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Tim Gunn on how to “Make it Work” at Limeade Engage 2019

Fashion expert and television personality, Tim Gunn, sat down with Limeade CEO, Henry Albrecht, at Limeade Engage 2019 for a fireside chat on how attendees can apply his well-known catch phrase “Make it Work” to their work and lives.

As a teacher, mentor and design expert, Gunn gives advice on taking current circumstances that you want to change — looking at them, analyzing them — and figuring out what you’re going to do to make it work.

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Here’s five of our favorite takeaways from Tim Gunn’s fireside chat at Limeade Engage:

1. Find empathy in difficult conversations

“I only believe in talking to people about things you can change, not things you can’t.” – Tim Gunn at Limeade Engage 2019

Gunn shared his rule for difficult conversations — empathy. If he has something to say to someone, and he believes it will be difficult for that person to hear, he plays it over in his head and thinks how he would react to it, then he amends what he would say. It’s all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes — “how would I feel?”. With empathy, Gunn also believes in only talking to people about things that can be changed, not things that can’t.

2. Being a jerk isn’t necessary

At Limeade Engage, Gunn encouraged attendees to bear witness to the triumph in the human spirit. When it comes to the classroom, the runway or the workforce, he doesn’t believe being a jerk is necessary. Inclusion is important, in fact Gunn initiated the inclusion of plus sizes on Project Runway. Gunn pointed out that it’s up to us to build a life that’s better.

3. Show your vulnerabilities

Leaders, this one’s for you. Communication, collaboration and teamwork — words we all know and think we understand, and better yet put into action every day. Gunn shared it takes vulnerable leaders in order to support collaboration and communication. And leaders should wear it proudly. When there’s no communication, Gunn believes that’s where negativity begins to fester, and leaders must fill that void with dialogue that’s authentic, meaningful and real.

4. What mindset are you in when interacting with people?

Gunn will be the first to admit that as a society and culture, “we’ve become way too relaxed.” When looking at business fashion influencing the culture of a company — does the way you dress at work impact showing your employees you care? What Gunn calls the “slopification of America,” his honest response on the messages our clothes send to others doesn’t just rely on how you look. It’s the mindset you’re in when wearing your clothes and interacting with people — you want to be respectful, professional and have dignity.

“The clothes we wear show a message about how the world perceives us and the clothes we have access to says a lot about our culture and society.” – Tim Gunn at Limeade Engage 2019

5. Be true to who you are

Gunn’s key advice throughout his career: be yourself, be who you are. As a mentor, Gunn has shared plenty of self-help advice, tips and tricks, such as the ones in his book, “Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work.” At Limeade Engage, he left the audience with his core message to be true to who you are. “You don’t have to think who am I? It’s simple, just think, I am who I am,” said Gunn.

Want to learn more about Tim Gunn and Limeade Engage 2019? Check out our full event recap.