Human beings are judgmental animals, that’s just the way we’re wired. The first interaction we have with someone is based on their personal image.

We are social creatures with a natural tendency to make quick and easy judgements about other’s behaviours. e. We make judgments about people’s personalities, their temperaments, level of sophistication, their social standings, everything.

Even in an egalitarian society, people will judge you, it’s the way it is.

“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge”

Carl Jung

But how do we make these judgements?

Well, it all starts with our Personal Image.

It plays a part in all aspects of your life. If you ever hear anybody that says it doesn’t, they’re either ignorant, or they are conning you, because image matters. The most powerful people on the planet, from wealthy billionaires to powerful politicians to influential NGOs would not be putting effort into this area, if it didn’t work.

What is Personal Image?

There are many different definitions of Personal Image, but let’s keep it simple.

Personal Image is what you project consciously and unconsciously, it’s how people perceive you at first impressions. That includes your appearance, the way you communicate, behave and your body language.

it’s an idea formed in someone else’s mind. It doesn’t matter if that idea is true, it’s a perception.

People assume that their personal image might beneficial to their brand or company, however that isn’t always the case. Your image could be the reason for your brand’s decline and you might not even know.

People often fail to ask the important questions:

Is my personal image working for me? Or working against me?

Now, if you find that your image isn’t really working out for you, then you have some choices to make, if you’re up for it.

We live in a world where first impressions are virtually everything And it’s just the way human beings are. We are visual beings, we quickly make a lot of decisions. People already have a solid impression of who you are within the first five seconds of meeting. Even research argues that people start determining traits like trustworthiness within a tenth of a second.

Every entrepreneur knows how important first impressions are and so should you! There’s no need to mess it up in the first place.

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

First Impressions

People will always have a first impression of us, and we will also have a first impression of them.

First impressions count, it’s why you should manage every moment of your first meeting. You might not get a second chance to make a winning first impression, because it all happens in the first seconds.

Why give an opportunity to chance when you can really make a difference.

In a historically well-known study by Albert Mehrabian about personal communication, AKA the 7-38-55% rule, a speakers words is only 7% of the efforts conveyed during spoken communication. Whereas, 38% of our feelings towards and individual is due their voice and tone. The other 55% of our attitudes is due to body language and the way we carried ourselves. So, by now you should understand just how important our personal image is.

When it comes to your personal image, it’s all about standards. What are your standards to be seen as “world class”, in all aspects of your life? That’s a question you have to ask and the choice you have to make, that’s the motivation. That’s the inspiration and mission behind your personal image transformation.

How Do You Evaluate Your Personal Image? 

You can do this in different ways.

The first way is by asking somebody that you trust and respect, but also has a clear understanding of personal image. There’s no point in asking a friend that no understanding of personal image and reputation, because some of the feedback is going to be a little wishy-washy.

The best way is by seeking advice from a professional. This is essential if you think this transformation could make a difference, especially when it comes to a business career and personal image. Successful, powerful people our the planet, use professional services because, from a professional point of view, you’re going to get objective feedback.

This type of feedback has has nothing to do with ego or with personal dynamics, and has everything to do with getting the job done.

We’re all in constant revolution, it’s highly likely you will want to change something about yourself.

But you must warned. You need courage if you want to closely look at yourself and change. It can be challenging, depending on what’s going on. But, it doesn’t have to be challenging it can be a lot of fun.

The Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Change Curve

The highly acclaimed ‘The Change Curve’ theory, developed by psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, explains the behavioural stages individuals experience when faced with change.

While the model was initially developed in relation to grief, it has similarities to an individual’s reaction when evolving their personal image.

For some people change can be quite daunting. It can be like death. Many people go through that ‘flight of fight’ experience when faced with any sort of disruption.

We can use The Change Curve theory and learn how to overcome these stages easily to really focus on your personal image transformation and not get caught up in one of the steps.

The theory involves seven stages

Shock & Denial

Human beings, by nature, don’t like difference especially dramatic changes to their environment. So, when a manager or supervisor says “your personal image is not up to standard”, our initial reaction is shock.

This reaction is often due to lack of information, fear of the unknown or fear of doing something wrong. It doesn’t matter how polite or nice that feedback comes across, the reality is, people go into shock because it’s confronting for them.

So how do we overcome that? Well, the only way is to accept it.

If you truly want to bring out the best version of yourself to the world than the best plan is to accept change and simply move on.

After that initial shock has passed, denial comes. Individuals tend to remain in the past and believe there’s no need for a change.

What matters most through these stages, is if this information is communicated by supportive individuals who also have some level of authority. Feedback coming from a place of empathy can allow you to react better to a situation otherwise, you’ll be stuck burying your head in the sand. The quicker you get out, the better for you. Living in denial is not actually a positive.

Frustration & Depression

Then comes feelings of frustration and anger, you feel stuck. Think of this stage like your body, this “stuckness” makes you feel like your not moving, eventually your body becomes lethargic

The lowest stage is depression, this involves a low mood, lack in energy, isolation, and a tendency to fixate on smaller issues.

That depression could come from mental health, bodyweight, even relationship problems, it can be a whole stack of things. The pressure is going to show up somewhere. Depression is more likely to come through if you’re not being authentic to yourself.

Authenticity is the key here, it’s important you remain true to yourself because an opportunity can come knocking on your shoulder!

Experimentation & Decisions

You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired so you’re going to give this a shot!

Go out there and experiment. Maybe you want to try a new haircut, or buy that new suit or beautiful dress that can empower you. Go out and try anything and everything that’s going to give you the power and that makes you feel good!

Everything that happens internally, will show through externally. Working on the inside while being congruent on the outside is what’s going to count.

Decisions will come from the new perspective now, so what do you do?

You might do a complete makeover, you might reinvent yourself. There’s no better time right now, if we learnt anything from the COVID-19 experience is that things will never be the same again.

If you want to bring out the best version of yourself, then it’s an opportunity to make a decision and go for it. Life’s too short to live in a life of frustration, anger and depression. 

Integration

The main focus is on the future. Individuals feel a real sense of hope and progress in personal image transformation. Whether it’s from a personal perspective surrounding partners, relationships and your career. Or from a business point of view, such as building your reputation, corporate brand, personal brand in the marketplace.

Regardless of the stage you’re in right now, the important thing is that you are looking at your personal image from a new perspective. Personal image is power. That means eventually you will complete your image evolution.

Jon Michail, Image Consultant | Personal Branding Coach | Business and Personal Branding Strategist | Author | Group CEO and Founder, Image Group International |

Image Group International are Entrepreneurial Activists. Rebels With a Cause!

Jon Michail, Founder and award-winning Chief Imagemaker together with his team at Image Group International help executives and entrepreneurs to build, grow, and monetise their personal brands (online and offline). They help their clients by positioning them to stand out so they attract their ideal clients. 

They are committed to maximising an individual’s personal impact, influence, and value in the ever-changing and disruptive business environment.

Image Group International is recognised as Australasia’s leading personal brand image advisory, with over 29 years of proven results.

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