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Starting from the inside out: Harnessing the power of your total image?

06 March 2012

In the midst of juggling so many balls we can very easily loose our way and forget about what really makes us happy. There’s nothing more uplifting than seeing a women who is confident in whom she is, who walks with poise, listens with empathy and negotiates with determination. There’s only one way for her to get to this stage of her life and that’s by harnessing her total image. 

Creating a great total image encompasses 5 areas that if harnessed will lead to happiness and fulfillment in what you do. Let’s take a look at these five areas.

1. Hidden Image

The first and probably one of the most important areas to look at is your hidden image. 

This is the invisible you, it’s your values, motivations, beliefs, ethics and culture. Your values are made up of everything that has happened to you in your life and include influences from your parents and family, your religious affiliation, your friends and peers, your education, you’re reading, and more. The more you act by your values, the more harmonious you feel and the greater the success you will have. 

Why identify and establish your values?

Once defined, values impact every aspect of your life. You demonstrate and model your values through actions in your personal and work behaviors, decision making, contribution, and interpersonal interaction. You use your values to make decisions about priorities in your daily work and home life. 

If you want to be happy and successful (which I suspect everyone does) you need to find alignment between your values, your image and your business. If you do I guarantee you will be one of the most fulfilled, happiest and successful people I know. 

Take action: Write down your top 10 values. Then ask yourself, is there alignment between my values, my business and my image

2. Assumed Image

This is your “reputation” – real or stereotyped. This you want to guard with your life. There will be external stakeholders who have only heard of you so are not aware of your work ethics / values. There will be other people such as colleagues, peers, suppliers etc. who have worked directly with you and who know what you are about.  It’s important to know what people in your business or the company you work for say and think of you. 

Take action: Perhaps conduct 360° feedback within your business to anonymously ascertain what employees think about you. If you work for a company look to your mentor for honest and open feedback. It’s better to know what others think of you so you can take action if you need to.

3. Visual Image

Do you visually represent your business in the best possible way? 

The world we live and do business in is highly visual today. You can tell a lot about someone by the way they dress and the attention they pay to their grooming levels. Of course you must be able to back it up with the knowledge and skill required for your position.  It really pays dividends to invest in your professional wardrobe. Knowing you look good goes a long way in helping you feel good and leading others to treat you with respect. What people see they believe. Thus, if ever there is a discrepancy between what you are saying and what others are seeing, know that they will believe the evidence of their eyes. 

Take action: List 2-3 key words to describe what you would like others to see about you? Now look at your professional wardrobe and see if those garments reflect how you want to be perceived.

At this stage let’s put the concept to the test. If I said the name Tiger woods,what do you think about his Image”? Yes he looks the part but more recently his reputation has been damaged so his overall image is now tarnished. He took some time to build and craft his image as a pro golfer and it only took one incident to completely lose it.

4. Experienced Image

“Experienced” image is where you’ve been able to harness all your people and communication skills, etiquette and social skills to produce meaningful and lasting relationships. Keep verbal and non-verbal messages consistent to ensure you are viewed as credible and trustworthy

Take action: It’s never too late to invest your professional development. Research courses or image consultants who can help you refine your communication, etiquette and social skills. 

5. Your Proven Image

This area governs your ultimate level of success. This is where you’ve lived up to people’s expectations and delivered time and time again.

Take action: Always clarify what people’s expectations are so you can meet or exceed their expectations. You will be remembered for all the right reasons.

Ultimate success, happiness and fulfillment comes when all 5 areas are working together to project a great total image. As women we can be empowered to achieve incredible success and we have a great deal to celebrate. As long as you define what makes you happy and stay true to yourself then you will achieve long lasting success.