Friday, July 11, 2014

It's All In The Presentation

Most people know that my youngest son is a priest.  By all accounts he is well liked and respected.  I have heard compliments about him from some of his parishioners, fellow priests, and even the Archbishop sings his praises.  My wife and I were discussing this with him recently and he responded, “Well, Mom, it’s all in how you present yourself”.  I couldn’t agree more.  I was once told that 80% of success is “showing up”.  I would generally agree with that but I would also say that a very important element of success in life, not just in the workplace, but everywhere, is how you present yourself to others.  I am not talking about kissing up to people and pretending to be something you are not.  When you “show up” for life, be an authentic person.  Everyone should think about how they appear to others.  Perception is not always true reality but perception is reality to most people.  As all of us walk through life we are judged by others and opinions are formed about our character and integrity.  Misconceptions can have a very negative impact on how we are seen by those around us.  Many misconceptions are based on how we carry ourselves and how we present ourselves to others.  If you act like a fool, you will be perceived as a fool.  I am generally perceived as a very nice person.  Some people, however, perceive my kindness as weakness.  That would be a mistake.  Another person having a bad day can be perceived as grumpy although they might be very loving and kind most of the time.  We all have a bad day once in a while.  Leaders who seem to ignore people’s feelings can be perceived as uncaring but maybe they are just “under the gun” that day.  People who create a lot of drama and who have constant needs they expect to be met are often perceived as “heavy maintenance”.  Constant whining, complaining, and “neediness” are exhausting to even the most patience leader.  Misconceptions can go both ways.  Sometimes people present a positive image that is false and insincere.  Such a person is inauthentic and phony.  If you want to be accepted, liked, and admired by others, present yourself as a reasonable, intelligent, cooperative, and mature person who is also sincere and authentic.  Be someone that others want to be with.  Don’t be the type of person that makes others want to run for cover when they see you coming.  Life is difficult enough without other people wearing you out or filling your life with negative energy.  Every time I write thoughts like this, someone will write to me and say “Michael, you can’t be nice all the time.  Sometimes a person needs to be aggressive and assertive to deal with injustice or some other harsh reality of life”.  I agree.  Nothing fires me up more than unfairness or people being treated badly.  However, these thoughts today are more about the image and brand that we create for ourselves by the way we act.  If I had to choose between a cooperative, team player type of person, with a pleasant personality,  or a know it all, pain in the butt, guess which one I would choose?  Whether we realize it or not, whether we like it or not, we are all selling ourselves to the rest of the world.   Present the best version of who you are or you may be left on the shelf to gather dust.    

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