By guest blogger Mohamad Ariff Azahari
Principal Consultant, Positive Impressions/
Certified Professional Image Consultant
Your future is in your hands.
While that may sound slightly dramatic, it’s clear you play a major role in how your future plays out. While out factors need to be factored in, the decisions and choices you make are largely responsible for your successes and failures.
What defines success for one person is different for another. When asked, most people would agree that they would like to be successful, but most give the process little serious thought or planning. Success rarely comes easily or by accident, in most cases it involves consistent personal development; lessons learned from painful mistakes, clear personal goals, careful planning, self-promotion, continuing education and consistency of effort.
While buying a great suit, getting your hair styled and wearing the right colours can help you make a great first impression, that alone will not guarantee your long-term success.
For long term success in your career you need to also consider managing your total image. What does total image mean? It broadly comprises your inner thoughts, outer presentation, behaviour, communication skills and reputation. These are the vital areas of ‘image’ from which we are all judged. It is not enough to excel in only one area; those that do rarely reach their full potential.
To achieve promotion to supervisory roles and senior management positions, you should check out how you can improve in each of the five areas that form “Total Image.”
1. Your Hidden Image
This lies central to who you are. It is your sense of ‘self’ and your thoughts that decide your: values/beliefs, ethics, integrity, passion/purpose, attitude, personality, self-esteem and confidence. Your inner image is the foundation that your life is built on and helps determine your ultimate level of success. Anyone can be groomed to walk into a room and make a smashing impression, but it is the substance behind the performance that will ultimately sustain the impression. Dysfunction in this area can destroy efforts in all other areas.
2. Your Assumed/Believed Image
This is your reputation. In many cases your reputation precedes you, either smoothing or impeding your way with preconceived ideas and prejudices. Your reputation must be carefully managed. You must know what others say and think of you. Self-positioning is a valuable skill in image management.
3. Your Seen Image
As the saying goes, ‘seeing is believing’, therefore this level is most powerful when meeting someone for the first time. Research has shown that visual presentation accounts for more than half of the impression we make on others. When you dress and act in a manner expected of a successful person, in most cases it will be assumed that you possess the talent, personality and characteristics that accompany that image.
4. Your Experienced Image
We all know that your behaviour and communication skills are absolutely critical in your success. Being able to quickly gain rapport with people through effective verbal and non-verbal communication and courteous behaviour will produce lasting relationships and professional endeavours that run more smoothly and gain quicker results.
5. Your Proven Image
Social and business success also hinges on what image you have built for yourself. It is the combination and results of your talents, successes and failures as proven over time. Did you perform as promised; did you live up to expectations? Your communication and people skills, long-term performance, decision making record and your experience all combine to determine your ultimate destination.
In conclusion, everyone can dress well. But that will not by itself make them successful. Ultimate success depends on mastering all five areas of Total Image.