'Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself.'
Think of your image as your currency. Your image is like an intangible currency that you earn over a period of time. How you conduct yourself directly or indirectly has a credit or debit effect on your ‘image bank account'. Do not underestimate the importance of perception. Everything you say, everything you do, how you walk, whether you walk the talk - all go a long way in building a perception in people's mind about you. Also be aware of your surrounding and the company you keep. This comes as no surprise but you are judged by the company you keep.
At the core of building a good image, don't forget to be yourself yet be conscious of yourself – what you say and what your body language is in the presence of others counts for a lot. The keyword here is authenticity. Be who you are in whatever you do. Moreover, don't fall into the trap of assuming you have a certain image. Sometimes, there can be a dissonance between how you perceive your image and how others perceive you to be. Be wary of this. People are always watching, judging and perceiving whether you are in a formal environment or in a social set up. In today's world more than ever with social networks having emerged as indispensable means to communicate, how you project yourself online becomes very important considering people can judge you more easily. What you say online stays there forever. Your image in the minds of others is fluid, ever so susceptible to a reassessment. So see yourself as others would see you.
A positive image reflects a sense of integrity, trust and credibility. These are valuable assets for you - assets you never know when you'll need to fall back on. You can leverage your image in business or in life. So how can you help build a positive image for yourself? Make an effort to have a positive outlook in life. Allow your inner self esteem and confidence to reflect through your personality. This is significant in guiding you as you navigate through each day, day after day. Walk the talk. Live true to your words. Learn and grow. Be open to feedback, and work on it. Observe icons that inspire you. Study their mannerisms. Be a good listener. Dress for success. Respect punctuality. Help people. Keep your promises. Build relationships before you need them. Be engaged and involved in the community. Aim to inspire others.
A robust personal image has the ability to impact several aspects of your life positively – your success (financial or otherwise), your relationships and even your health. It takes the investment of time, effort and energy to build an image, but it's so fragile a currency, it can crash in a matter of seconds. Your image precedes you. It is your identity. Respect it and guard it. You leave behind only your legacy, so make sure it's rock solid.