This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Janet Spangler of Image Awareness, an image consulting company based outside of Seattle.

In the last Image Awareness News, we introduced personal branding, the art of expressing your identity, personality, values, skills and abilities. A key part of the personal branding process is self knowledge; having a clear understanding of who you are, where you want to go and what tools will help you get there.

One of the most rewarding steps in my work is the fast growth that occurs for my clients once they’ve identified and addressed blind spots. This involves analyzing all aspects of their presentation, from appearance and dress; to speaking and presentation skills; to communications, such as email, voicemail, website and social media. All of this work is designed for the client to present a powerful and consistent image, in alignment with where they want to take their skills, talents and goals.

Anyone who has experienced a consultation or workshop with Janet or her colleagues at Image Awareness will know the power of supportive, yet direct feedback. Particularly in the area of personal presentation, the messages that we send out through our appearance are the most powerful, yet often the most misrepresentative. Engaging an objective, professional point of view is crucial to addressing blind spots and making sure you project your strengths, rather than your liabilities.

For example, before I started working with Janet, I definitely had a few blind spots around my wardrobe. I had a tendency to wear my clothes too big (in order to be comfortable) and to favor black and dark colours (trying to keep my wardrobe simple, but it was actually boring). Janet’s gentle and supportive feedback helped me address these blind spots and make choices that were more aligned with who I am, where I want to go, and what I want to present to the world. Most people feel a surge of confidence and empowerment by shining light on blind spots and making appropriate changes. I sure did!

Engaging a friend, a mentor or a coach to give you feedback on certain areas of your life that you want to ‘up-level’ is a fun exercise that yields fabulous results. The key to making it work is asking for clear, specific feedback on a certain area and asking for ideas about how to improve.

In the next Image Awareness News, I’ll talk about ideas for gathering feedback in the personal branding process and how to improve your success and strengthen your personal brand through feedback from your friends and colleagues. In the meantime, book an appointment with Janet and experience the gift of clear and empowering feedback around your personal appearance.