The last time I wrote about Personal Impact (January 2015), I talked about making conscious choices about the impact you'd like to make and the behaviour that would go with that.
This time I want to look at the often unrealistic pictures we have in our heads about who we wish we were like. I'm not talking about Role Models - people we look up to and who we'd like to emulate, or whose qualities and values we aspire to. I think having role models is great but that's for another blog.
Right now I'm talking about the fact that most of us at some point in our lives wish we were someone else. And this someone else is invariably more articulate, better looking, more charismatic, more confident, more, more, more. Then, of course, we feel worse about ourselves because we'll never be that, even if we tried to imitate everything they do.
Can't be done!
Imitation may be the greatest form of flattery but it's not going to help you to make the genuine impact you want - it would be more like wearing someone else's clothing that doesn't quite fit right.
Making a good impact is all about knowing the best qualities and abilities you have and developing and enhancing them instead of trying to be someone you aren't.
For those of you who regularly read my blog you'll know I've referred to five year old twins who are in my life and are great for observing how people develop. Recently one of them said something that was so obviously not the way he spoke or even thought that all the adults stopped what they were doing and one of us said, "That sounds like Jamie, not you." He admitted that yes, he wanted to be like Jamie.
So we know it starts young this wanting to be someone we're not. And there are all kinds of complicated reasons for that which are also for another blog.
Suffice it to say, the only person you can be is you so make the most of it! Here's a couple of tips.
Since you may be the worst judge of your positive qualities and abilities one thing you can do is ask a couple of people you trust what it is that you already do that makes a positive impact and where have they seen you do it. Avoid doing that modesty thing of brushing aside their compliments.
Write them down; put them on post-it notes; accept that what they say is true even if there's a little demon inside you chanting "liar, liar, pants on fire!". See if you now can notice when you do something that makes the kind of impact you'd like. Make note of those times.
What you're doing is building a picture of yourself that reflects your best assets and characteristics.
Then when you next want to make a good impression choose one or two of those positive traits and 'feature' them. For instance, if your trusted person says you have a great smile, then smile more. If they say you're great at solving problems, then 'feature' that when you speak to people; let them know that's one of your best traits.
This is what Personal Impact is all about - making the most of what you already have because more than anything else, it's easier to develop what you are than to contort yourself to try to become someone you aren't.
By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory