One of the gifts I received from my wife this past Christmas was a Saint John’s Bay sweater. As I donned the sweater for the first time with the brand tags still attached, she, intending to give me a playful compliment, pointed to the four key Saint John’s Bay qualities and read them aloud (honest, genuine, well-made, classic). Her affirmation was that those qualities described me.
We had a good chuckle over that. However, the more I thought about the playful compliment, the deeper I reflected on its significance. Although it may initially sound odd, consider these qualities from a clothing brand, and how true they should be for you and me both personally and professionally.
Honest. Some people are honest and some are not. My ethical standard is such that I simply cannot conceive of living my life in such a way as to be dishonest. I remember the counsel of my parents at an early age that the moment you tell one lie, you begin a cycle of lies to hide the web of deception.
Genuine. When you meet a person, one of the first things that you yearn for and sense is authenticity. Is that person genuine or is that person just putting on a good act? I sometimes use the term, “plastic person.” A plastic person is one who simply puts on the act and has no sincere interest in connecting with you or with anyone else. The plastic person just wants to put on the act to achieve selfish goals. You are just a tool to that end. On the other hand, we all enjoy the authenticity of the genuine person.
Well-Made. When it comes to our bodies and our brains, we are not all equally well made. Nevertheless, I believe that in the context of your own life, you are well made. You are well made for the times in which you live. What becomes equally, if not more important, is how you nurture and enhance that body and brain. No exchanges are allowed. However, to the degree that you nurture and enhance what you’ve been given, you will achieve success in life.
Classic. Classic means that you will stand the test of time. How reliable are you? How steady are you? Can people truly depend on you? In that sense, we can all be classics. As that happens, other people will seek your counsel, wisdom, opinion, and caring. All that will reaffirm your honesty, genuineness, and the fact that you have kept yourself well made. It becomes a cycle of quality growth.
These are interesting and potent lessons from some simple clothing brand taglines. People today have an eye for these four qualities. In our personal lives and in our professional lives, we need these things. Moreover, the more we manifest these qualities, the more we create opportunities to move other people forward in them too.
Do you meet the Saint John’s Bay standard?