Compliments of Trey Ratcliff via Flickr

Compliments of Trey Ratcliff via Flickr

We associate the holiday season with glittering lights and choreographed illuminations that delight us. People take time throughout the year to select the perfect decorations to use on their property – both for their own enjoyment, and for the benefit of onlookers.

Taking pride in one’s presentation should be an attitude year round, one that takes effort and a continual focus on what can be improved, tweaked, repaired, renovated, or tossed.

Which is why I’m surprised when some people choose to showcase themselves as sloppy. Self-image and professional persona are crafted not just from what we do at our place of employment, but from how we maintain are vehicles, home, backyard, office, and most importantly, ourselves.

Anthes suggests that physical surroundings and architecture can profoundly impact our mood. When you enter a messy, dirty, unkempt area, what is your knee jerk response? Similarly, when you are visually assaulted by someone else’s clutter you may notice it makes an unpleasant impact.

Maintenance is more than a one shot occurrence – over time, it consists of taking inventory, tossing, reorganizing, cleaning, refurbishing, maintaining, and using a keen eye to ensure that the resulting product is a well-orchestrated gestalt. Clutter is simply accumulation (and in the worst case scenario, encroachment on other people) waiting for another home – someone else’s, a donation bin, elsewhere on your property, or the trash dump.

The legacy of your silent message cannot be underrated. Snap judgments are typically made in less than three minutes, and remain as an anchor point from which future adjustments are produced. If the initial presentation is sub-par, you will find yourself swimming upstream of others’ expectations. Magazines (both fashion and home improvement) are filled with pictures of smartly groomed people and beautiful show stopping dwellings. Meticulous prior planning will ensure that your projected image is first rate, and that you encapsulate the desired impression.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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