I’m sure you can agree with me that each and every week before you start your work or your school day one of the toughest and probably most important decisions you have to make is, “What am I going to wear?” Your image.
Your appearance, how you look and how you feel plays a big role on how your day turns out. Although your outward appearance is important, I want to challenge you to focus more on your inward image versus your outward image.
Before we jump into the three ways to focus more on your inward image vs your outward image, let’s consider these definitions of “image” first. The first one being appearance. Think of that as how you are described, or your outward image. Then we have character. Think of that as how you can be defined, or your inward image.
As a leader, you should focus more on your character (inward), before worrying about your appearance (outward). When a leader wakes up in the morning, their focus should be on their attitude before attire.
I’m going to challenge you to create a “tailor-made” image from the inside out because it’s going to be a key factor in you impacting and influencing others and you achieving your goals.
3 Ways to Focus on Inward Image
I can think of at least three “tailor-made” ways to improve your inward image and grow as a leader.
- Alter It. This begins with attitude before attire. Before you decide what shoes, shirt, pants, blouse, or skirt to wear, you need to decide what type of attitude you’re going to be wearing today. Are you going to be wearing a good attitude or a bad attitude? A humble attitude or an arrogant attitude? You must decide what type of attitude you’re going to wear today first before you decide your attire.
Your image, your attitude, can either help or hinder your ability to impact and influence others as a leader. In order for you to alter your character, you must alter your attitude. Having the right attitude does your character good.
Having the right attitude gives your character a strong foundation to stand. In leadership, character counts. Your character is so important that it’s what God uses to truly look at you, unlike man who focuses on the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).
JP Morgan, one of America’s great bankers once said, “A man’s best collateral is his character.” Character counts and you can take that to the bank.
2. Brand It. You are the total package inside out and your brand, your name, is your legacy as a leader. The wisest man to ever live on earth, King Solomon, once stated that “a good name is better than precious ointment and should be chosen over great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1)
As a student athlete, I took great pride in the name that was on the front of my jersey, Central Michigan Chippewas – “Fire Up Chips!” – and the name on the back of my jersey, Messam. I bought into the values, beliefs, coaching, and all of the things tied up in that brand, Chippewas, and my name, Messam.
As a leader always remember that your name is your brand. What do you stand for? Who do you stand for? Your beliefs, your values?
How you carry yourself – your attire, your demeanor, your manners, or your appearance – and how you conduct yourself – your actions, your attitude, your behavior, or your character – together that’s the total package, that’s your brand, that’s your name.
Your legacy will far outlive your appearance. Leaders like Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa were great proponents of not judging the appearances of others, the skin color and all of those things, they put more value into the content of folks’ character. A leader’s character is very difficult to build up and it’s very easy to tear down.
3. Check It. You’re probably asking yourself, “How in the world do I check my character? How do I see my inward image?” It’s easy for me to see my outer appearance, I can look in the mirror, I can even ask someone how I look.
Here’s how you check your character. If you check your actions, you check your character. People can’t see your heart or your inward image, but they can see what you do.
Another way is to ask someone. Ask someone how’s your attitude, have someone who you trust check you when you maybe stepping out of bounds with your attitude and actions. People may long forget what you said, even what you may have worn, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Let’s make good character fashionable as leaders. Let’s put on love, humility, meekness, kindness, patience, and forgiveness. Let’s make all of those great qualities and characteristics fashionable. It will never go out of style.
What Type of Attitude Did You Decide to Wear Today? Let us know in the comments.