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You are being perceived, either positively or negatively, every day of your life.
Others are constantly viewing and making judgments of you. The impact of this perception can happen quickly; it takes only a few seconds to form an opinion. Even though you don't have control of how others view you, you do have control over your actions, which can substantially affect others' perceptions. This is "the power of thinking without thinking," as Malcolm Gladwell describes subconscious mental processes in his bestseller ‘Blink’.
You can't influence someone's perception 100 percent of the time. Recognising this limitation helps you accept the circumstances when you encounter people who simply won't change their perceptions of you.
The power of perception is important because it completely determines how people view you, and therefore, how they act toward and around you. Proactively shaping others' perceptions of you is a key strategy for standing out, gaining credit for your work, and ultimately, achieving career advancement.
So, how do others see and create an opinion of you? Perception is affected by a variety of factors, including:
- What people notice about you.
- The behaviours that make an impression…
o The image you project.
o The attitudes you project.
o The opinions you hold.
You need to be honest with yourself about who you are before you can focus on the way you want others to perceive you.
You can begin by conducting a candid assessment of your true skill level. By comparing the way that others perceive you with your genuine skill level, you can determine whether your current ability corresponds to where you want to go.
Once perception has started, the reality of what you see begins to take effect. This provides a level of certainty. Once the perception becomes the reality, the person begins to think that this is what he or she actually believes, and develops faith and confidence in this belief. The final step occurs when one considers the perception to be truth. The truth provides such certainty for a person that it makes it difficult to change or alter the perception that one has created.
Take Action Now
Consider how others perceive you both positively and negatively.
Conduct an assessment of your skill level wherein you honestly analyse your skills in terms of where you are and where you want to be.....to determine how best to close the gap.
Reference: Coach2Coach newsletter, February 14, 2012