Your Edge in a Competitive Market

How you project yourself is critical – and your mom was right: you can’t take back a first impression. All other things being equal, self-confidence is often the single ingredient that distinguishes a successful person from someone less successful.

Image and Self-Confidence In today's competitive environment, it's more important than ever to maintain an edge. Whether it's interviewing for a job, excelling at your career, or finding that special person – having confidence in yourself can make the difference.

Are you confident? Your level of self-confidence can show in many ways: Your behavior, your body language, how you speak, what you say, how you present yourself, and so on.

There are many barriers to feeling confident. Some people are raised in an environment that discourages self-esteem; they're raised to believe that they aren't pretty enough, smart enough, or simply aren't good enough. Maybe they were bullied in school – taunted because of what they looked like. No matter where it comes from, low self-esteem leads to a lack of confidence, and that can be devastating. But with some effort, most anyone can rise above a lack of self-esteem and become more confident.

Do a self evaluation. Look at what you’ve already achieved and congratulate yourself. You deserve to be acknowledged! Think about your strengths: Are you a reliable friend? A great salesperson? It's okay to be proud of the things you do well. Think about what's important to you, where you want to go, and what you want to achieve. Are you on that path? If you aren't, what's stopping you? Real self-confidence comes from within. Set and achieve goals that exploit your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. And remember, when you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you project self-confidence. And confidence is sexy!

Remember, image matters. People respond better to someone who speaks clearly and politely, who dresses well and takes care of themselves, and who presents themselves in a positive light. If there is something about your appearance that bothers you – address it! Have you always been self-conscious about that bump on you nose? The hair on your lip and chin? The acne scars or poc marks on your cheeks? When you look in the mirror, are you comfortable with what you see? If you aren't, take action. If you need to color your hair or buy new shoes, do it. If you want to get rid of that scowl between your eyes that makes you look angry all the time, get Botox®. Are you competing with younger people? There are many ways that you can look and feel younger. Eat right. Exercise. Brighten your smile. Consider the many skin rejuvenation, wrinkle reduction, and slimming options available. Take the steps necessary to feel more confident with the image you project. Make a good first impression, and chances are it won't be the only impression you make. Invest in yourself. You're worth it! And remember, self-confidence can be your edge – both professionally and personally.