It is a bit unnerving to know that all during the day, people are sizing us up based on how we look. I know of no one who can escape this reality. We are, one and all, both victims and perpetrators of “judging a book by its cover”.
MANAGING PERCEPTIONS IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT, BUT NEVER MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHEN THERE IS TROUBLE. Trouble could be just feeling vulnerable and insecure; maybe you have learned of a co-worker’s betrayal; perhaps you did not get the promotion or salary increase you expected, or had been promised. Whatever the trouble, you are down and feeling your worse. That is precisely when extra care must be taken to look your best!
My Mama used to say, WHEN PEOPLE CAN LOOK AT YOU AND KNOW YOU ARE VULNERABLE, THEY WILL TRY THINGS TO HURT YOU THAT THEY WOULD NEVER CONSIDER IF THEY THOUGHT YOU WERE IN GOOD SHAPE – physically, mentally, spiritually, career-wise, marriage-wise, any-wise. Muggers and thieves know this. They size up people going to their cars at the Mall and make a judgment as to which one they will approach. Bullies size up other students and make similar determinations. Men and women size-up each other and determine if there is interest in getting to know each other better. The point is, sizing up other people is quite normal and happens routinely.
There is real danger in wearing feelings on your shoulders, especially at work. BEING ABLE TO MANAGE AND/OR MASK YOUR FEELINGS IS A CRUCIAL SKILL. Those who are not members of your cheering squad will immediately detect chinks in the armor. They will see and make it their business to exploit weaknesses and vulnerabilities. You are the only one who can keep them guessing. You must “never let them see you sweat”!
In 1984, the Gillette Company launched the famous deodorant commercials with the slogan “Never let them see you sweat”. All kinds of situations were highlighted with the bottom line, “NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT.” The message was clear. There is danger when others see you sweat. There is danger when others know you are overly concerned or anxious. There is danger whenever others can look at you and see you are vulnerable. When you consistently look your best, regardless of how you are feeling, you confuse your detractors and give yourself time to get it back together.
When it’s storming on your parade, suck it up, suck it in, and keep smiling.
Get up one hour earlier than normal and take extra care in grooming yourself. Look like a million dollars!
Do not hide out in your office or cubicle. Get out, mingle and focus positive attention on others.
If your situation is “public information”, develop a short, positive response for nosy folk who will ask about it. Practice the response and let it roll off your tongue like a politician would do.
Stay in control of you!