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Control Your Personal Image Message

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." --Rachel Zoe

Claiming your personal image is a hot topic for me. Now when I say “image,” I’m not just talking about the clothes you’re wearing. I’m talking about the entire self you present to the world - and while that does include clothing, it’s also about your verbal and non-verbal communications as well as your internal thoughts and reactions that manifest into your actions. It’s a full package and a lack of authenticity on any level is reeeeeaaallly easy to spot. And everyone has an image - the student, the executive, the trainee, the entrepreneur, the stay at home parent…if you’re a living, breathing human, you have an image.

I have learned to not focus on what other people think or to only do something for outside validation, but we as humans are very visual and experiential beings, and we make subconscious decisions about people almost immediately based our own biases and experiences. That immediate reaction from other people, we can’t control. We all do it. But the one thing we can control is the message and the energy we share with people and send out into the universe.

So how do you find a balance between not caring what people think and ensuring that they don’t misunderstand what you are saying about yourself? Because once you lose control of it, it’s difficult to regain.

So I’m going to break it down here, into 3 separate areas on personal image messaging:

The first, and what I consider probably the most important of these three steps, is to keep your focus on you and your efforts, and genuinely not concern yourself with the reactions of others. I know this sounds counter-intuitive but just stay with me on this because this is important and everything else relies on the understanding of this concept. This is a big part of my life and I apply to every situation. I’m not telling you to not care about others or have no compassion, because that’s destructive and arrogant, and that’s not what this thought process is about. In fact, it’s deeply rooted in caring for and respecting yourself and others.

What it starts with is an understanding and appreciation that you have 100%, full control over your actions and thoughts, and that you are doing yourself a disservice by deflecting or placing blame on anyone else for them - or conversely, giving them any credit. I do understand that this may not sit well with some of you who rely on guidance from, say, other sources, but I truly believe it makes you more powerful being, enabling you to do great things.

But even if you do already understand this, the part that a lot people miss or just don’t see, is that although you do wield power over yourself, the opposite is true about the power of others. What you need to accept is that their thoughts and actions are not only completely out of your control, but they’re also not your responsibility. Let me say that again - the actions, reactions and behaviors of others are not your responsibility. Unless of course, your kid breaks a window and you need to pay for it because you’re the adult, but the ultimate responsibility still lies with the kid because you know you’re going to make them pay you back somehow (right?).

And if you have something in your heart that you need someone to hear or see, you should only concern yourself with ensuring that the information you share is delivered from a place of love, authenticity and compassion, rather than how the other person will react. That’s how we miss out on magical opportunities and taking the necessary risks needed to find fulfillment or some type of success.

The second is, now that you are armed with the knowledge and power that you don’t control and aren’t responsible for the reactions of others (which I personally find very freeing), when it comes to your personal image, don’t give anyone any reason to question who you are and what you stand for. In other words, don’t give away your power. I know you’ve worked extremely hard to either get what you have or what you want, and you need to display it. Claim it and wear it proudly.

And when I say “wear it proudly,” I’m not just talking about your clothes, wearing designer labels, and the latest fashions, spending a lot of money, live outside of your financial means or try to impress someone for the sake of gaining approval.