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My "Garanimals for Adults" Method — and Why I Don't Follow It Anymore

July 13, 2015

 {Garanimals tags today}

 

Laugh if you will (well, that is if you're over, say, the age of 35...if you're younger you probably have no idea what I'm talking about) but there's a method to my madness.

 

Garanimals was a children's clothing line that essentially coordinated tops and bottoms together simply by using different colored animal tags. If you were looking for a cool top to go with those groovy pants, you need only find another blue elephant (or red bear, or yellow monkey) tag and you were good to go.

 

 {Man, I wore a lot of yellow in the '70s}

 

Granted, Garanimals was in its heyday in the '70s, when it shared the gimmick spotlight with pet rocks and the like. But at its essence, it was about making a decision easier (or eliminating it entirely) by providing you with several alternatives that were sure to match/fit.

 

For a harried Mom or Dad trying to outfit their kid, this was genius. It ensured that their kid would look acceptable (which was debatable, given the decade). And for at least one kid it made quite an impression.

 

But back to my "Garanimals for Adults" method.

 

For at least the last decade, a suit served as my Garanimals. A jacket with matching pants or skirt was well-coordinated, professional and (some would say) boring and predictable. Once I had on those pieces I could basically take my "navy blue dolphin" or "charcoal gray panda" and change it up with a different blouse, interesting jewelry and killer heels. (Heck, even the photo of me on this blog follows my adult Garanimals methodology.) It gave me a great sense of comfort knowing I was dressing in a way that allowed me to "match" and fit in.

 

 {What I used to dress like every day}

 

The funny thing is that I haven't followed this dressing strategy lately. In fact, I've been forced outside my comfort zone of matchy-matchy to try to coordinate with - gasp! - separates and - double gasp! - flats.

 

Which of course has made me re-think my dressing theory, and create a new one: intentionally NOT matching, instead focusing on things going together and the overall gestalt of my ensemble. Call it my anti Garanimals for Adults, if you will.

 

Sure, it might take a little longer to get dressed, but it better aligns with this transitional period I'm in — by dressing "outside the lines" I'm forcing myself to be more resourceful and creative, which is exactly the direction I want to go with my life and career.

 

And I'm guessing you feel the same, regardless of industry.

 

The good news is that the anti-Garanimals for Adults method applies to business, too. How many times have you gone to tackle something you've done a million times (that marketing report, reviewing the monthly financials, sales outreach), with exactly the same approach?  Be honest, pretty much every time, right?  That's because you've done it so many times that you feel like A) it works, B) you must have perfected it by now, C) you're on auto-pilot.

 

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a method that works. Especially if you've made a conscious effort to continuously improve.  But if you can't remember the last time you changed it up a bit, then maybe it's time to change it up a bit.

 

So why limit yourself to the obvious choices? Go ahead and pair a blue giraffe with an orange tiger. Ask for feedback (and listen!). Suggest a new approach. Try something you might initial think is scary. Life is about taking chances, and putting yourself out there for new experiences, personally and professionally.

 

Remember that the unexpected can be a breath of fresh air.  And way more interesting.

 

 

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