One of the fascinating aspects of human behavior is how our perceptions shape what we see and don’t see. Our brain uses this cognitive skill to process the information it receives through our senses—what we feel, hear, see, smell, taste—and associates the data with prior memories and experiences, helping us to make decisions.

Others make judgments based on how you express yourself.

As shared previously in Cultivate Your Personal Brand: Perceptions, your personal presentation of body language, stance, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, and tone of voice makes a difference in people’s general impression of you.

Their core motivation is at the heart of their observation, which impacts how they view, interpret, and discern what you’re saying and not saying. For example, if you were interviewing for a new job, some hiring managers may focus on how you physically present yourself, including your overall demeanor, style, and attire. Other managers may tune into your vibe, energy, tone, and mood.

Our culture and nervous system tell us conflicting facts.

Dr. Stephen Porges, who created the Polyvagal theory, pointed out that we live in a culture where people say:

“It’s really WHAT I say and not HOW I say it that’s important.”

However, our nervous system is telling us something different. It says:

“It’s NOT really WHAT you say — it is HOW you say it.”

This places the emphasis on how you’re making others feel while listening to you. Maya Angelou’s quote sums this up poignantly:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

These paradoxical statements remind us that the only logical thing to do is to accept these inherent contradictions and focus on what is in your control regarding your personality, preferences, and emotions.

From a personal branding angle, this equates to aligning your behavior and actions.

We all have many facets to who we are, and it is paramount to consider what is needed to be at your best before connecting with others. Here are a few areas to consider helping you ground yourself. Please note: for all these questions, there is no right or wrong, should or shouldn’t. It’s simply taking out the guesswork for others and presenting you and your brand as you’d like both to be understood.

  • What do you value most? These are your essentials, your highest priority, and what you’re unwilling to sacrifice. Keep in mind some of your preferences are innate and never change, whereas others fluctuate and are influenced by your environment and others. This is why you need to understand what’s important to you now and how it impacts who you are and what you do.
  • What do you expect or need from others? Instead of expecting those important to you to make assumptions, share what you’d like or need from them in your relationship. Then provide them a safe space to highlight what’s important to them. Be patient by listening openly and being receptive to compromise.
  • How do you prepare for uncertainty mentally and physically? The more you understand how you react to adverse situations, the more you can strengthen your resolve. Simple ways to calm your nerves include taking time to breathe, sitting quietly, chatting with someone who makes you laugh, or going for a walk or run. Additionally, the more you refrain from future scenario planning, the less likely you’ll get yourself worked up about things outside of your control.

Harness your YOU-ness and activate your best.

Self-leadership is all about getting to know yourself better and applying that knowledge to how you act, think, and feel. To learn more about yourself and strengthen your interpersonal relationships, you can use the MBTI®, FIRO Business®, or iEQ9 Assessments as the foundation for professional development and learning. My approach is personalized and customized. Schedule a call to learn more.

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