The Elevated Image: It’s Time Your Image Matched Your Next Level Aspirations
A few years ago, the Certified Financial Planner Boards and Standards released an incredibly impactful commercial that is still in rotation today. The commercial highlights the transformation of turning a grungy, long-haired DJ into a skilled and trust-worthy financial expert simply by cutting his hair, outfitting him in a professional suit and teaching him in the latest financial mumbo jumbo.
Not only did it work (people were about to entrust him with their money), it also provided a hilarious confirmation of the “power of perception.”
Image. Matters. And yours is no exception.
The halls of Corporate America are lined with talented, educated and skilled professional women who are blind to the fact that their professional growth has been/ or will be stunted because they haven’t learned how to effectively curate their image.
Too many women dismiss “executive presence,” as a soft-skill that is irrelevant or a “waste of time,” for those with the right amount of talent or education. But they couldn’t be more wrong. As the owner of Brand id | Strategic Partners, a full-service Personal Branding + Elevationä agency, I have helped shape the image of countless professional, executive, and entrepreneurial women, during the past nine years. Throughout that time, I have been shocked to discover how many women have never considered “how they show up.”
Unfortunately, they paid their price.
Do you have any idea how many women have been overlooked for an opportunity simply because the “powers that be,” couldn’t “see them in that role?”
How many women have been held back from the next level because they didn’t exude confidence?
How many women were never “put in a position of leadership,” because they didn’t look like the rest of the leaders? Or, any leader for that matter?
Trust me, a lot.
It’s your responsibility to control the controllable—and your personal brand image happens to be, controllable.
If we were to assess your current situation, how would you answer:
Does your current image, or brand persona exude where you are now, or where you are headed?
If someone were to “look you up,” before meeting you, does your digital profile convey or communicate that you are a professional or amateur?
How much time, attention and intention do you/have you put into building and maintain your personal brand?
Don’t worry if there is room for improvement, you aren’t alone. However, with just a few small tweaks, you can start the process of taking control of your image and making sure you show up in life as Undeniably Fierce as you do on paper:
1. Decide How You Want to be Perceived: First things first. Get clear on what image you would like to convey? What three words communicate the “vibe” you want to project? Now consider if those three words align with your current persona? For example: Maybe you want to portray strength, confidence and trustworthy. Make sure that your day-to-day actions align with someone who embodies those attributes? Then, make sure your image does as well. If those are your three words, when you walk into the room people should sense immediately, you are a “force.”
2. Hire a Professional Photographer: There is no reason that you should ever call yourself a professional, but have an amateur headshot. None. It doesn’t matter if you went to one of the best colleges in the world, or didn’t go to college at all, the moment you decide to become a professional, you need to act like one. Having your significant other take a headshot of you after church in your Sunday best doesn’t count. Neither does waiting until you climb the corporate ladder so that you reach a position high enough that your company pays to have your headshots done. It’s your image. Take control of it.
3. Curate Strategically: Whether you like it or not, we live in a digital age. I hope you have learned by now what happens to those that don’t learn to adapt. If not, simply go to Google and type in “what happened to Blockbuster?” Successful organizations understand that to survive and thrive they must be agile, creative and strategic. Successful women are no different. Make sure that everything that “represents you,” is in alignment with the image you are trying to convey.
I tell my clients often, “if you don’t define you, others will do it for you and you just might not like what they come up with.”
Note: The beautiful photograph above is Gayle Lomax, a former client and association executive. Like all my clients, she was photographed by the powerhouse personal branding photographer, Mary Gardella: http://www.marygardella.com
Jennifer Ransaw Smith is a nationally recognized Personal Elevation™ Architect, Leadership Development Mentor and Personal Brand Strategist. She specializes in igniting the visibility, credibility, and profitability of professional women. If you are interested in joining her tribe of “Undeniably Fierce,” women from across the globe or learning how to Boost Your Status, sign up for her FREE Master Class at www.personalelevation.com