How do you see the world, and how does the world see you?
Whether you like it or not, how others perceive you means that you don’t own your brand. Is reality perception or perception reality? Whenever there is a question of who you are, and in the absence of your understanding and input, you allow others to define you based on their own views and preconceived ideas. (Page 19, The Future Of You)
As demonstrated by the above quote from my book The Future of You, aligning reality with how others see you (and how you see yourself), is critical to your success in business and in life.
An old proverb states that your perception is defined by three mirrors; the first mirror is how you see yourself, the second mirror is how others perceive you and, the third mirror is the truth.
Getting to that truth requires your active involvement so that you can identify and bridge any gaps between how you see yourself and how others see you.
In today’s post I will share with you with the three essential tips to align perception with reality, which will set you on a course for greater success.
Tip #1 – Make Sure Your Perception IS Reality
“Our belief does not change reality or truth. You may sincerely believe something to be true, but you may be sincerely wrong.” (Page 8, The Future Of You)
You know you are doing a great job!
You have no doubt that you are at the front of the line in terms of getting that promotion, or a mere a rubber stamp away from getting a well deserved raise.
Over my 20 plus years as an executive coach, I have counseled many people on the other side of their disappointment at not getting an anticipated promotion or worse, unexpectedly losing their job when they believed that they were on top of their game.
Besides wishing that I had been able to work with them beforehand, the one thing that I would want everyone would realize, is that their view of the world and themselves is not often shared by others. At least not without a conscious effort.
Here is what you need to do to avoid a disconnect between how you see yourself and how others see you;
- Conduct market research. Select approximately ten people (HR, senior executives, colleagues, direct reports and/or customers) to offer you advice on specific areas you could improve upon. Make them comfortable by asking what others might think rather than asking their own personal opinion.
- If you receive negative feedback, do not be defensive or attempt to justify your position. Remember, this is how people see you. There is no right or wrong, nor are there good guys or bad guys. Take in the information gracefully, and learn from it.
- Know how and why your actions affect others and how this impacts their perception of your value.
Tip #2 – Make Sure You See Your True Reflection
“If your brand value truly reflects your personal values that align with who you really are, you will have created a magical harmony from within.” (Page 8, The Future of You)
What you see in the mirror is ultimately a reflection of how you see yourself and your value to the world.
Take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see . . . what do you really see?
I have always found it interesting that some of the people we consider to be successful and confident are, in reality, insecure and uncertain.
This internal disconnect is more difficult to align because it is based on what YOU believe about YOU! Like the old saying about being your own worst critic, this can undermine your efforts.
Here are a few suggestions as to what you can do to see the “true” you when you look in your personal mirror;
- You know the saying about treating others the way you would like them to treat you? Well the same principle applies when we look inward. In other words, treat yourself as you would treat others. Show the same generosity of a gentle and forgiving spirit towards yourself, as you would towards someone else. Or to put it another way, and while it may sound trite, always be kind to yourself.
- Know your values and stick to them. It is in our compromises that we lose our true sense of self-worth.
- Don’t carry the baggage of other people’s misconception of who you are and what you can do.
- “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” You cannot dwell on what has happened in the past, only upon what you can do in the here and now.
Tip #3 – Remember the Emerson Rule
“One of the most important ways to manage the perception of your brand is by being consistent.” (Page 48, The Future Of You)
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” After talking about how you are perceived by others and yourself, there is no small irony in the fact that it is your actions that people will remember most.
So how do you walk the talk of aligned perceptions?
Here are a few essential tips;
- Be clear on people’s expectations and then meet or exceed them.
- Misconception is born out of a lack of understanding, and misperception a lack of communication. Say what is on your mind in a productive manner that leads to greater collaboration.
- Don’t say one thing, and then do another. Nothing will undermine the perception others have of you more than inconsistency.
Always Be Value Driven
“All the success you achieve will mean very little if your beliefs and values are not aligned with your actions, and in turn the enduring perceptions that others have of you.” (Page 13, The Future Of You)
To be valued as a person, you must be a person of values and value.
In the end, when our values are aligned with our actions, we have a clear path to a fulfilling career and life that will not only benefit ourselves, but others as well.