United We Stand, Divided We Fall
by Linda Potgieter
Do you think of yourself as a leader? Why, or why not? This is an important question to answer if you are serious about achieving your goals and aspirations in life. Whether you’re a businesswoman, Mom, teenage entrepreneur or a grandmother, this issue very much applies to you.
My friend and brother, former NFL pro, Shawn Harper says, ‘Sometimes the world needs to SEE the leadership on us!” In a world that pursues and rewards outer beauty, timely talent, and quick riches, how can fashion serve us and get us to where we want to go?
Every position, every game, every team has a uniform. The policeman wears a uniform that is backed up by heavy authority. The preacher wears his priestly robes backed up by his sharing of the Word. Even the hard working, tired, overwhelmed cocktail waitress dons her dress and apron, representing the brand of food and reheated coffee she serves.
So why not us? Why do we not see clearly our positions and our purpose as Ambassadors of the most high King, and go out and represent Him?
At this Fall time of year when everyone is focused on the change of color and season, we should be looking to FALL as more than just a new season. If united we stand and divided we fall, then how much stronger do we stand in one uniform, with one brand, one color, one solid representation? There is a uniform! It’s not the ‘lazy daily’ stained T-shirt and jeans. It’s not the old college Tee and tacky tracky. It’s also not expensive designer wear.
It’s quite simply a clean, beautiful, simple uniform that sports OTHERS on the front of the jersey. Because while the world has made fashion all about me, me, me, I believe that fashion is all about connection. Fashion is a relationship builder, an icebreaker, a conversation starter. It is a fabulously fun gift that speaks as loudly as we can shout. Fashion is a form of expression, and according to one of my mentors, Dr. Caroline Leaf, suppressing our feelings is scientifically proven to cause brain damage. No kidding. Go Google Dr. Leaf online on the topic of letting your kids express their feelings. It’s powerful, simple and utterly eye-opening.
The world is in a powerful transition state, friend. It’s good to congregate and chat and exchange our views and perspectives. But it’s not enough. Knowledge is not power. It is the application of knowledge that brings change. And while I love every inch of what the talented world of fashion can do for me as a woman, I am equally passionate about donning a daily uniform that tells the world that I am approachable, trustworthy and relatable.
I have just written a book entitled ‘Spirit of Beauty: Faith, Fashion & Freedom Collide’ which goes to print in London in 48 hours. My shattered nerves. Thank you, Lord, for the perfectionist under construction in me. If you have the mildest interest in fashion or if you enjoy a little lipstick, a fab pair of earrings or if you love to dress up to the 9’s and turn every head in the room…you are playing the game. Which begs the question: what uniform are you wearing? Who does it represent? What are your colors? What is your position? Who is your captain?
I have discovered that of all the uniforms and jerseys out there, our individual daily attire is the only category we disqualify from the dress code. Every single other position has a dress code.
And here’s why: because we think that our dress code is for US. It is not. It is for others. It is a signal that we are here, we are approachable, we are accessible, safe and trustworthy.
I wish you a wonderful and colorful Fall, friend! And I hope that you will make the decision to get up, dress up and be a bold light on a hill in this gorgeous change of season that offers us a magnificent change of uniform for the season you are about to enter.
Linda is a wife and mother, and Partner & Director of JPA Ltd, a global negotiation training firm headquartered in London. She is also Founder of LindaPaige, a fashion brand that empowers women to be a bold light on a hill in this world. Born and raised in South Africa, she currently lives in the UK with her husband and 2 children.
Linda started working at age 17 and spent most of her career in the corporate arena, often the youngest on the team enjoying powerful on the job training, learning from ambitious, accomplished executives what the marketplace wants.
Linda had the immense privilege of serving on former President Nelson Mandela’s PR team in 1998. As the final member of a team of 5, Linda and her colleagues organized the Vulindlela Water Supply Scheme in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, on Human Rights Day in March 1998. Awarded along with her team members for her performance in this role, she cites this experience as one of her distinct career highlights, referencing Nelson Mandela as her leadership standard in life, and continues her involvement today in fighting oppression and injustice.
After relocating to the UK in 2002, Linda won a national sales award in January 2006 from the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (UK) (ISMM) for ‘Best New Sales Professional in Britain’. She is passionate about sales and loves working with people, a combination that opened up fantastic career opportunities for her across geographical and cultural boundaries, working on negotiation training projects with some of the worlds largest brands such as Adidas, Network Rail, EON, Mercer, Nestle, Pfizer, Nokia, and Vodafone. Her clients cite her training style as “…highly motivational, passionate and performance impacting”.
Linda is extremely dedicated to her own personal growth and attends regular leadership training in the USA which she cites as life-changing. On a personal note, she is an adrenaline junkie continuing her pursuit of the next thrill in adventure sports, she loves traveling the world exploring good food, good wine and when there are gaps, she is home socializing with her family and friends.