As a leader in life and business, you are on stage all the time. How you show up in the world is a reflection of your self-worth. Even though you say you take people at face value, first impressions are made within the first 30 seconds of interacting with someone.
I am not saying that you need to pull out the plastic and go on a spending spree and buy things which you cannot afford. I am saying that there are several things that you can do to project self-worth and confidence.
Maintain a Good Posture (and Watch the Nonverbals). Poor posture can make you appear weak, fatigued or even in pain. Stand tall and walk with your head up and shoulders back. Confidence is attractive and people are attracted to confidence. The way you carry yourself is a nonverbal communicator that tells people a great deal about you. When speaking with others (unless culturally offensive), maintain eye contact and pay attention to the tone of your voice and the rate you are speaking. Engage others with thoughtful questions.
Make Your Health a Priority. Eat healthy foods – choose foods that fuel your body. Watch your portion sizes – skip the upsize deals. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. You do not have to go to a gym to get your exercise quota. Go for a walk, jog, swim, bike ride, or run.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep. When you do not get a good night’s sleep, you move slower throughout the day. You may even get bags under your eyes. You do not think as clearly when you are tired and you may have errors of judgment. You want to be sharp and awake so you make astute decisions.
Keep Hydrated. Keep a glass or bottle of water by your side as you work or exercise. Lack of hydration can lead to dry skin which is more prone to wrinkles. Maintain that youthful glow by drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
Speak Highly of Yourself. Speaking highly of yourself does not mean that you are “above” or “better” than others nor is it bragging about yourself. It means that you are proud of who you are. You are not afraid to introduce yourself and offer a firm handshake. You speak positively about yourself and your strengths and how you serve others.
Dress the Part. What you wear says a great deal about you. Ensure your clothing is clean and well pressed. You do not want to look like you just rolled out of bed. Keep your hair well-kept and your shoes shined. Check yourself out in a mirror before you head out for the day and periodically throughout the day.
Get Organized. Nothing wastes more time than looking for your keys or report as you run out the door for an appointment. Lay the items you need out before you go to bed at night to ensure you have what you need and you know where to find everything.
Be Prepared. Going into things blindly can seem like a night at the improv, but it won’t take long before someone calls you on your bluff. Review your materials before presenting or going into an important meeting. You may not get that second chance to make a first impression.
Read to Learn and Be Entertained. Stay on top of current events, industry trends, and the latest books. By being in the know, you can contribute to stimulating conversations, share resources, and make meaningful connections.
What impression do you want to make? Are you showing up as the person you want to be seen as? What do you need to do to make that everlasting impression? Don’t dismay! You can do it; you just need to get started. Start projecting who you are and where you are going. Why not start today. If not now, when?