In sales and business development, image is important. The clothes we buy and wear are influenced by how we feel we need to present ourselves and there is a tendency to buy newer and fancier clothes to define our image. Having worked in this career for several years, I had amassed a significant inventory of bespoke suits, ties and dress shoes, doing my best to impress clients and meet image expectation.
As we prepared for Life: Phase Next, thinning the wardrobe was one task on our list as we shed our possessions with a goal to fit everything we owned into two suitcases and two backpacks. My clothing collection surprised me as I started to sort into “keep for travel” or “leave behind.” This was going to be a daunting task. I liked how I felt in my custom-made clothes and comfy casual wear.
The closet saw many versions of keep and discard decisions. In the end I decided on 4 suits, 4 jackets, 24 shirts, and 48 ties for give-away. Because storage is an option for us, I managed to keep two suits and my favorite jacket along with a couple of dress shirts and shoes. You never know what life will throw at you where you need to dress up a little.
Now for the casual clothes. Several of my favorite sweatshirts and comfortable-but-worn-out T-shirts regrettably hit the giveaway pile. But somehow keeping to my space and weight limits while shedding so much clothing made me feel oddly liberated. I fit everything I needed into my suitcase for what could end up being a year of traveling. Having the ability to store a few winter clothes for our return visits and ski trips with family has been extremely helpful.
Being officially retired has changed my perspective on image. No longer am I concerned with clients’ impressions. Instead, I have shifted my focus to being comfortable with whatever I find in my suitcase.