Image is everything. At least my public relations professor in college thought so. There was a part of her message I glossed over: The image has to be authentic.
These two complementary principles would have served me well in life, had I been paying attention. I somehow developed a maladaptive pattern though: Image was everything and little else mattered.
Have you ever seen an old Western movie set? Walking down the main street, you’re transported to a frontier town where everything seems real enough. Walk around the corner though, and the truth is laid bare.
It’s all props and facades.
In much the same way, I built out my character. Car, home, degree, friends – solid enough looking from the front, desperately needing reinforcement in all other areas.
As long as I could keep my audience focused up front where things looked solid, I was ok. But let something slide, and the whole house of cards was at risk. Imposter syndrome is a real thing when you’re an imposter.
Add some alcohol, some drugs, mix thoroughly over time and well… there’s not much hope in pulling the con off anymore.
Fortunately there was a way back from that world of charades. Recovery. Authenticity was never far off, but for a time I had to settle for a less than stellar image while figuring out what was real and what was Memorex.
Image is everything when it’s authentic, when other principles are applied to the authentic. Humility, courage, honesty, effort. I could write a dozen posts on effort. Actually this is one. Some things aren’t revealed until effort is underway.
So yes, image is everything. By now you might be guessing that I’m not talking about physical image. No, this is not a world of living in a mirror. I’m referring to total character image.
It’s a far better world, when I can close my eyes, and see clearly who I am. That’s an image I can live with today.