6 self improvement questions to answer yourself right now
At the stroke of midnight, between the old and the new year, you listed quickly in your mind your most important wishes you hope that will come true this year.
Whether is fairy tale love or an exponentially ascending career (or both) that your are searching for, you should know by now that it’s not the lucky charms or rituals practiced in the first seconds of the new year that will bring you results, but your continuous self improvement and determination, your honest desire to get better and a clear planning in order to get there.
My advice is, guess what? ... to improve your Image in order to achieve your goals.
Don't roll your eyes, it’s not only about personal styling: as you will find out below, Image is a much more complex concept, that spreads from healthy self acceptance and love to building a good reputation, therefore managing it smartly can give birth to a very efficient strategy in order to be successful in any field.
Hear me out and, in addition to the strategically placed grapes in your champagne glass last night, answer yourself these 6 questions:
INNER IMAGE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF?
There are three views of the self: the ideal self ("the person I want to be"), the actual self ("the person I am most of the time") and the "person I fear I could be". Our self-esteem is lowered when we experience a large difference between our perceived actual and ideal self (see Self Discrepancy Theory; Higgins, 1987). We feel frustration and disappointment if the person we see in the mirror (literally or figuratively) isn’t the person we are aspiring to be, and that reflects in our day to day life.
If the discrepancy is a strictly aesthetic one (and real, not imaginary), you should manage better your Visual Image (see below).
If it’s not aesthetic (or aesthetic, but imaginary), there are strategies for positively programming your subconscious mind in order to improve your real self towards your ideal one. By repeatedly involving your ideal self (the courageous, witty, genius etc. one) in your day to day decisions, by imagining what he/she would do in a given situation, you will gradually eliminate the discrepancies (it’s called autohypnosis and it works).
Anyway, how you feel about yourself is essential, as it influences the way you walk, talk, wear and act. Be true to yourself and learn how to love your every feature. If you cannot do it by yourself, there are life coaches and psychologists that can help you.
2. ASSUMED IMAGE. HOW DO YOU MAKE OTHERS FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF? DO YOU MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS?
People have unconscious expectation of what you should look like and how you should act, so learn how to give them what they want.
This is not about losing authenticity or manipulating, it’s about adapting. For example, respecting a dress or an etiquette code gives your interlocutors the message that you respect them, that’s it. And comes along with great advantages, because a person that feels respected, psychology says, will immediately open up.
Especially nowadays: we live in the era of easily assumed perceptions that, once satisfied, they smooth the road ahead.
3. VISUAL IMAGE. DOES YOUR APPEARANCE EXPRESS YOUR TRUE, BEST SELF? DOES IT MAKE YOU STAND OUT?
- You are what you wear. You don't believe me? See how your interlocutor's brain evaluates your appearance here, if you need some scientifically proved reasons.
You shouldn’t underestimate the way you look, including dress, grooming, facial expression and posture.
Wearing the right colors and the right shapes of clothes, that suit you and make you stand out, adopting an authentic and coherent style will bring you much closer to your ideal self.
- Power Pose. A positive posture will influence the opinion that others have of you and at the same time will enhance your self esteem (there is a bidirectional relationship between physical, physiological and mental state).
4. EXPERIENCED IMAGE. HOW GOOD ARE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS?
This is you in action - your people, communication and social skills, your body language and vocal sound - do you manage it at its best?
We live surrounded by different kinds of people and we have to admit that the way we interact with them influences our results.
You can improve your interactions by improving skills like: active listening, observing and adapting to your interlocutor’s pace or way of speaking or thinking (finding common grounds), positive body language etc.
Put yourself in the other people’s shoes, for a change. Accept that they might have a different point of view, based on their experiences, that are different from yours.
Sending a positive message that generally can be translated by your interlocutor’s subconscious as “I’m your friend, not your enemy” can make the difference.
5. PROVEN IMAGE. HOW STRONG IS YOUR REPUTATION?
This is you, experienced over a period of time; your reputation, that, at the end, has to be congruent and consistent.
It is one of your most important assets.
Keep the promises made, and don’t make them if you’re not sure you can. Act with integrity.
“Ethics” is not just a nice word, is what defines you on the long run.
Helping others is not just an obsolete or politically correct concept. Go beyond the concern for yourself and your advancement.
6. ONLINE IMAGE. HOW CLEAN AND COHERENT IS YOUR ONLINE IMAGE?
How you present yourself online, on your social media channels is also subject of the others’ evaluation (including the one of the recruiters). So be aware of how you come across online, also.
Think twice before posting, especially when this is making public your private matters.
Scrub your profiles and stay on top of ever-changing privacy settings.
Build a strong online reputation, as it matters more and more each day.
If you answering these questions with maximum honesty, you will be half way in achieving your objectives.
The rest will follow. A positive snowball effect that will make come true also your wishes whispered to your champagne glass last night.
I wish you good luck ! Or better: good answers and better yet decisions !
HAPPY NEW YEAR !