Impression Management – influencing what people see?

Some of you may be familiar with the theory of “impression management”.

It’s been defined as, “the effort to control or influence the perceptions of other people. This could be their perception of a certain person (this includes you!), a material possession, or an event. The theory goes on to explain that we try to make the perception consistent with our goals.”

I’m sure this is a very relevant theory for celebrities trying to balance a life of normalcy with the downfalls of stardom.

But for ordinary, humble Americans, it’s not often something we think about.

I’ve been told lately that I need to brag about myself more in my career. That one of the only ways to get ahead is to focus on impression management as often as possible.

I have to be honest…I’m struggling with this theory.

All my life I’ve been a hard working over-achiever – not because I’m looking for some sort of recognition in return, but because that’s what I saw growing up. My grandparents and parents had similar characteristics and therefore I inherited the same as I began to socialize and interact with society.

No matter what successes I might have in life (both personally and professionally) accolades are not something I require, nor seek out, in order to feel fulfilled.

I couldn’t imagine trying to influence the perceptions other people have of me. I would HOPE that’s something they would see in my actions and my efforts, with little prodding from me.

I’m all for being proud of your accomplishments. But if I need to work hard trying to convince others who I am and what I can do, then they haven’t taken the time to get to know me – to communicate and form a relationship with the person standing before them.

Who knows, maybe I’m the naïve one when it comes to the workings of this complicated world we live in.

Maybe that naivety will keep me from expanding my career, gaining notoriety with my writing or industry awards to put on my mantle. But at the end of the day, the person you see before you is the real Craig – both at work and at home.

I hope my value and capabilities are things you will easily see for yourself, rather than me having to try and control your perceptions.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”