Shauna Mackenzie Heathman is the owner and founder of Mackenzie Image Consulting, South Carolina’s only full-service image consulting firm. Shauna is certified by both the Association of Image Consultants International and the International Institute of Image Communications.
Put yourself out there
It’s a scary, frightening concept to put ourselves out there.
So much so that this fear holds many people back from reaching their potential, from following their dreams, building relationships, or stepping outside their comfort zone for the betterment of their well-being or attaining their goals.
My job as an image and personal branding consultant is to make sure the benefits of putting yourself out there outweigh the fear.
One way my company works with clients is through appearance.
Women are hard on themselves
Women are incredibly harsh on themselves.
Even worse, they beat themselves up over beating themselves up. Most women are unhappy with their wardrobe and the way they look.
Most of this boils down to limitations they face, for example, weight, finances, or lack of knowledge on how to dress, and the dichotomy of wanting to be unique yet fearful of standing out. When we show clients how to dress for their personality, within their means, and in a way that accents their attributes, the fear starts to melt away. But it goes much deeper than this.
Working with one’s appearance certainly helps to boost one’s self-confidence because it has immediate effects. However, we also work with clients on body language, interpersonal relations, self-packaging, and personal branding.
In my company, I specialize in working with soon-to-be entrepreneurs who have a passion but don’t know how to capitalize on it to make it a business and who are fearful of putting themselves out to the world.
Through personal branding, I help clients align their strengths and defining features with their brand and passion in a very strategic way. Since these clients are the face of their company, implementing an image strategy during the early stages of business is key to boosting confidence and credibility.
Women have shared with me that through the personal branding process, they feel a sense of ease as their goals were more attainable and less overwhelming than they initially perceived. They have also shared with me that they felt empowered and inspired by the new-found confidence they had to be brave and follow their dreams.
A personal transformation
The best part about my job is watching this transformation as women overcome their fear to lead a happier and more fulfilling life. Sometimes it literally happens in front of my eyes as a woman stands at the mirror looking at herself. I’ve seen women go from slouched over with a disgusted look on their face as they stare at their reflection to standing taller, smiling, and even uttering the occasional, “Damn, I look good!”
To watch a woman take her dream and share it with the world is even more inspiring. Ironically, people already possess the strengths and skills to do so but it’s their fear of putting their face to it that often holds them back. It’s much easier to sit behind the scenes and try it out. If you fail, no big deal because no one knows it was you.
There’s less risk involved because your personal credibility and reputation is not on the line. But to put your identity out there draws upon a unique form of courage that turns fear into fuel. I am truly honored to be a part of this process.
No, we can’t change the thoughts of others, including the judgments they make about us. But as you already know, we have full control over the attitude we have about ourselves and what we do with these judgments.
And it’s incredibly refreshing to know that if someone likes you or doesn’t like you, at least it’s based on the real you, the you you intend and want the world to see; not a façade or misperception.