If I were to ask your mother about you, how would she answer? Would your best friend answer in the same way? How do you think others perceive you? Are you smart, tall, easy going, hot tempered, and foolish? Are you a doctor, a lawyer, a student, a housewife? Who are you? What do you do? In certain situations we are perceived as one thing, and then we go to another and then we are, perhaps something totally different. Sometimes we even allow a conjunctive description of ourselves, such as a working-mother or African-American.

Is this the way others perceive you? Is this the way you perceive yourself? Mothers and fathers all around the globe will offer well-meaning distinguishing characteristics for their little ones, quite often because of how they perceived you once upon a time. He is the smart one, she is the sweet one. In schools across the world, teachers and classmates are labeling in similar fashion; he is slow to learn, she is sensitive, he is more an athlete then a student, she is a class clown. You move from school into a job, or a career and others perceive you as the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker. How surprised they are to see you outside those roles, or beyond those perceptions.

Many of my clients simply go along with the characterizations or the perceptions of others. I find them stuck in a perception that has been fostered by others. They spent years defending those perceptions, some worthwhile, others destructive. Some just need to perceive themselves in a different light. For example, a champion’s characteristics instead of a winner (a champion will always be a champion, though they may not always win.). With others, I require them to consider the source. Which loser told you that you would not amount to anything? What compels you to remain a victim and have to defend yourself each time with new people? The choice is yours, how would you like to live your life? When you leave a room, exactly how would you prefer the way others remember you? How would you set it up for them to consider you with favor?

It is only by your design, in line with how you define your character, as a guide to how you feel about yourself and how you allow others to perceive you. You need not spend a cent.

Just remember this maintenance plan:
• Maintain your convictions. Continue to act with the behaviors of those convictions.
• Maintain your integrity. Time changes and you learn new things. Take a lesson from some wildly successful people; they reinvent themselves without trading their integrity.
• Maintain your sense of humor. Remind others of who you are today through humor. Eventually they will laugh with you.
• Maintain your sense of dignity. Others may attempt to tear you apart. This is their limitation. They will only succeed if you lose your dignity.
• Maintain your temper. While you may want to fight back and strike hard, remember the Grand Canyon was created by a constant water stream, never wavering and always in the same direction.
• Maintain your sense of patience. Some people are slow learners. Those are the folks that you may have to explain in different ways. Advertising knows the importance of repetition. When you begin to get bored of repeating, get creative and deliver your message with a fresh outlook.
• Maintain your sense of balance. You are more than your job, more than your loves and more than many think of you. It’s okay to bring your Self to your job. It’s also okay to bring qualities and ethics of your work into all areas of your life.

The ways others perceive you are generally the guides that determine the behaviors of others towards you. Simply stated, others will treat you within the framework of their perceptions of you. This works the same way with companies. Corporations across the world will spend millions on perceptual shifts that lead perspective customers into thinking of them in far more profitable ways. When one allows these perceptions, they deserve much of what they get. If you want to change these perceptions begin with the perception you hold of yourself.
© All Rights Reserved 2008

Author's Bio: 

Jeffrey Schoener is a trainer of NLP© with DHE© and also the creator of Whole-Brain Learning©. He offers classes and services with his company Neuro-Enhancement Strategies, Inc. www.neuro-enhancement.com