Tom Shefchunas

My Angry Eyebrow

by on in Leadership.
eyebrow

I’ve got a monster brow. Seriously… it’s huge.

And, if left to itself (notice the singular is being used here), it would overtake my face like Kudzu.

On top of that, I’m a pretty contemplative guy, so I constantly walk around looking like I’m playing chess, constantly in deep thought. Or at least pretending to be so I don’t have to meet new people. (Kidding. Just kidding.)

All that to say, I typically look a bit unapproachable if you don’t know me.

Recently I went through the RightPath Leadership 360. I recommend it. The basic idea is that people fill out a survey about you. Then you get to see all the gory details. I learned a bunch more besides the fact that I look like an troll, but here are some actual comments from the survey.

  • Shef needs to watch his first impressions. While he is a very caring guy, many people don’t see that side of him initially.
  • Tom comes off as a little too serious when you don’t know him. Maybe as a ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy.
  • He can sometimes seem quiet or un-approachable. Other times he can be very outgoing and talkative. I think he has to work at being a little more outgoing.

So here’s what I’m thinking…

Is it fair that people judge me by something I have very little control over? Well that’s a dumb question… it doesn’t matter. The fact is, people do and will judge me by their first impression of me. And because of that… my effectiveness with people will be limited by who I naturally am. (Ouch!)

So, I need to pay attention to my first impression. Now that I’m aware of that, I need to put energy into “looking” approachable. I’m not faking anything here… I want to be approachable! I am approachable. I just need to realize that I can either put energy into smiling a bit more… or I can wear t-shirts that say I’m nice. But I don’t really want to do that.

Now here’s my question…

What’s people’s first impression of you?

Maybe it’s something you can’t help… or maybe it’s something you do on purpose. I’m not saying you need to look a certain way. Just be aware of it.

I’m not saying you don’t have the right to look how you want.
You totally have the right to be ineffective.
But just know… first impressions are important if you want to be effective.

  • John V. D. Merwe

    This is a great post!!! I recently did something similar with some close friends of mine, asking them to make a list of what they saw as my good AND bad qualities in their experience of me. I was surprised with the response I got. It’s a scary thing to do, because you open yourself up to criticism, albeit constructive criticism, but being aware of people’s impression of you is very helpful in order to stay above reproach.