Perception is Reality

As a continuance to my last blog post, I want to reflect on one of the seven tips outlined by Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future when she was interviewed by Dave Kerpen, CEO, Likeable Local.

 Today’s topic: Understand How You’re Currently Perceived

 I worked a camp a few years ago as a clinician (or teacher).  The commissioner who ran and hired from the camp published a cumulative rating of the campers at the conclusion of the camp. He numerically ranked each official who attended, from best to worst.  The ranking took into consideration each clinician’s individual ratings and comments. This information was then used to compile an individual score for the clinician that allowed the commissioner to rank each individual with their peers.  Every year, campers would be astonished and shocked at their ranking and comments.  I found it fascinating to see how some campers were completely unaware of their status among their peers and boss.

 In the corporate world, I have seen companies do similar evaluations with something called a 360 degree review of employee performance.  In this situation, an annual review is conducted, not only from your boss, but also from your peers and subordinates within the company.  This full circle evaluation approach is sometimes alarming, but it is almost always helpful in an employee’s advancement. Of course, you have to be willing to accept the perceptions of the individuals in this circle and work to improve where weaknesses are identified. Unfortunately, in the officiating profession, the 360 degree kind of evaluation process doesn’t work as well since we are all independent contractors competing for the same positions and games.

 In my experience, officials who work in different parts of the country or in different leagues than I, have been the best evaluators of my ability (because there is no competition between us for advancement).  I am so thankful for people like Melissa, Jeneanne, John, and Charles who have provided brutally honest truths for me along the way.  When you find someone who will take the time to give you feedback, you need to LISTEN.  The insight will make you better.

 I am also very grateful for one boss in my day job who is always telling me what he “thinks” of me.  It isn’t necessarily complimentary, but it is always honest. His perception of me provides a gut check to see what vibes I am giving out to my co-workers and bosses.  He tells me if I appear sad or happy, content or searching.  He tells me if I am unfairly judging a colleague on their productivity.  His comments often lead to great reflection, evaluation, and sometimes reinvention of my attitude and behavior.  I hope you can be so lucky as to have someone in your officiating or professional career who will be so candid—someone who believes in you and wants to see you succeed.

 So let’s get real here and answer a few questions.

  • Do you know how you are really perceived? And, do you like the perception your peers, boss or family have of you?
  • Do they think you are open to constructive criticism?
  • Do you know your rules? Are you a good partner? Are you pleased with where you are in professional career or officiating career?
  • What is most important to the commissioner whom you want to notice you? And what qualities get you hired in your dream league?
  • Is looking the part really important but you know you are 15 pounds overweight?
  • What can you do to affect people’s perception of you?

 Accepting the perceptions others have of you is the first step to reinventing yourself. Maybe your response is that you like who you are. While that may be true, have you reached your final destination or are you still climbing the ladder of advancement?

Personally, I have not reached my destination. You will see me climbing the ladder in all my suits – from Michael Kors to Cliff Keen  (referee clothing brand).  I want continued self evaluation, and continued growth and reinvention.  I challenge you to answer these questions for yourself.  Then stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll explore a couple more  tips for reinventing yourself. Keep in mind this is not an overnight transformation; it’s a lifetime process.

About Rachael Melot

Entrepreneur - Mentor - Speaker - Blogger I find great joy in helping people become their best self by seeking personal, professional and physical success daily.
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