When people you know see you, their brains react to the file they keep in their memory of who you are. Unfortunately, the negative words often direct people’s reactions to you before the positive ones. “There’s Jane,” says the brain. “She’s a smart, passionate driver who never lets up. Quick…hide behind the copy machine.”
Do you know how people see you? Try this exercise by Lesley Everett, a personal branding coach: Ask colleagues, clients and friends to describe you in four words–three strengths and one weakness (if they have more of either one, they will tell you if you listen quietly without reacting). This will tell you how their brains respond to you, and what they say about you behind your back!
The answers should reflect your core values and what drives you. If they do not, then consider that your actions are not in alignment with who you really are. How can you convey what you really believe in, and then live it every day? It might be time to repackage yourself. A good coach can help you do that.
If you love what you hear, keep it up. Capitalize on your strengths. Accept your weaknesses unless you are willing to do the work to change them (although, just the awareness of them might be enough to create an important shift).
It’s better to uncover who you are really are when you walk in the light of your strengths than to try to make yourself into someone you are not. Take time to discover how people see you. The results may surprise you.