• Are You Maintaining Your Standard?

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    Many people attribute their success to their ability and willingness to hear and listen to the cues around them. If someone says something in passing, makes a suggestion or comment, they allow it to register and then assess if what they heard is something they may need to take action on immediately or in the near future. The bottom line is these successful individuals are disciplined about how they process information and disciplined about the action they take. They don’t allow themselves to ignore the cues.


    It’s not unusual for a new acquaintance or workshop participant to share an experience that goes something like this… “oh, I know I need to do something about updating my image” or “I recently attended a meeting and on that particular day I was in the mood to style my hair differently, wear a little more make-up than usual and step up my outfit a couple of notches. I was amazed by the number of compliments I received. My boss even suggested that I dress like this more often.” No question, this is a cue.  While I hear frequently hear these kinds of stories, I still can’t figure out what it will take for the recipients of these compliments to take action.  To their detriment, they’re resisting a positive change.


    It isn’t until one of these individuals has been passed over for a promotion, is frustrated that they’re not progressing in love or life that they admit to needing help. For most, the change doesn’t need to be extreme or cost a lot. A well-maintained update will go a long way. 


    One client, an account manager for a Fortune 500 company, contacted me three weeks before she was going to be recognized at a national sales meeting. While she’d been passed over for promotions before, she still had her sights set on “climbing the corporate ladder.” This client knew that this was her opportunity to shine in front of the top-level executives. She needed to project an image that reflected the exceptional quality of her skills, talent, and the corporation’s brand. She didn’t want to leave any doubt in the minds of her superiors that she was serious about her career path within the organization.


    Technically, she had all the right clothes. Through the process, we discovered that her wardrobe’s details didn’t flatter her body or project a polished professional presence. I created a wardrobe for the four-day meeting that would project a consistent message of professionalism for both the business and social activities. This client’s new look gave her confidence the boost she needed to actively pursue career advancement. It wasn’t long before the senior management started to comment on her “executive presence” and she got the promotion she was seeking.


    We set standards for ourselves and the quality of work we produce.

    When you interviewed for your current position, you projected a standard by which the decision makers offered you the job. Professionals at the top of their game set their standard and vow not to allow themselves to fall below it. Standards set the bar for those around us and those who work for us too.


    What does your appearance say about you? Does it convey that you pursue greatness or simply mediocrity? Have you maintained your standard or have you given in to the “casual” nature of your environment? People admit to me that they’re lazy. Hopefully you haven’t fallen into that trap. If your appearance doesn’t meet the expectation of the person(s) you’re meeting with, the interaction can potentially begin with a negative undercurrent and will require more work to turn it around.


    Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great” talks about focusing on the things that have the greatest impact. Your image has the potential to make a great visual impact on those you interact with.


    Successful people continually refine the path to their greatness. They strive for continuity of their standard throughout all aspects of their life, including a standard for the effort they put into how they present themselves.


    What’s your standard? 

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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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