“I am the Creation of your imagination” – YOU create your own image of people

December 19, 2014

Antony Welfare

The title of my blog is very important – “I am the creation of your imagination” (Leadership Quote) – please take a moment to think about this sentence before you read on

The statement is from a real sign, which I see most days, in north London where I live. It is above a creative environment in a residential part of London. When I see the sign, it helps me remember that who I am in other people’s eyes is built up by THEM, and not by ME.

We all notice and experience different things, so when we look at another person our experience and “imagination” creates a persona for that person. This persona is created from experience and imagination.

YOUR perception of ME is different when you know a few facts – but I am the same person behind all these facts……

Persona 1: In 2011 I was the Director of an Online business and in 2014 I worked with an international Omni channel consultancy – What is your “image” of me?

Persona 2: In 2011 I became an author and in 2014 I became a regular TV expert – What is your “image” of me?

Did you have a different “image” of me in the first part and the second part? I expect you did. This is because we all use our “imagination” to create an image of the person based on what we chose to hear and see.

In 2014 – I am a Retailer, I am an expert on TV, and I am an author – In 2010 I was a Retailer too – The addition of the TV work and Book, has not changed me as a person, but it has completely changed people’s view of me, and therefore their expectations.

For me, 2014 has been the year when I have been “seen” in a different light – this is a strange concept to me. I am the same person now as I was then, the day I published my book I did not change – people’s perception of me changed, but I was exactly the same.

In business, we have to maintain and create a professional business image – after all, business is about relationships and people in business want to work with people they can trust, they admire and they know can do the work required. Maintaining a professional image, whilst in career driven corporate world, involved lots of internal networking and making sure you “get the next promotion”. In the business world as a whole, your image is even more important and people will judge you more, that if you were employed by a large corporate.

I take this learning very seriously, when I meet new people, I try to take in as much information as possible – I try to look through the initial “facts” and ask questions about them and their skills. I find that I understand people much better now – my understanding of them is built up from getting to know them, rather than letting my imagination “create” that person.

We can never get to know people in business quickly, and we may not want to, but I believe we all should be aware of the fact that it is our imagination that creates the person. Even when you ask for information and really listen to the person, and try to put your own imagination to one side, you will still “create” the person.

An old boss of mine once said….well….he always said…..”Stop assuming and start asking”. This advice has always stayed with me, we often assume things about situations and people, but we should be asking questions. When we meet new people and situations, we should stop using our own imagination and assumptions. We should ask questions and listen to the replies. Getting to know people is a long process, and first impressions are important, but remember, those first impressions are often YOUR own imagination, and not the reality of that person.

My advice is to think about this when you meet the next person – you will immediately “create” that person in your mind – ask questions and make sure you find out more. Make the “created” person much closer to the reality of that person, than the imagination of your “created” person.

Doing this will help form stronger and more successful relationships, because you will be more connected to the real person as opposed to your creation of that person.