I always strive to bring you wisdom on wealth and worth. Wisdom doesn’t just come from the successes I’ve had, it also comes from all of the mistakes I’ve made both in life and throughout my career.

This week is about the power of first impressions and perceptions. Yes, I now own a lot of nice things and I have a lot of luxury bags, sunglasses, shoes, etc… Even when I was making 75k/year, I didn’t buy these luxury items as I saw them as a waste of money, based on my income level. That all changed one month when I was around 26 years old.

I was working in pharmaceutical sales, and a new counterpart got hired on my team. She was 10-years older than me and had great success. I admired her effortless sales style and her experience. She asked me about a month after we met, “Why do you carry around a low-end, worn-out work bag ??” I said, “ because it works and fits all of my stuff.” She kindly nodded in a sisterly way and said, “Let me give you a piece of advice….when people see you coming into these high-end offices with a ratty looking bag and Payless shoes, it undermines the quality of what you are selling and your authority on it.”

At that age, I didn’t quite get what she was saying, but I agreed to her experiment to go buy a designer bag (@coach was the IT bag back then) and some heels made of something other than plastic and rubber ?. SO I DID. After about 2 weeks of me carrying around what felt like a rare diamond, and wearing shoes that didn’t make my feet sweat and blister, an amazing shift occurred.

My senior counterpart saw me at a doctors office (client), and asked me if I noticed anything different. I DID! Gatekeepers started letting me back to speak with the doctors, and I even got selected as a team leader at the company. Of course it’s not like I bought magic accessories, by elevating my first impression and perception, I gave off a look, energy and feel of confidence and success.

We all assess people when we meet them. Review what your look, your attire, your accessories, your hairstyle say about you. Adjust those things to match where you want to be in your career versus where you are at now.