Professional image, it is hard to define. It is hard to think about. But, I think it is important to have a professional image. Many of us, have learned overtime to develop a professional image – but haven’t really been taught what it is. Here is a simplified way to think about a professional image. First step: who do you think of when you think of someone having a professional image? Go spend 5 minutes and write down who comes to mind. Is it a former boss? A current boss? A world leader? Do you have someone in mind? Think about how they come across visually. What are they wearing? What is their body language?
Great. Next step: what are the qualities of this person that you admire? Do they have determination? Tenacity? A sense of humor? Are they caring? Compassionate? Are they fair in their decisions? Do they treat others with respect? Think about the attributes of the person that you have in mind. I have several professional icons in my head. I think about my mother, my father, and my current boss – they all have something beyond what they are wearing. They speak with kind words, even in difficult situations. They don’t yell when coaching; they approach it with a level of professional compassion. They are clear, concise, and direct. I have never had to guess where I stood with my parents. I always knew if they were disappointed or happy with me – not because they yelled at me – but because their message was clear and their language was always appropriate.
My oldest daughter is smart, and sensitive; but more than that she is very receptive to words and their tone. She reminds me of something every day: we should always use good words or positive words to each other. She is right. Even when someone doesn’t use good words to you.
I think professional image, involves many layers. It is not just what a person is wearing, it is what they are saying and how they are treating you. I hope that you can find your own professional image, and become an “icon” for someone else.
Maya Angelou was gifted beyond measure. One of her quotes reminds me of professional image. The ability to help people, do good, and with some style. Here is her way of saying just that: “My mission in life is not to merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Perfection. (06/24/2016)