Build Your Image Team
So what's the next part of this exercise? This is the homework assignment. You can do three words while you're sitting here right now, while you're watching this. Don't worry, I'm not gonna ask you to share your three words with everybody. The homework assignment, the part of this exercise that's gonna take a little more time, is to start to build an image team. These are the people that are gonna help you do your image assessment. Three people, think about three people that you're gonna talk to who are gonna help you do an image assessment, a personal image assessment. Here's the slightly trickier part, you're gonna think about people that know you in slightly different capacities. So I want you to think of one person who knows you quite well. Somebody who you interact with on a regular basis who you would describe as someone who you're relatively intimate with. Someone who knows you quite well. For the second person, I want you to think about someone who knows you in a professional c...
apacity. Someone you interact with around the work that you do, or the work that you would like to do. And the third person is someone who's in that peripheral or tertiary area of your social sphere. So this is somebody who you know, someone who you interact with, but maybe from a little bit of a distance, maybe not everyday. Or maybe you interact with this person through email, or over the phone, or through a message board online. Somebody who knows you from a little bit of a distance. For college students, I often times suggest a professor, or a counselor, or advisor, or a supervisor for a student work job. For someone who's working in a particular industry, I sometimes say a client or a prospect who you've done business with, or a supervisor who you worked with previously, but now is in a neighboring department. Somebody who sees you, who hears about you, but who you don't interact with everyday. So the idea here is that you're finding people that know you in different capacities. You don't wanna ask your three closest friends to do this. Or the three people who are on a sales team with and have lunch with three times a week. Because they're all gonna have very similar impressions and ideas about you. You wanna start to find people who interact with you and relate with you in slightly different ways. So you've got your first exercise where you challenge yourself. You said this is who I think I am. This is how I think other people would describe me. You've now got three people who you are going to ask, who you'd be comfortable asking to help you do an image assessment. What do you think the second part of the homework assignment is? What's the obvious next task here? Big surprise, you're gonna ask these three people to write down three words that they would use to describe you. I said that the first part of this exercise takes some courage and willingness to look at yourself, a willingness to describe yourself, takes a little courage. And I don't mean to undersell that, it really does. This homework assignment is gonna take even a little more courage. You're gonna ask three people to do that process with you. It's incredibly powerful. It's incredibly illuminating. What might you discover if you actually did this? If you said to yourself, you know, I'm gonna give this a try, this sounds like it might actually be kinda interesting. What might you discover with these three descriptive terms or words that you would use to describe yourself and then a set from people that know you in different ways? What's one thing you might discover? About this set and about this set? Distinction and difference is one thing that often times comes up. Boy, I think I'm funny, nobody else thinks I'm funny. (audience laughs) I know, I'm gonna be careful about how many jokes I tell when I'm on stage. I think they're hysterical. Nobody else thinks they're hysterical. Distinction and difference, it's one thing you might discover, really worth knowing. You think you know yourself very well, uh, you don't know yourself as well as you might think. I think that's one of the obvious first things that occurs to people. What's something else you might discover about yourself if you really gave this a try? If you were willing to do this? Yeah, what do you think?
I think effectiveness of certain strategies, specifically for the third person you were asking who's a little bit more removed. You could see if I try to present this thing, but they may have seen it knock on, or they might have seen it far off.
You might start to see distinction and difference between the different people. Boy, the person who knows me quite well, they know that I'm warm-hearted and funny, but boy, that person that I'm interacting with via email doesn't think I'm so funny. Guess what? When we talk about email etiquette, I'm gonna warn you about writing funny. So yeah, the people that know us in different capacities might see really different things about us. It's another version of distinction and difference. There's something else that comes up when people do this exercise that I think is one of my favorite parts about suggesting it, and one of my favorite parts about doing it. And that's the idea that sometimes other people see things in us that we don't see in ourselves that are really remarkable. You know, everybody that I talk to says that I'm incredibly loyal. It didn't occur to me to describe myself as loyal, and yet, that is a professional attribute that's worth knowing about. I'll abuse the example, I didn't think I was that funny, but everybody thinks I'm funny. I guess my sort of dry humor and approach to the world translates better than I thought. Sometimes the people around us know us better than we know ourselves. It's a really special thing. Sometimes we don't know things about ourselves that are really quite remarkable. Sometimes it's easier for other people to see the things about us that are remarkable than it is for us to see them in ourselves. I really wanna encourage you to give this exercise a try. Have the courage, have the courage to ask the people in your life what they see in you. It's not easy because I think many people's first instinct is they're gonna see things that aren't so good. I'm gonna discover that maybe I don't know myself as well as I think I do. But one of the really nice parts of this exercise, sometimes you do know yourself well, and sometimes the things you don't know about yourself really are special. In a professional context, it's worth knowing about those things because they're part of your story. And often times, discovering those attributes and part of yourself is the first key to learning how to emphasize them and use them in ways that really grow and foster relationships.