Looking good never goes out of fashion. Just the other day I was reading a style guru talk about her ‘Five tips to help people look their very best’. One tip on that list caught my attention. It was this: Get yourself an alteration tailor. Rather unusual advice, I thought. And it made me wonder. How many of us have an alteration tailor? Do you have one?
The logic as she explained it was simple. You can buy expensive new clothes. You can fill your wardrobe with trendy fashion statements. But for them to look really good on you, you often need to make minor alterations. Like adjusting that length a bit. Or loosening it up a little near the waist. Teeny-weeny changes that can make a big difference.
As I thought about what an alteration tailor does, it struck me that this is great advice not just for style, but for our lives too. An alteration tailor can help us not just look good — but be the best we can be. What we all need in our lives is an alteration tailor. A friend, partner, mentor or coach — just someone who can point out those little adjustments that we need to make to get better. Because at the end of the day looking good is not about having fancy brands or large wardrobes. It’s about having comfortable, well-fitting clothes that show off our strengths and make us feel good. An alteration tailor can be a powerful ally in your personal leadership journey. Here’s how:
An alteration tailor prepares you for change. We change, our worlds change. What worked yesterday may not work today — and the alteration tailor ensures you are not force-fitting outdated models. The reassuring presence of an alteration tailor on your side can help you embrace change.
The alteration tailor also tells us the value of paying attention to little details, and making sure you get it just right. That’s a terrific leadership trait. You might have a well-fitting blazer, but if one of those buttons on the cuff is missing, it just won’t feel right wearing it. It’s not about whether anyone else will even notice the missing button. You will. An alteration tailor can help fix that.
We all have new unused clothes in our wardrobes. Something that once caught your fancy and you picked up in a moment of temptation, only to discover that it doesn’t quite fit too well. Instead of just letting it lie there, and instead of constantly adding to your wardrobe, the alteration tailor helps you to make the most of what you already have. It’s probably a good metaphor for our lives. We’ve got all it takes to succeed. What we need is someone who can tweak it a little bit, who can tell us where we might be going wrong and help us get it right.
Rather than worry about acquiring new skills, we would all do well to put our core strengths — our real assets — to better, fuller use. We don’t really need one more qualification. Or one more Ivy League training programme. What we really need is someone who points to our short temper and helps fix it. Or nudges us to let go of our diffidence and become more assertive. Or reminds us to look for and appreciate the good in other people — and helps us become better team players. Small alterations that can potentially lead to big impact.
Alteration tailors can also help us discover the keys to happier, more enduring relationships. A difference of opinion does not have to mean the end of a friendship. A temporary performance issue at work does not mean you need to change jobs. An alteration tailor helps ensure you don’t throw away a trouser just because a button has gone missing. Minor hiccups can be — and must be — fixed.
Many of us complain that there are no alteration tailors. We seldom hear about them. Truth is, they exist. They are just a bit harder to find. Look for one, and you are certain to find one. Usually, very close to you. You only need to look.
What’s true for alteration tailors is true for life. Seek, and you shall find. Go find yourself an alteration tailor today. And become the best you can be.