The Financial Times recently observed that Warren Buffett has done an extraordinary job at maintaining his image as “a just-folks mid-western guy,” a down-to-earth label I’m sure many people in his strata would love to boast.
I believe perception is reality and that even we small fry should think about our “image” from time to time. There exists a perception out there of who you are and what you do. Then there’s a reality. Managing your image isn’t about inventing a new reality; it’s about bringing those two things closer together.
I think the perception of you is largely driven by your associations. When I think of John Doe, I think about who John is friends with, what groups he is part of, what company he works for, and so forth. Like it or not, I think our perceptions of a person are largely the collective perceptions of everyone and everything that person is associated with. Who are your friends? Do you like what they stand for? If all of John’s friends are jerks, I’ll probably lump him into that category too.
I would prefer to be evaluated for who I am, not my associations. Writing a blog is a great way to route others’ “perception formation” to my ideas and life. Here’s a question: When someone Googles your name, is the first result a web page you own/control? If you’re not near the top, other people’s blog posts or press articles are dictating what someone reads about you.
Related Post: Creating and Projecting Your Personal Brand