“Never judge a book by its cover.”
Does anyone really believe that? Perhaps that was true in the early years of publishing where books were all one of about five unattractive colors. Today, however, everyone in the book business realizes that those covers better stand out if they want the books to leave the shelves.
And why shouldn’t it be that way? The cover holds the title, the authors name (as well as any known reputation), and usually a brief summary of the topic matter. If sum of these exterior efforts does not align with my interests, why should I believe the contents will.
Of course, I realize this saying is often pointed towards people, but my thoughts are still the same. Reality check:
People, like books, will always be judged by their covers.
What does this mean for emerging leaders?
- Want to be known as someone who loves people? Then your speech, actions, and face should glow with love!
- Want to be known as someone who is responsible? Show up on time, finish the job, and do things without being asked.
- Want to known as expert? Study hard, contribute to blogs and periodicals, build a platformoff expertise.
You can spend your life decrying this injustice, but you will do so in futility. Or you can decide what is important to you and make sure that it is the first impression you make on people.
Good or bad, right or wrong, most people will make up their mind about you in a few brief moments. Some people will never move beyond this preconception. On the rare occasion that you get the chance to change this paradigm, know that it will not be easy.
If your exterior presentation is not aligned with what you want people to think about you, it may be time for some alignment. At the risk of sounding like Disney’s Mulan, when will your reflection show who you are inside?
If your life was a book cover, what would you want people to think you are all about?