Is it the same as what others think you are?
If there is a difference between the two, which perception is right?
In an earlier blog post, I think I said something like there’s two of me. One who is afraid and wants to hide, and the other part that is capable and excited and shiny. When I wrote that blog post, xenophobic Jen was often in the driver’s seat. A dear friend told me that both of those Jens are authentic, but one of those Jens is stronger, and ultimately more likable. He said that I had a choice to go with strength, if I wanted to, and it really stuck with me. I had never really looked at it as being up to me. It was empowering. Though I sometimes have quiet days, I feel like I’m making the strong choice more often. And these choices are bearing fruit for me.
I’ve been thinking about perception. As I get older, I feel the world’s opinion of me is less important. I don’t stress as much about my size, my hair, my income, my spirituality, being “good enough.” Well, I say it isn’t as important anymore. That’s not really true. Opinions still matter, but they don’t trigger me to feel inadequate as often as they once could.
Because I know it is all good.
Ok, so it isn’t all good. But it is mostly good. It’s mostly amazing! Have you ever asked anyone you love about their perception of you? I think you would be moved to hear about the amazing things you provide to the humans in your midst, and how appreciated you are. They’ll tell you if you ask.
Then ask someone who only knows you peripherally. Again, you’ll be surprised at how they see you.
Then ask someone who you think doesn’t like you very much.
You’re going to get good stuff. Some of that is just because people tend to keep their negative thoughts about others under wraps. There are a few who will spout off on something negative, but generally speaking, if they have something nasty to say about you, it will be behind your back, not to your face.
But it is more than avoidance of looking bad by being a Negative Nelly. People are mirrors. If you are generally good, and putting positive energy out there, the response will be positive. If you smile at someone, they will smile back.
For me, I see people perceiving me as bold, sweet, generous, tapped in. These are great things. And I can be these things. Knowing people like that from me encourages me to do it more. I can also be a total slug…and afraid of my own shadow. Those things do exist in me, but they don’t need to run the show. I don’t really want them to run the show, so I’m happy to cast them off.
These collected perceptions of you are what marketers call your “brand.” It is how you are perceived by the world around you.
Do you know your brand?