A winning image starts with a good self-image
I have a teacup poodle named Vito. Vito is the size of a toaster, but every time I take him for a walk, he never fails to pick a fight with some dog ten times his size. It’s become clear to me that Vito has an image problem – he’s a little dog who thinks he’s a lot bigger than he really is. (Blame me for naming him Vito!)
Many of us, like Vito, carry around a self-image that doesn’t really jive with the facts. And that can be devastating to our careers. After all, how we look in our mind’s eye really determines how successful we can be in dealing with other people. For example, if you have an overly negative self-image – you feel that you’re too tall, or overweight, or unattractive in some way – you’ll lack confidence, and others will easily catch on. On the other hand, if you have an overly positive image of yourself – you think you look terrific, when in fact you’re a sloppy dresser who’s badly in need of a haircut – you’ll be blinded by a false sense of confidence and make decisions, actions, or statements about yourself that might lead people to question your professionalism…and even your sanity.
In either case, analysis by yourself – and perhaps by those closest to you – is needed, because your image is important. Luckily, it’s also something you can easily change! To find out how others see you, get some photographs or videotapes taken of yourself when you feel you’re looking your best. Ask for close-ups and study them carefully. What do you see that you like, or don’t like?
Then ask your best friends for their candid opinions on how you look, how you carry yourself, how you come across verbally, and what your car or house or briefcase or other material goods say about you. Promise you won’t take offense – and don’t! Then ask them to tell you about your image in terms of knowledge and enthusiasm as well as sincerity and integrity.
Now you can use your own and others’ candid analyses to change aspects of your image that give off the wrong impression, and walk with your head held high!