Quite often we think we are able to draw a distinct line between how we are socially and professionally. Yes we can be much more serious, conscientious and even uptight when we are dealing with our business tasks - in comparison to how we would behave socially. We are all certainly more informal, relaxed and expressive in our leisure time. This is a natural tendency, and it applies to every single one of us.
However, when the distinction/gap is too large between how we are professionally versus how we behave socially, then it raises an alarm about one's character and emotional intelligence.
To have a good image is highly desirable in all aspects of our lives, and since I am by profession an "architect" of good IMAGE, I am in full support of giving our best to cultivate the "BEST VERSION" of ourselves.
One of the main areas I am referring to in this post today, is how we are in our interactions with others outside of work. How do we message (text, email etc) one another? How do we leave a voice mail? How do we comment on social media posts that we disagree with, if we choose to do so? How do we make requests unrelated to work? How do we show our sincere appreciation for things we are thankful for - do we even take the initiative to show appreciation? How do we extend/share/express our empathy for situations we genuinely feel for? How do we give and accept compliments?
All these are closely intertwined not only with our character and integrity, but also with our emotional intelligence. We can easily brush it off thinking: "As long as I am not getting into any legal trouble, I can pretty much do and say whatever I want!" That, in my opinion, is a fallacy. Everything we say and do has consequences and repercussions. As human beings with free will and fortunate enough to have the freedom to express ourselves, we are also bound by the unspoken responsibility to treat one another with at least basic respect and courtesy.
How is this tied in with Image, you may ask? Our every word, every smile, every frown and every nod...represents us. Our every gesture, every deed, every inch of our digital footprint...in combination, reflects who we truly are. And through an established pattern of behaviour and repetitions, we form the image others have of us - and more importantly, how we view ourselves, which greatly affects our own self esteem.
When we look at all of these collectively, we see how our professional, personal and social lives are intricately anchored upon how others see us, and how we see ourselves. We cannot expect to lead a well balanced life of success and contentment without building a good image of ourselves. Remember: Every word we say, every step we take, every emotion we share - marks our footprints in this world, in someone's mind, heart and life. We cannot afford to not take it seriously! Every step in the right direction is progress, never hesitate to press "reset" and start now!