• 5 Self-Check Questions to Determine if You Should Consider an Image Update

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    Many of us don’t have our frequencies tuned to pick up on the subtle hints that are out there telling us we should consider tweaking our visual appearance.  There are hints out there but it’s a matter of taking note of them and then figuring out how to respond.  And while it doesn’t feel good to admit to ourselves that we need to execute change if we want to accomplish something specific, subtle hints in this self-check process are better than hearing this information in an annual performance review.  Some of these hints come from within, and while we are often our own greatest critics, we also know ourselves the best and we have to be ready to accept that kind of change.

    Perform the self-check below and if you answer yes to any of the questions, think about what you might need to update yourself to reflect the image and personal brand that will help you to flourish both personally and professionally. 

    1.  Do you hear comments suggesting you look tired?  Take note if you’ve heard this and pay attention to who is saying it.  It is time to stop and take a look in the mirror at yourself.  Look at your hair—are the roots showing through or are you experiencing some graying?  Updating your hairstyle, makeup application or overall facial grooming will give you a more youthful look?  This just shows how the grooming aspect of your visual appearance can provide feedback on some required changes. Some people prefer to use the term “tired” as a polite way of telling another person that they are not presenting them self at their best. IStock_000008528101XSmallman with 4 pics

    2.  Do your clothes look and feel a little tighter and less comfortable?  While we never want to admit we may have gained a few pounds, unwanted weight gain is something most everyone experiences.  Be honest with yourself, and if you have happened to put on some weight, think about introducing a few new pieces or adjusting your wardrobe so you continue to look neat, and professional. Feeling comfortable in what you wear will give you self-confidence.  Not fitting in clothing is a common challenge during stressful times and especially for new parents who are adjusting to their new lifestyle. Wearing clothes that pull or are uncomfortable don’t allow you to think and breathe self-assuredly.  Consider getting some help to find ways to wear clothes that flatter your current size so you may wear them with poise.  Gaining (or loosing) seven to ten pounds will take you up or down a size in clothing.

    3.  Are you frequently passed over in representing your company at client meetings, conferences, trade shows and such?  If this happens on a continuing basis and you’re offered what seems like excuses, conduct a self check to see if you consistently represent your company’s brand attributes.  Who is it that does succeed in getting these opportunities and how does your image compare?  Write out a list of words that come to mind to describe your company or review the company’s mission statement.  Take a picture of yourself and write out a list of words you would use to describe yourself.  How do you measure up?

    4.  Do you dread figuring out what to wear to work every day and absolutely shutter at the thought of a special event?  It’s common to experience this several times during your career. When this happens, it’s usually because you’ve experienced a change in your life, and shortly thereafter, you’ve outgrow your old image.  This might be due to personal development, a marriage, divorce, or a move.  Our clothes then look frumpy and they make us feel frumpy because they no longer fit our lifestyle.  In order to move on and make yourself happy and confident again, you need to update your external image to reflect the new you on the inside. 

    5.  Do people notice you or do you blend into the background?  When you’re at a large meeting or a conference, do people identify you as someone they want to meet?  If you’re not being noticed, it may be that your image doesn’t allow you to stand out enough for others take note.  Are you hiding behind the clothes you don’t like because they don’t help you to feel confident?  Use your image to convey the value you offer and build your personal brand to differentiate yourself from the crowd in a positive way. 

     There’s no question that wanting to take on a self-improvement project takes time, effort and commitment, but what better project can you think of, and who is more deserving than you?  You invest time and money in education, professional organizations and events, but developing an image that’s authentic and one you’re comfortable with helps create confidence and happiness within yourself and that’s what will help you flourish and drive your personal brand.  If you’re apprehensive about taking yourself on as a project, think about what you’ve accomplished in the past with a little personal help.  Building a personal brand and an image to match is a cost-effective mode of professional development. You can always find plenty of do-it-yourself tips here and if you’d like some professional help, drop me a note.


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    Diana Jennings
    Diana Jennings is the founder of Brand You Image – a personal branding and image management company based in Southern California. A specialist in non-verbal communication, she brings a sophisticated understanding of people and a passion for growth to those working to reach their personal and professional goals. Typical engagements involve the development of high potential individuals and senior level management in personal brand discovery, image management, social and business behavior, and body language for better communication and interaction with others.

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