Today I made a bold decision and updated my profile picture. It has taken about 6 months to finally change my ‘public face’! It is a step away the former traditional image that I have used publicly.
Why so long?
I am now 46 years old and have never had the courage to wear red. It seems such a bold colour and one which to be honest I have never had the confidence to wear.
Whilst out shopping last year, by chance I came across a lovely red dress. I tried it on, it looked ok and I bought it.
I thought I would it wear at Coaches Connect, an event that I host which brings coaches together to share good practice. I tried it on at home and my youngest response was ‘Mum, why are you wearing a dress like the lady from the Kellogg’s Special K adverts’? Are you hoping to lose some weight’!
I don’t weigh myself, eat in moderation and most of the time healthily and exercise as often as I can.
Needless to say I didn’t wear it.
Roll on a few months and I took over the role of Chair of the Ilkley Business Forum . This meant that my picture often gets printed in the local newspaper. And I often get teased by my good friends for using the same photo and one which is over 5 years old.
Fast forward the end of 2012 and I met up with someone with whom I connected with on Twitter. From the photo I was expecting a 30 something year old with a full head of blond hair. Imagine my surprise when an older person aged late 40’s/ early 50’s with grey hair turned up. The look on my face must have been a give away!
I started to think why am I holding onto an old picture of myself? I have aged, my hair is longer, my head is sprouting these pesky grey hairs and my face is more wrinkled.
And why am I afraid to wear red? My word for 2013 is ‘Bold’ and with that in mind I decided to be brave and contacted photographer Suzy Mitchell. Suzy’s images are in the moment, distinctive and captures the essence of who you are in a natural way. She has taken some memorable pictures of my family and my previous ‘professional picture’.
- Do I look like a professional person?
- Should I have worn the traditional black and white?
- Should I have been less smiley?
- Should I have…
And that stopped me in my tracks…as a professional I am mindful of what others think of me and how I portray myself.
On the other hand, I am values driven, self-aware, live my life with purpose and try to be my true authentic self all the time, every time…I am confident and assured of who I am and what I am.
Is this much ado about nothing? I could always take another picture wearing black and white and looking seriously professional …..
What defines ‘professional looking’ and a ‘professional image’?
Is red a colour not suitable for work?
Do people take you less seriously if you are not conforming to the traditional work image?
There is a host of information and articles on the psychology of colour. A recent one was on the psychology of branding.
Whilst writing this, I undertook a ColorQuiz test which is free. Whilst taken with a pinch of salt it has summed me up very well