How important is body image in terms of achieving career success?

Okay so I am sitting on the couch watching my favorite reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond . . . thank goodness for my 7/24 satellite dish controller’s PVR feature because the show airs at 3:00 AM.

Anyway, up pops a commercial on Herbal Magic featuring people talking about the product’s effectiveness, with a background picture of what they used to look like before losing all the weight.

Besides the fact that there isn’t a single one of them wearing track pants – I guess a reflection as to just how effective the program is, one individual’s testimony jumped off the screen.

Jerry from Waterdown, Ontario who lost 113 pounds, boldly proclaims that he is now able to share his ideas with upper management and become a more useful employee (see video below).

This got me to thinking . . . is there a connection between positive (or negative) body image in terms of employee performance?

Yes I know, you are going to tell me that if you feel good about yourself you will have more confidence.  As a result you will be more inclined to step up and stand out as leadership coach’s often says, and embrace opportunities for success and advancement.

But there is a much bigger question that goes beyond personal or individual consideration as it relates to the American economy as a whole.

If it is in fact true that being overweight hinders employee confidence, then the following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should send a shiver up and down our collective backs.

Specifically, the CDC reports that; During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.


And these are only the statistics as it relates to people who are considered to be obese.  What about those of us who are a bit overweight and as a result are a little self-conscious?

Like Jerry before he shed the unwanted pounds, is our creative energy and willingness to make a contribution shackled by a poor body or self image?

What about the organizations for which we toil day-in and day-out?  Are they really getting our best?  And if not, what impact is this shortfall having on the bottom-line.

This begs yet another question . . . besides ourselves, is fructose-laced Coca-Cola, McDonald’s fast food and 7/24 satellite television (and products like it) undermining the American economy?

Does this mean that I have to give-up watching Everybody Loves Raymond?


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