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#28: Image

Monday, July 27, 2009

How often do you consider the image you present to others? The clothes you wear, the words you speak, the way you carry yourself all add to the total picture people have of you.

Once, I was bowling in a tournament for law enforcement and corrections officers and firefighters. During the singles competition on the third day I was concentrating on making each shot the best one I could, taking the successful ones and the poorly executed ones in the same even-keeled manner. (I won the event. :))

Afterward, the wife of another competitor approached me. "Excuse me, may I ask you a question?" she asked. "Sure," I replied. "What position do you hold with the sheriff's office?" (We had our names and agencies embroidered on our shirts.) "I'm a deputy." "Oh, I thought maybe you were the sheriff because of the way you handled yourself. You never got too excited or too angry." I laughed and told her, "From your lips to God's ears. I'm not the sheriff, though, but thank you for the compliment." "Well, I just thought you were trying to set an example for the rest of your team."

Actually I was and a stranger noticed.

Too often, though, people allow their words and their deportment to reveal an uglier side, one which does nothing to draw compliments or others to them. You've seen them. Because of the way they act and the foul words they use and their negative attitudes you do not even want to be around them.

The image we portray, however, does not stop with our physical self. Because I am a writer, I search for writers groups to join and am appalled at the misspellings, poor grammar and incorrect punctuation I see on their lead pages and in the members' comments. The image that creates? These are not groups with which I want to be associated.

I once saw a company's van emblazoned with "We install vinil" on the side. Since "vinil" should have been spelled "vinyl" I wondered about the attention to detail the company would provide if they were hired.

Recently, I had my car serviced for a minor recall. From the lady who set my appointment through the service writer, mechanic, snack bar employee, cashier and the gentleman who brought my car around afterward (and who refused a tip -- "Thank you, but I'm just doing my job. Thanks for coming in.") the service and attention provided to making ME feel comfortable and valued secured for this dealership a repeat customer.

How can you not be impressed by people who are respectful, polite, considerate and who thank you for being one of their company's customers?

Sometimes all it takes to create a positive image are simple words. "May I help you?" "I'll take care of that for you." "If you want to talk, I'm here to help." "Thank you for shopping with us today. Please come again."

The image we project to the world is a combination of our physical presence, our attitude and our words.

What image do you offer to others?

Will a stranger ever approach you and say, "I'm impressed with the way you handled yourself"?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post

    You said,
    "Too often, though, people allow their words and their deportment to reveal an uglier side, one which does nothing to draw compliments or others to them. You've seen them. Because of the way they act and the foul words they use and their negative attitudes you do not even want to be around them."

    Yes, I have and do see them every day, but lately I have been one of them, too. Work has been very stressful since January, and I have let that stress turn me into one who complains. Oh, to be certain, I do not complain incessantly, but still, my complaints, though shared by the people I have spoken to, have colored their impressions of me. That is not how I want to be seen. I am, at heart, an encourager and teacher, and most of all I love my Messiah. Those are the things I should be letting come through. Change has been immediate, and my day was a good one.

    The people I see at work (I work for an internationally known department store), both guests and employees, often express themselves in ways that are negative. The sales person who takes his time in approaching a customer,lazily meandering toward them without any bit of interest in his demeanor, shows that he is not interested in the customer's needs or repeat business. We have two sales persons in the tool/lawn and garden/fitness department. They are both young, single men in their very early twenties. One is described above without exaggeration. The other, when he sees me coming to let him know a guest needs assistance, lights up. (No, I am not a manager.) His face shows he is interested in what I have to say and his response is immediate. He goes to the customer, smiles, and says some variation of "How are you today? What can I do for you?" Which of the two would you like to have wait on you?

    I am truly appalled at the way people often handle themselves and their relationships with others. People go out looking as if they had not showered in two weeks, or their clothing may be far too suggestive or bear crude slogans. Many cannot put down their cell phones in public places, and their gossip, complete with curse words, can be heard by everyone. Children are screamed at, grabbed, smacked, and threatened. In checkout lines, people make rude comments about the service (which may or may not be true, but needs to be addressed in another manner and to the appropriate person), they leaf through magazines which they then discard anywhere but the place they picked it up, and children open candy bars and devour them, dropping wrappers on the floor totally unnoticed by the parent. People drive with impatience and inattentiveness that makes them a danger. What has happened to our society? This was definitely not the norm when I was growing up, and it is not acceptable behavior now.

    I have been thinking of writing a letter to the editor of the local paper on this topic. Would it help anyone? I don't know. I know I will have a much better chance at helping people when I am in the career I am working toward. Right now, my influence reaches my children and grandchildren and the people I know at work, Bible study, and synagogue. I want that influence to be positive and help people to grow toward G-d.

    4234 days ago
    Wow you are a great writer! It seems I have long way to go...but getting there! Thank you so much for this wonderful insight!!
    4234 days ago
    emoticon Image is the part of ourselves that others see first so of course they are of great importance.
    4234 days ago
    I completely agree about the images we portray to others! Many times it will take someone 1000 times to earn someones trust, but only one distrustful action to lose it. It is the same for how we put ourselves out there. If we claim to be Christians, people will watch for us to fall. Non-believers believe that Christians are supposed to be perfect. If they fall even once, they are Hippocrates. With that comment I must apologize to many of you! I did not learn grammar much in high school and Im sure it is tough to read my writings emoticon I will try harder, not just because of your feelings, but to try to better myself as well. I am learning! Just very slowly. God Bless you :)
    4235 days ago
    I'm not sure, but I think Laurie's going to respond after work. *giggle*

    I heard a great quote one time: God's favorite color is clear. When we are snuggled so close to Him, having cast off all that is not of Him, what remains is a clarity in our lives that renders us free to allow His image to shine through our lives that others may see Him and only Him. We are created in His image and it is through us that the world around us will see Him. Oh, that others would look at me and be able to say: Why, look at that! She must be God's girl. Spinnin' image of her Dad!!
    4235 days ago
    Yatmama, no wonder you were giggling. Good grief, what image did I give of myself with this? Dork, perhaps??? I really do have at least a bit of intelligence! emoticon

    4235 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/27/2009 10:06:36 PM
    Oops, so sorry. I really did not mean to do that!
    laurie emoticon
    4235 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/27/2009 10:04:27 PM
    Good morning! I will respond to this entry after work...I have to leave in less than half an hour. Very, very good, though! Many of my pet peeves in there, and some things I have been considering about myself, also.

    4235 days ago
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