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When I was in my early 30’s, I was driving a very long, very boring, very brown, 4 door Buick. It was a good car but it wasn’t me. I had in mind a car with a sportier, yet professional, look. I didn’t want just any car; I wanted the car my Dad said was THE best car ever made. That car was a Mercedes Benz. When I was a child, our family couldn’t afford one, so we drove a Ford. As my father regaled the qualities of a Mercedes, I told myself that I would own that brand of car one day. And, on that day in my mid 30’s, this is what I wanted to buy.

Before I made this bold purchase, I mentioned it to some family members and friends. The consensus was, that driving a Mercedes would appear ostentatious and that it wouldn’t be good to be seen in one in my business life.

Needless to say, that was not what I wanted to hear. But I took their advice to heart and started to look for a car that wouldn’t be so ostentatious.

So, I began looking at just about every make and model, attempting to find that perfect car that was NOT a Mercedes. Yet, the more I looked, the more I felt that any other car could not fit the bill. None felt right.

At another friend’s suggestion, I read some consumer magazines about automobiles. I thoroughly read the articles and reports regarding resale value as well as maintenance issues and customer satisfaction. I was desperately searching for an answer and there it all was, in black and white, Mercedes was the car I was led to.

So, I headed out to the Mercedes dealership and the car that immediately caught my eye was a maroon 300D. After the test drive, I was convinced that this Mercedes was THE car for me!

Now that I’d found the car and had thrown my friends and family’s advice to the wind, the issue now was how was I going to pay for this car? I only had 10% of the cost in my bank account. I called my bank and asked if they would finance the car for me. I was told that they were ‘not making any car loans at this time’ but that they ‘would make me a commercial loan on a 90 days note’. I pondered over the thought that I had no exact plan of how I was going to pay all of this money back at the end of 90 days. What I did know was, I really wanted this car and that I would do whatever it took to pay the bank off - even if it took liquidating personal as well as business assets. Deep down inside, I knew that I just ‘had to have’ this car!

So, I borrowed the entire amount of the cost of the car from the bank. When I picked it up, I was very excited to get my dream car and yet anxious about the loan at the same time.

And that is where serendipity walked in.

The same day as I picked up my new car, I received a call from a gentleman who lived in Leesburg about me conducting an auction on some real estate he owned. He said, “whenever you’re down this way, give me a call, and you can stop by and see the property.” Since I was was picking up my new car in Orlando (only a few miles from Leesburg), I went ahead and made an appointment to see him afterwards.

When I arrived at Mr. Montgomery’s home, I parked directly in front of his front door on the circular drive. He met me at the door and said we should take a look around his place and afterwards talk more about my services. After a few minutes of walking the property, I retrieved my briefcase and the portfolio from my new car which contained previous auction flyers as well as a few letters of recommendation.

As I started to go thru the normal presentation I normally gave to prospective clients, Mr. Montgomery interrupted me saying, “You don’t need you to go thru all of that with me. I figure anyone that can drive a new Mercedes knows what he’s doing! I’m ready to sign the auction agreement.” The new Mercedes wasn’t an obstacle after all and, in fact, was a major contributing factor towards getting the job!

When I conducted the auction, it proved to be a huge success! Mr. Montgomery was quite pleased with the price his property brought and I was elated that my commission more than covered the entire cost of my new Mercedes!

Many times in life, appearances count. Personally, I do my best to look past appearances because they may be deceiving. But the outcomes of job interviews, business meetings and even meeting your girlfriend's parents can be influenced by your appearance. When we make an effort, the person feels respected. And that extra effort is really a simple step to help you reach your goals.

Studies show that your appearance also has a bearing on your income level. But interestingly enough, appearance came third to a smile and one’s attitude. As I look back on my first encounter with Mr. Montgomery, my new car might not have been the only thing that made him hire me. No doubt, on that day, my smile was broader than usual and my attitude was super positive as my confidence level was at an all-time high, boosted by the fact I was now driving the car of my dreams.

This week, think about how you appear to others. Did you make an effort in your appearance? Are you a happy and smiling person that others would like to be around? Your appearance is your brand and can help you get where you want to go. A positive attitude, a happy smile and making an effort with your appearance are always a very good thing!

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