Friday, March 5th, 2021

Optimizing Your Image for Personal and Business Success

By Katherine Lazaruk on Jan 11 2010 • Filed under Image Intensive

Are you ready for a change? Now is a great time to look ahead, plan for your future and decide how to invest in yourself. Like resolutions in other areas, optimizing your image is a type of personal growth and requires commitment, discipline and careful planning. Despite what TV shows demonstrate, optimizing your image takes time and involves more than just getting a new ‘look.’ Optimizing your image is about becoming your best self, inside and out. Let’s take a look at what ‘optimize’ means for your image.

op’∙ti∙mize: to make as perfect, effective or functional as possible

The definition has three wonderful words; perfect, effective and functional. The word ‘perfect’ may trigger some stressful feelings. Think of ‘perfect’ as the best version of you. Create your perfect image and perfect self from an internal point of view rather than from some external reference. No one else can be, do or have what you are, do or have. You are unique. ‘Effective’ means that your image can communicate for you. Your image is ‘ready for service or action.’ It will send the messages you want to send. It will satisfy you. ‘Functional’ means that your image works for you. It is ‘used to contribute to the development or maintenance of a larger whole.’ No longer will you fight with your clothing, hairstyle or personal grooming. If you want to spend hours on your appearance, you can do it because you enjoy it, not because you are struggling with yourself. You know that expression ‘go with the flow?’ It works for your image, too.

Like any other goal or intention, you’ll need a plan to get you there.Here are some tips to help you get started:

Think: Imagine that your image is a pie that has three pieces. Each piece of pie represents one aspect of image for you to consider optimizing; appearance, behaviour and communication. On each ‘cut’ that slices the pie there is a scale from one to ten, one being the image that least satisfies you (the pointy end of the piece) and ten being the image that most satisfies you, the most perfect, effective and functional image you could imagine (the wide edge of the piece). For each piece of the pie, decide where you currently reside on that scale of one to ten. If you’re at ten, congratulations! If not, imagine yourself at ten. What would you be, do or have if you had that optimized appearance, behaviour and communication?

Plan: Now that you can ‘see’ what ten looks like for you, write down everything you ‘see’ in positive, present-tense statements. For example, “I always think before I speak,” or “I take no more than twenty minutes to get ready in the morning,” or “I always know how to behave in any given situation.” Once you have written these things down, decide which area you would like to optimize first. Set your priorities and do your research on service providers. Decide if you need a budget to do some of this work. Are there things you can do on your own at the beginning? Finally, set some timelines. When would you like to start? When would you like to achieve your optimal image? What steps will you take along the way? Write it all down or use visuals such as magazine pictures to illustrate your plan.

Act: The final step is to take action. Make that call to Toastmasters if you want to be a better speaker. Sign up for that dance class if you want to be more flexible. Put on your smiling face and practice wishing everyone around you ‘Good morning.’ Change your thinking by starting with something small such as giving thanks for something in your life that’s good. Find help if you need it. Whatever area you want to optimize, this is the most important step. All the plans in the world won’t do any good if you don’t start. Make sure you act!

As we journey into a new decade, now is the perfect time to consider how you will spend the first year. Image or otherwise, I encourage you to spend it growing!

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