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Harvey Specter is as famous for his look as he is his fiery and dominant personality. As these are such desirable traits, this leads many people to wonder how to be like Harvey Specter.
It would be easy to tell you to ‘drive a fancy car’, or ‘get a Law Degree from Harvard’ – but that’s just silly.
The following 11 actionable steps are your one stop shop to be and think like Harvey Specter, both physically and mentally, and will link you to some awesome resources that will help kickstart your journey. (The last point is especially important!)
Also, this post will only look at the best in Harvey – not all aspects of his personality are positive and applicable to real life situations. In many places, his blunt, aggressive, and overly assertive nature will push people away from you rather then unite, and will potentially put you behind in lot of environments.
Dress Well, and Master Your Clothing
If you’ve either watched the show, or read any other of my articles, you’ll know that both myself and Harvey are on the same page when it comes to dressing well: it’s a necessary tool that you can use to your advantage to put yourself ahead of the competition.
People respond to how we’re dressed, so like it or not, this is what you have to do. – Season 1, Episode 1
And, at its core, the reasoning for dressing well is really that simple – Harvey does everything he can to win, so he’s of course going to give himself a powerful head start by setting an impeccable first impression, and expressing his assertiveness through his personal image.
In case you still aren’t convinced that learning to dress well is worth your time, I’ve covered a bunch more benefits of dressing well in another post of mine, which will convince you to give it a shot.
But, in my opinion, even if you don’t care about the other benefits (which all really feed back into this idea of being a better you), you still can’t deny that it’s important.
Luckily, I’ve written two articles that break down the clothing that Harvey gravitates towards, what he does to appear so sharp all the time, and how you can emulate it:
As a super high level overview, pay attention to classic styling options, such as dark colours, strong, masculine suits, and traditional casual clothing, and make sure it fits you properly.
Pay Attention to, and Master, Your Grooming
This really goes hand in hand with the previous point, and extends the fully cohesive and in control look that he’s known for.
Having good grooming as well as perfect clothing really provides a lethal combination that shows people who they’re up against, and puts you even further ahead those who choose to neglect both clothing and grooming.
But the good news is that you don’t need to get an $500 haircut like Harvey, but simply something presentable that will help people take you seriously.
Harvey specifically has adopted a few hairstyles throughout the tenure of the show, most notably a long, slicked back left sided parting, and a spiked crew cut.
Both of these looks are super versatile, smart, and easy enough to emulate for yourself.
Again (you can see where this is going, I’m sure), I’ve written an awesome guide that goes step by step through how you can achieve Harvey’s exact hairstyles, and what products you will require.
Employ Dominant Body Language
So, if the first two points are about making sure people take you seriously at first glance, this point is all about making sure you allow it to matter.
It’s irrelevant how awesome your suit is if your body language doesn’t match your powerful personal image – in this case, despite putting in 90% of the work, bad body language could make you come across as weak, which would diminish any chance of being taken seriously.
Luckily, in most cases, this is pretty easy to identify and fix.
Here is a list of body language signals that Harvey uses to help him come across as an authority.
- A superb, upright posture – he rarely slouches, and is always upright.
- An open posture. He rarely closes himself off, and remains open. A closed posture in social situations, such as crossed arms or legs shows to others that you’re insecure, so you need to put up a barrier.
- Confident eye contact. In all cases, especially in confrontation, Harvey maintains direct and piercing eye contact, without being creepy. This shows that he’s confident enough to maintain it, and makes him come across as a better listener.
- A powerful walk. Harvey’s walk has swagger. Learn it.
- Don’t fidget. Again, fidgeting shows insecurity. Relax yourself.
- Chin up. This is one of the less important points, but keeping your head up shows that you’re not afraid to acknowledge your surroundings, and take people’s attention.
- Firm handshake. Pun not intended.
These all create the idea of status and confidence, and will announce your presence without sound.
Think about which of these you display, and if you lack any, consciously work to change it. The good news about this point is that most of them revolve around habit, so if you put an action plan in place to change them, it will eventually become natural.
Develop a Silver Tongue and Good Verbal Skills
Unfortunately, unlike with your hair, clothing, and body language, you can’t really make an instant change in this aspect – becoming as good as Harvey verbally will require a lot more work, preparation, and practice than making sure you’re standing up straight.
It takes years of dedication and an innate intelligence (and, in most cases, a well curated script…) to be able to gracefully annihilate someone, defuse a situation, or come up with a perfectly timed roast.
This next section will cover three aspects of Harvey’s verbal skills, that you should look at mastering – to start you off, let’s talk a little bit about how he manages to ‘win’ conversations.
One of the main tactics that he uses is adjusting the frame of the conversation to favour him, essentially, flipping how the information presented in the argument is perceived, and framing himself as the one in control.
This is a conversation for another article, however, Charlie from Charisma on Command has created an awesome resource on this topic exactly, and what you can learn from Harvey:
Cracking Whitty Dialogue
Harvey is well known for his quotes and contextual roasting, but how is he able to think on his feet, and pull out zingers time and time again?
Well, this awesome video from the Art of Verbal War goes over some specific techniques that Harvey uses to create these awesome one liners, which add to his intelligent and charismatic personality.
Being Naturally Good in Conversation
Aside from being an excellent negotiator and debater, something that Harvey does which is a little easier to master is the ability to comfortably small talk and conversate.
If you’re in the position where you can’t confidently carry through the basics with a stranger, such as “hello, how are you? – I’m good thanks.”, I can gladly tell you that it is definitely possible to address this, and steps in improving your verbal communication.
I can guarantee that it will change your life.
It sounds simple, but a lot of people who don’t practice it struggle to complete such a simple task successfully, or lack the confidence to start a conversation when required.
If you’re in this bracket, refer to the below point, which talks about his confidence, and how to get it.
Build Confidence Like Harvey Specter
I couldn’t leave this off the list – it’s the big one: confidence is the number one trait associated with Harvey, so, if you want to be like Harvey Specter, you should definitely pay attention.
But don’t take my word for it – just look at his actions. He knows his value, inside and out, and has no anxiety in any situation he is in. He is in complete control of his actions, which allows him to master everything he puts his mind to in comfort.
He needs to publicly speak in front of a court room? – no problem. He needs to confront someone who’s not paying him respect? – easy.
For this reason, I can guarantee that building confidence is a worthwhile investment, and, along with improving your verbal skills, can seriously have such a huge effect on the way you live your life.
An easy way to see this is by comparing Harvey to someone who doesn’t have confidence in themselves. Those with low self esteem are usually a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they don’t have the confidence to try new things, so they’ll always stay where they are, and if they do attempt something, they don’t have the confidence to see it through during tough times.
I know which situation I’d want to find myself in.
The good news is, though this may all sound like an impossibility for you, it is entirely possible to get Harvey’s confidence. That said, It’s not easy, and requires a massive amount of dedication, effort, and the ability to force yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Luckily, I’ve written a step by step system on how to build confidence, aptly named the ‘Heroic Confidence System’. By using the principles outlined in that guide, you’ll be able to gradually increase your exposure to the things that you fear the most, so you can eventually crush them, and replace your anxiety with relaxation.
Creating this confidence leads to the two next points…
Don’t Care What Others Think
Harvey doesn’t care what others think of him – he never apologises or justifies who he is, or what he believes in.
But this is hard – it’s the human condition to look for validation, and you could say that Harvey’s situation it’s different, as he’s a wealthy, highly skilled, and a successful lawyer.
But not letting yourself place value on the opinions of others will release you from a unnecessary burden that you’ve likely been carrying on your shoulders for most of your life
It’s not a beneficial worry, and in 90% of cases leads to you not taking action when you should, and creating problems for yourself.
After all, there’s a reason that the ‘average’ person exists – if everything you did was ‘normal’, that’s exactly what you would be.
Harvey isn’t. Through his life and career, Harvey constantly goes against the majority opinion and ‘flow’, and comes out on top because of it.
“Guys who’ll do anything to win, usually lose to me. It’s not about doing anything. It’s about doing the right thing, at the right time. It might not be easy, or popular, but I don’t do this to make friends. I do it because people count on me, and because winning sure beats the hell out of losing.” – Harvey Specter
What steps can you put in place to achieve this for yourself? The best place to start is by following the above point, and build confidence. With this, you’ll internally feel that what you think is the most important, and will have the ability to let people get on with their own opinions without worry.
Now, this isn’t saying you should disregard what people are saying, such as in discussions – but in situations that you know something has to be done, Harvey isn’t afraid to do the unpopular, or atypical.
Raise Your Standards
Harvey sets his boundaries, for both what he gives, and what he accepts.
Everything he sets out to do is at the highest, most complete, and most professional level attainable, and as a result, only accepts a certain calibre of response.
This is applicable in all situations:
- He only works with clients who are on the same page. His standards are only working with clients that he likes.
- He provides maximum value at work, so expects that he is paid maximum wage.
- Like everyone else, he is a human, so expects decency and respect from others, and doesn’t let people push him about.
In this video, Harvey literally tells Mike that his standards are much higher than the norm:
Now, some of the specific examples I provided can come across as a bit ‘demanding’, I understand.
But in the case of being treated respectfully, making sure that you don’t get pushed around, and actually getting things you’ve worked for, they are definitely things that everyone deserves, and should remedy if not present.
It’s all about determining what the problem is, coming up with an actionable step to fix it, and having enough confidence and knowledge of your worth to see it through.
For example, if you’re putting in a high level of effort at work, and you’re not getting paid well for it, raise your standards, and ask for a raise, or find another position.
Being able to actually raise your standards, stick to them, and rectify them when they don’t get met, puts you in a league of your own.
Change Your Mindset to an Abundance Mentality
This point continues on from the last three about a change in mindset.
Harvey has a classic ‘abundance’ mentality – he knows that he can get everything he wants, and that there is plenty of it to go around: money, women, success – it’s there for the taking, it just requires hard work and effort to obtain.
This is compared to most people who have a ‘scarcity’ mindset – “I can’t do it”, “There aren’t enough opportunities”.
In fact, many of Harvey’s best quotes reflect this sort of mindset, such as :
- “I don’t have dreams, I have goals”
- “I don’t get lucky, I make my own luck”
- “If your back is against the wall, break the goddamn thing down”
- “Winners don’t make excuses”
I’ve written a post that goes over my top 11 Harvey Specter quotes, what they mean, and how you can implement them into your life – I would highly recommend reading this, as it goes more in depth into Harvey’s winning strategies and philosophies, and the way he thinks that makes him so prone to success.
Maintain an Active and Healthy Lifestyle
Throughout the show, we see Harvey many times in the boxing ring, and out jogging.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle like Harvey will improve your capability and, regardless of any mental fulfilment it might give you, will make you feel physically incredible and less ‘sluggish’.
It doesn’t have to be boxing and jogging though – I personally don’t like those activities, but default to alternatives such as martial arts, and cycling.
Whatever floats your boat, committing to a beneficial physical activity will bring you a step closer to becoming like Harvey Specter, and stepping into his league of awesome.
If you don’t know where to start, start small, but make sure you commit to it. Having an easy 5 minute jog every day consistently is more beneficial, compared to braving a 40 minute circuit only twice before giving up.
From this consistency, you will be able to add on more and more time until it becomes comfortable and easy.
Develop Taste in Motoring, Music and More
Throughout the show, we see Harvey drive a bunch of fancy cars, listen to great music, and reference great films and sporting events.
Having taste this extensive, expensive and lavish is a difficult task in the real world, but if you really want to be like Harvey Specter, figure out exactly what you brand is and you enjoy, and use your interest to learn about it:
- Harvey is a fan of vinyl records, specifically ‘smooth’ and ‘soul’ music, from artists such as Charles Bradley. (Excellent choices, may I say)
- He favours classic cars, such as his signature 1967 Mustang GT. For a full list of all of his epic vehicles, check out this post on Harvey’s garage.
- He enjoys baseball, and frequently brings out baseball trivia and analogies.
- Harvey obviously enjoys famous films, frequently referencing classics such as the James Bond and The Godfather series.
This will give you depth, something to enjoy, and rare expertise to display to the world.
Remove Emotions From Your Work
In critical situations, emotions rarely play into your advantage – fear, anxiety, uncertainty, anger.
One of Harvey’s favourite mantras is “I’m against having emotions”, which, I suppose, prevents them from clouding his judgement, and allows him to fully focus at the problem at hand, giving him the highest chance of success.
Master Your Trade, and Become Valuable
Regardless of his confidence and mindset, Harvey is able to constantly win because he is a master of his trade.
He has the ability to get results, and people treat him like a King for it.
He is ‘the guy that will move mountains, and get the job done, no matter what the task is’, and is one of the most valuable assets the firm has.
Through his expertise, he has made himself a scarse resource, who is able to provide solutions to the firm’s problems. He has made himself desirable and valuable.
This allows him to act the way he does, and get the immediate respect from others, which, without a track record like his, would be undeserved and seen as delusionally overconfident.
To become like Harvey in this respect, the instruction is easy: become a master of your trade. In practice, there’s no shortcut to this, but years of experience, and constantly seeking to improve and better your work.
But becoming a problem solver in a high value industry, like law, leads to all of the ‘desirable’ parts of his life – the success, fame, respect, and wealth.
No matter if you embody all of the other points on this list, without this, you simply won’t be in his position. But the other points helped him get to this success – it’s like a wheel.
So, if you truly want to be like Harvey Specter, you have to first get to the top of your field by employing all of the mechanisms mentioned previously, and then reap the rewards.
It’s also this experience that has led to his unbreakable confidence within the space of law. He knows his stuff, so is able to be calm, and take risks with ease.
So, now you know how to be badass like Harvey Specter.
It’s not easy, but these eleven points are almost a blueprint to success, provided you put in the work to embody and maximise them.
Now all that’s left to do is for you to make sure you take action, and become like Harvey Specter.