I can’t help smiling when I think back to a conversation that took place really early in my career, in my radio days. There was a fellow that would come into the radio station once a week to record a local sports bit. He worked at the area newspaper. And, my recollection of him is that he always had on tattered jean-shorts and a kind of ratty-looking old Detroit Lions football jersey. Now, I’m not saying that to judge, but that’s what I remember he was almost always wearing every time he would come into the radio station. We got along really well.
One time after he had recorded his bit and he was leaving he was walking down the hallway and then stopped and turned and he went, “Kevin, why do you wear a tie? You’re on the radio. Nobody can see you.”
I thought it was kind of funny. He was wrong about one thing. There was someone that could see me. I could see me. And it’s always mattered to me, even before I was aware that this was something that I could control, it’s mattered how I feel about who I see looking back at me in the mirror.
This is not about conforming to what other people might think. For instance, if I had tattoos and piercings or other things that I felt were essential parts of expressing who I was, that I was covering up because of what I was worried what someone else might think, well then I wouldn’t be showing up in the world authentically and that would ultimately be to my detriment.
When I look in the mirror, I want to see who I want to be.
Conversely, not everybody likes when I wear a sports coat and a dress shirt. Some people, they think it makes them uncomfortable. But you know, the irony is, it’s not really about what they think. Yeah, it’s nice to feel like you look good, but it’s about how I feel about seeing the image staring back at me in the mirror of what looks to me like the picture of success, confidence and effectiveness and preparedness; sort of like playing the role and preparing for the part.
It’s the exact same in my own recreation time as well. It’s the same principles. When I think about what I want to see when I’m not in a sports coat, tie and shirt – something that shows me focus, strength and effectiveness – I choose what I’m wearing really carefully [taking off dress shirt to reveal a Superman t-shirt underneath] because when I look in the mirror, I want to see who I want to be.