“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
This is a famous quote by Maya Angelou and one of my favourite quotes. In addition to applying to an individual’s actions, this quote can be applicable to how someone puts themselves on display through their appearance and image. Are you aware of how your image choices are actually determining how you are perceived by nearly everyone?
Here are 4 steps you can use to ensure the image you are displaying is aligned with how you want to be received and therefore believed.
1. Ask yourself – If I was someone else looking at my appearance, what would I think as a first impression?
Daily, for one week, write out 3-5 characteristics that honestly capture the overall look you are projecting each day by asking yourself the above question with each outfit change. Really be honest with yourself. Make sure you factor in your complete appearance from head to toe.
Some examples you may think of may be:
Beside each noted characteristic, write down where you were going (e.g. work, interview, date night, out with friends etc.). If you have someone close to you who sees you daily, you may wish to ask her/him if she/he would provide you with words for your list as well.
2. Review and reflect on your responses to Step #1
Review the words you captured in Step #1 above and ask yourself if you were happy with the image your words captured in relation to where you were going/your audience. Put a star beside the words you are happy with and circle the words you are not so happy with.
Some examples you may be happy with and put a star beside might include: refined and professional for work and fun if going out with friends. An example of a word you may not be happy with and circle is: old fashioned for work or an interview (translates into resistant to change, outdated thinking). A sexy image may be okay for a date night, but doesn’t work if going to work in a conservative corporate environment.
3. Determine if there are appearance choices that you want to or should tweak
Review the words you have starred and circled on your list now and reflect. If you have mostly stars on your list (i.e. You were happy with your image for each place you were going/your audience) then congratulations! If you have been truly honest with yourself throughout this exercise, you are most likely giving off the image you want to project in each area of your life.
If there are mostly circles on your list and/or if there is a particular place you were going/an audience category that had a lot of circles (i.e. you were not happy with your image), then honestly ask yourself the following 2 questions:
a) What was the main element that skewed your image? – Was it your outfit, hair, makeup, and/or accessory choices?
b) What can you do to fix the issue? – Visit your hairstylist, have a makeup consult, revisit clothing choices, engage an image professional?
4. Change your appearance choices and keep at it
In the previous step you determined where your appearance choices needed some fixing. Now it is time to implement change. Although you may, sometimes, want to go back to what you are used to, instead, keep at it. Don’t give up! Soon your appearance change will become habit and you will be happier and attract greater opportunities, respect, potentially romance, advancement, and the life that you truly want if you are not quite there yet.
There’s no time like the present to review your image and ensure you are giving off your best energy. Display your authentic image and you will be believed 😉
I hope this article inspires you to wear your authenticity!
Image Consultant and Hairstylist