Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not only Leaders, but Mentors as Well

Mentoring skills in a leader will take them far leaving behind them a string of protégés that are deeply interested, connected, and familiar with the skills, operations, and professions of their mentors. A leader who is willing to take the time to be not only a teacher, not only a supervisor, or a manager, but a mentor, will have an audience of students or employees that are far more dedicated than the leader that only has the goal of instruction and education. While both instruction and education are part of mentoring, the addition of a leader who truly cares about the outcome of his or her protégé and truly goes out of his or her own way to ensure the success of the student is not only a leader with a team of followers, but a mentor with a team of devoted people who have vested interest in the success of the business or profession of their mentor.

Through my own personal experience with teachers at MCC I have come to realize the difference between a teacher/leader and a mentor. I have had both kinds of teachers and to tell you the truth the difference is stark and hard to miss. Out of ten of my past professors there is really only one or two that I would consider a mentor. The one that really sticks out to me is my recent English teacher. I have never had a teacher that was so concerned with the outcome of his students and to tell you the truth I never worked harder for a teacher than I did this one and I think I can speak for the most of the class by saying that they hadn’t either.

In my opinion if you choose to become not only a leader but also a mentor you will not only impact those around you for the sake of your profession, but you will also impact their lives. A teacher will soon be forgotten but a mentor will remain in the lives and hearts of his students forever.

What are your thoughts on leadership versus mentorship?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fashion

I have always enjoyed fashion so when I had the assingment recently to write a thesis paper I chose the topic of fashion and the role it plays in our lives.


Fashion, Bridging the Inside to the Outside

Fashion is and has always been an influence on society as much as it has been influenced by society. From the early times when it was a means to survive, a way to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, to more recent centuries when it has been a way to impress and inspire, fashion has played a role in the life of every human being. Since the 1800’s and especially through the twentieth century, fashion has changed roles from that of survival to that of communication. What we wear can communicate to others our interests, social standing, financial status, occupation, and many other clues about who we are. A white coat is often worn by medical personnel, a neatly pressed uniform with medals pinned on it by member of the armed forces, a black coat with florescent stripes by a firefighter, a three piece Armani suit by an upper class citizen, an ill-fitting, odor emitting, stained sweat suit by a poverty stricken person, a star wars t-shirt by someone who enjoys watching science fiction, and a workout outfit and sneakers by someone who is probably headed to the gym. In essence what we wear presents a statement to the world, true or false, about who we are. However, the uniform of the solider not only tells of his career choice and passion, his medals not only of where he has been and his veteran status, but they also demand from the onlooker respect and honor. Not only can what we wear and how we look communicate our lifestyle, but it can communicate our level of credibility as well.

Every day we probably see at least a few people that we have never seen or had contact with before. We automatically make assumptions about that person perhaps regarding his or her occupation or social status. Determining this in our mind determines the amount of respect we have for that individual which ultimately determines the manner in which we will or will not address that person or the answer we would give that person if he or she were to ask a question of us. All this has been determined without that person even speaking a word. The fact is, we do this time after time each day in our sub consciousness and without even realizing it we have established the level of credibility of a person without knowing a single fact about them by simply observing the clothing that they were wearing. First impressions are important and what we wear can greatly influence that impression.

Fashion promotes self-confidence. Wearing stylish clothing and looking neat and well-dressed can boost your self-confidence. Matthew Jackson of The Daily of the University of Washington, says that when we wear clothing that makes us feel good it makes us become more confident which makes us look good (1). People with low self-confidence can appear more together and confidant just by dressing a little sharper. A guy in a tuxedo or a girl in a dress and heels would probably stand a little straighter and walk with a little more dignity than if they were wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Dressing appropriately is an important key to gaining credibility. If a person went to a job interview well dressed and spoke with confidence he or she would be more likely to be hired than if he or she attended an interview wearing sloppy clothes and appearing uncertain and unsure. Looking put together and stylish will make you feel more confident about yourself and will help you to be more successful.

There are some opposing views when it comes to the idea that fashion has something to do with the level of ethics or trustworthiness a person might have, that there is no link between a person and the clothes a person wears. Dressing up or down, sloppy or neat, clothes that fit or those that don’t, everyone wears whatever they like without giving one thought to, or being affected by, their occupation, meetings they might be attending, friends they may be having lunch with, people they want to impress, or anything that their schedule might consist of on a particular day. I would beg to differ concerning this particular point. Most often an organized person is going to appear organized in the manner in which they conduct themselves and in the manner in which they dress just like a person who expects nothing less than perfection in their own life is probably going to appear very put together. A hard working person with a high level of integrity is probably not going to show up to work looking sloppy and a mess. Often times it does not matter as much what people are wearing as to how they are wearing it. While there are exceptions to every rule for the most part you can correctly assume a lot about people by simply observing the fashion in which they conduct themselves and the manner in which they appear.

One other view point on the topic of fashion is that what one choses to wear will not affect the level of respect that one receives; we are respected for who we are, not what we wear. While this might be the way things should be it is not in reality the way things are most of the time. Imagine a scenario of a professor on his first day with a particular class, or perhaps a guest speaker at a conference making his entrance to speak to a crowd that may or may not have prior knowledge or respect for him. Neatly dressed and with and air of confidence he steps up to the podium and without even opening his mouth but has probably already impressed his audience. Imagine that same person shows up in a sloppy pair of dress pants that are way too short and unattractive, wearing a big, baggy shirt and drags himself up to the podium to speak; what kind of impression has he made to that audience? This person could be the smartest person in the world, bearing an important message that every human being could gain wisdom from, but he has lost forever his chance of being heard because he simply did not take the time to match his clothing and attitude to his message. Often a misconception of the word fashion is made concerning the fact that it refers only to clothing but in truth it also refers to the way one carries himself, the etiquette that one uses. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.”

Fashion in itself is nothing. It determines nothing about you, and it changes nothing about you. Each and every person in the world is different in his or her own way, every person has their own story to tell, their own message to relate, and each holds within their own hands the chance to make a difference. Fashion is an aid in helping to gain enough respect and credibility to have a chance at making that difference, to have a chance at changing a life, or perhaps changing the world. It is matching what is on the outside to what is on the inside; communicating to the world the person that you are.