Be Yourself – Billions Shows You How

May 5, 2017

“Billions” is reaching it’s gripping and a nerve-jangling grand finale on Sunday. I won’t spoil anything if you’re storing up the episodes to watch all in one go but suffice as to say the twists and turns in the penultimate episode left me on the edge of my seat.

I love many things about this business drama starring the anti-hero Bobby “Axe” Axelrod as billionaire hedge fund company owner, entrepreneur and financial disruptor, but the one thing that always impresses me how he demonstrate that you can be yourself, dress as you wish and still be an entrepreneur, business leader, and company owner.

This is epitomized in “Billions” by what Axe wears. His normal office attire is a rock star t-shirt or some casual t-shirt with trainers. He rarely wears a suit. There are a couple of great demonstrations of this in the current series where he’s about to meet the district attorney and another where he’s there to pitch a client he desperately needs and he starts by dressing in a suit, tie, shirt. He looks at himself before each meeting, thinks and you can see him going screw it, this isn’t me, this isn’t how I feel comfortable and want to be seen, this isn’t how I go into battle. I can’t give my best in this.

He quickly removes the tie and shirt and changes into his comfortable battle dress of a Megadeath t-shirt and on one occasion a Metallica one. By doing this he takes both people off guard and without spoiling it gets the better of both encounters.

Axe is being true to himself not dressing how his opponents or convention tells him too. There is another occasion where he walks into a private members club in trainers, jeans and a t-shirt which have the same effect, surprise, outrage and catches his opponents off guard.

Now you might say that it’s alright for him in a fictional sense because he’s a billionaire and he works for himself. You have a point but even working for yourself you still have conventional and conservative clients like venture capitalists and banks to deal with.

If you dress like everyone else, in a bland shiny suit and blue/white shirt (the bankers uniform) then you just look like everyone else. Your personal brand is diminished by doing so, you’re not standing out and enhancing your brand values. This is fine if you don’t wish to stand out but then don’t complain when someone else gets that promotion, pay rise, client, investment, employee, award, noticed etc etc.

Be yourself. Evcn if you do work for someone else or you’re an entrepreneur and are being pressurized or feeling like conservatism and convention are telling you to wear that bland suit and shirt/tie for that important investor or client meeting. Ask yourself if that is really you.

Are you going to give of your best if you’re dressed in a way that someone else wants you to be or society wants you to be rather than dressing the way that you personally feel most comfortable in? By being yourself and dressing how you wish you will be amazed how this will enable you to be yourself, feel yourself and give your best work, free from the chains of conventional restraint.

Better to be true to yourself and fail than pretend to be someone else and win. You’ll get found out eventually and you won’t be happy. Be yourself and you’ll be surprised by how much confidence saying “screw you convention” does for your self-confidence on stage, in front of clients, with your team, in conversation with your peers, networking, anywhere in fact that you come into contact with the business community.

Try it. Be yourself.

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