I think kids have fully mastered the identity card.  Heck, I’ve watched my own kids and how they see themselves, my son in particular.  It amazes me how a single pair of gym shoes can change the mindset of a 12 year old boy.  You see, in his world, that pair of shoes tells him that he is, and will be, an NBA superstar.  Period.  The shoes tell the world that he has arrived and means business.  His perceived skill set immediately becomes elevated and the shoes worn on the court will remain sacred – they will never touch anything but the hardwood.

As time goes on, a child’s identity evolves as they begin to realize things like being 6’5″ is not in their genes, or they’re not quite as fast as the other guy, or they actually like golf better.  All along we, as parents, knew the truth – their identity of themselves did not match the image we (or others for that matter) had of them – but we didn’t have the heart to tell them.  Good, bad, or otherwise, that’s just how it is.

In the professional world, this is no different.  Companies, and the people that represent them, all have an image and identity.  To be successful, we need to ensure that our identity, and that of our company, is the same as what others outside perceive.  Just like with my son, where I may not have the heart to tell him that no one in our family is 6’5″, people do not have the heart to tell someone that how they present themselves does not match up with what they think they are.  In other words, if there is an obvious disconnect between identity and image, the responsibility to ascertain it’s very existence is completely up the individual.

The good news is that if we so desire, we can discover the answer to that very question.  As an individual we can ask our referral partners, mentors, clients, or other team members how they perceive us.  If there is a disconnect, they can help us determine what it is and how to correct it. The ideal in the business world means the way we see ourselves lines up with how those in our target market see us.  And yes, what you see is truly what you will get.

Keep it relevant.

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