A good self-image doesn’t follow success—it precedes it, as Robert L. Shook says in his book Winning Images. Someone saddled with a poor self-image may fool some people some of the time, but eventually he’ll fail, unless he comes to grips with his basic self-image.
Many of us carry around an image that doesn’t really jibe with the facts. You could be holding a negative self-image that you subtly communicate to everyone you meet. If you feel that you’re too tall, or overweight, or unattractive in some way, you’ll lack confidence, and others will catch on.
Or it’s possible you could have an overly positive image of yourself. You may think you look terrific, when in fact you’re a sloppy dresser who’s twenty pounds overweight and badly in need of a haircut or a makeover.
In either case, analysis by yourself—and perhaps by those closest to you—is needed because, as I’ve sought to show in this chapter, your image is important, and you can do something about it! To find out how others see you, get some photographs or videotapes taken of yourself when you feel you’re looking your best. Specify close-ups and then study them carefully. What do you see that you like, or don’t like?
Then ask your best friends for their candid opinions on not only how you look, but also how you carry yourself, how you come across verbally, and what your car or house or briefcase or other material goods say about you. Promise you won’t take offense—and don’t! —then ask them to tell you also about your image in terms of knowledge and enthusiasm as well as sincerity and integrity.