messages that you project to whoever’s looking at you. So it became a natural fit for me to become an image consultant – to tell people what to wear because I love shopping, and to tell them how to behave because I was good to consulting, and also it was a learning experience for me.
And so as my career developed, I developed into a strong independent confident woman, at least that was the perception. But like they say perception is reality and so am I really this person? Looking back I think I did develop into this person however I still struggle with my own self image issues and my own self-worth issues. Perhaps that’s why am still not married. Because self-worth and having a good self image about yourself is what’s really important to becoming your best version of yourself. Every person wants to be unique in their own way and the only way that you can be truly unique is to be your authentic self. It’s not defined by what your wear, or how others perceive you, or what others think about you. Your true authentic, best self is the self that you are most comfortable being so if that person likes to wear jeans and a T-shirt and flip-flops on a daily basis, and you are happy and comfortable and confident within yourself, then you are being your best self. But if you’re not comfortable with this look and would like to project a more polished look, then it’s time for you to see an image consultant and personal stylist. But let’s hope that this image upgrade is more for yourself than you doing it for others because even though you change your look, if it’s not authentic to you, it will never present your best image.
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