Many image consultants talk about body shapes. They categorize clients into different physical groups and give their shapes hilarious names such as apples, pears, and bananas. I do not work with those shapes at all. First of all, who wants to be a full moon? And second, these categories absolutely fail because the requirements of a pear-shaped woman have nothing to do with a pear-shaped man; it depends on how much you would like to show your pear or not, and if you are a petite pear or tall pear changes the story too. I encourage my participants to not get hung up on hilarious names from anyone, and instead to analyze their body in terms of:

  1. Where are the positives, and how to highlight them to make you feel confident?
  2. Where are the negatives, and how to hide them to make you feel confident?

Everyone has some aspects to their body that are pleasing, and some that are not so pleasing

You have to know your body and be honest with yourself. No matter how tall or small, how thin or thick it is, you have to understand your body. Where are the parts you like? And where are those you don’t like? How you think about your body is important. That’s all.

How you think about your body is important. That's all. Click To Tweet

Let me explain it with my own body. (It’s okay—I usually do this in front of a group, so please feel free to use your imagination!). I’m female, taller than average, relatively thin, with long legs and wide shoulders. I do not have a well-defined waist, and like many women (and men) I have a little belly that I just can’t make flat.

If a traditional image consultant would inspect me, I would be an “inverted triangle” in their opinion. Since I am already quite tall they would tell me to not wear high heels, and not to make my lower body part longer and taller, since it already is. With apologies to all the experts, I do exactly the opposite of what’s written in their books. I wear high-waisted pants and high heels that accentuate my legs. I mean, I have damn hot legs—I’d better show them, shouldn’t I? They make me feel confident, and that’s how leaders feel.

There’s a practical reason too

I work with many male clients, and some of them are taller than average. I want to stand at eye level with them, and therefore I wear heels, even if it’s not recommended given my body shape. On the other hand, if I’m working with someone who is petite, I don’t wear high heels because I don’t want to make the other person feel uncomfortable. The occasion is the key! Certainly not the body shape. Making yourself feel confident is so much more important than any body shape, proportion, or structure that others might talk you into. With body types and body parts, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure you can put people in, that will make them feel more confident about their bodies.

What they have to do is understand their body and their options for creating “imprint illusions.” An imprint illusion is where you “manage” what people see by drawing their eyes to certain places. If they’re looking at your eyes, for example, they may not notice your big ears. And if they’re looking at your fabulous legs, they may not notice your small bust. If they’re looking at your warm smile, they won’t notice that maybe you should lose twenty pounds. Throw aside your insecurities and let’s work to find ways to draw on all the positives… and believe me, there are lots and lots of positives!

How confident are you about your body?
Do you sometimes feel too tall, too short, overweight, too thin?
Where are your positives, and how do you highlight them?