A common saying we hear all the time is, “don't judge a book by its cover. In the sense of fairness, I suppose there's some truth to that, but, today, in this world, particularly in bodybuilding, appearances matter. Your appearance matters a lot because of what your appearance says about you.
This is especially true if you're a bodybuilder, including me. From the age of 13 on, I dedicated myself to maximizing my appearance: I built the biggest muscles possible with the most vascularity, symmetry and definition. I’ve gone so far as to take the body I built to the stage to be judge, not only by the bodybuilding judges, but also the general public in the audience and by being on magazine covers, videos and appearances. In so doing, one thing you learn early on as a bodybuilder is that not everyone says nice things about you. I have no problem with the fact that some people just don’t like big muscles. I suspect a few negative assessments likely come from people with just a little bit of jealousy.
In addition to bodybuilding, appearance also matters in business. Because I have a supplement company focused on helping athletes, I don’t have the same requirements or standards of performance as a banker or lawyer—though every now and then I do have to put on a suit. When people I work with see me dressed up in a business suit they kid me and ask if I’m going to see a banker or going to a funeral? Back in the early days of launching my company either trip would have felt about the same!
No matter how you slice it, appearances matter. Whether you're interviewing for a new job, trying to impress a particular member of the opposite sex, or a trip to the beach. How you present yourself can have a huge effect on your intended purpose, particularly if you're going to compete in a bodybuilding contest.
Some people don't compete because they know they're not good enough to win, but, they're too cool to compete and lose. I took 6th in my first youth event and 5th in my first national event. You have to start somewhere and I’m proud of both of those finishes because I knew I presented myself well. The same goes in business. You have to look the part. I’m glad I’m not selling my supplements out of the back of my trunk anymore. But, there was noting wrong with it. I was proud of my product and it showed. The appearance was that I had quality products, at a fair price, and I believed in them with every fiber of my being. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am any other way.
Remember, appearance can cut both ways. You can appear to be behind what you're doing 100%, knowledgable respectful and humble. Or, you can appear to be a dick. One is going to get you somewhere, the other isn't. Appearances matter.