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Inner Self, Outer Style

A few weeks ago, I worked with a stylist to figure out what clothes to wear for work over the next six months.

I noticed that clothes that I wore five years ago, even clothes that I wore two years ago (pre-pandemic), don’t necessarily fit who I am anymore.

On several occasions, I would pull out an outfit that I used to feel great wearing. Although it still fits physically, it just doesn’t fit mentally or emotionally.

As I reflected, it occurred to me that perhaps I should expect this. It makes sense.

There’s certainly part of this that has to do with getting older–I’m not going to wear what I would have worn when I was twenty-five. Certain colors are in and out of season, but this change is more than that and different from that.

As you and I do the inner ‘disrupt yourself’ work and we look to grow into the person we aspire to be, we are becoming different people. To a certain degree, that’s the purpose of self-disruption—to change, to become different, to grow.

Some animals shed their skin, like snakes. Not my preferred comparison, but why wouldn’t we expect our outer self to reflect our growing inner self?

Why wouldn’t our clothes change over time?

And why wouldn’t we want them to, as a sign or indicator to ourselves that we have changed and are changing?

I recognize that some people will say that this is an inconsequential subject, one that doesn’t matter. It’s the inner self that matters, and I agree. But maybe it isn’t only the inner self that matters. Our bodies can affect our emotional state, and our emotional state affects the well-being of our bodies. Our clothing is how we present our bodies to the world, and I wonder if this presentation matters to our psyches and emotions.

I’m reflecting and experimenting, and I wonder what you think about it too.

This week’s podcast guest is David Epstein, author of the massively popular Range

In it, he argues not only for having wide-ranging experiences and the power of being a generalist but also, in my vernacular, he advocates for the value of being at a launch point; taking your portmanteau of skills to a different industry, a different discipline because that’s how innovation comes about.

Range is a terrific book, which led to our delightful conversation.

As always, thanks for being here and for sharing your thoughts!

I love hearing from you.

My best,
Whitney