February, the month of  love  and  passion

At Professional Impressions, we are  passionate  about making a difference in the lives of our clients and colleagues through the process of Impression Management.

This quote by Marianne Williamson embodies the  spirit  and  purpose  of this month's newsletter:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves.’ Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world”

Combining the  A B C  of Impression Management,
Attitude, Business Etiquette and Corporate Image

We aim to help each individual grow in the areas of
self-confidenceself-acceptance  and  self-awareness.

This month we look at:

Are you in love with yourself?
What are you giving yourself for Valentine’s Day?

Be gender sensitive
How to avoid sexual harassment in the workplace
What to do when you are a victim of sexual harassment at the office

Valentine's Special

Give a gift that will linger long in the hearts and minds of your loved ones this month.

Boost their confidence with a personal consultation aimed at helping them make the most of what they have, encouraging them to shine.

Contact us for more information on how a One-on-One Consultation can change your life and the lives of those around you.
Tel:  (011) 679-3036    Cell:  082 295 7924    E-mail:  prof-imp@mweb.co.za
Are you in love with yourself?

Valentines is here again and everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with images and symbols of love.

As you plan for (or plan to ignore) the 14th take a moment to ask yourself,

“Do I love me? I mean do I really love me, all of me?”

If you answered yes, congratulations, you are one of the select few imbued with the confidence and grace of a person who is truly comfortable in their own skin.

If your answer was no, don’t despair,  you are not alone!

Often we believe the worst of ourselves.
We see ourselves to be truly worthless, terrible and undeserving of love and affection. This type of low self-esteem produces emotions like guilt, anger and fear, resulting in a complicated life filled with punishment, blame and self-doubt.

Unfortunately, the people in your life pick up on these feelings of worthlessness and in turn they will treat you as if you are worthless.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
-Anonymous

The quality of your life depends on the quality of the relationship you have with yourself.

Begin today by changing the way you see yourself and you will change the way the world sees you.

Try this visualization exercise:

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and look into your cradle when you were 3 months old.

What do you see?

A beautiful, pure, tender, perfect, vulnerable and trusting baby-your parents beautiful daughter/son. Now open your eyes and look in the mirror. You are still your parents’ wonderful child. If you look closely you will realize that child has not gone anywhere, deep down that child is still part of you.

You are unique, you were born with a purpose.
You were born prepared to enjoy the adventure that is life.
In the wise words of King David.

"Truly, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

It is true that your words, your dreams and your thoughts have the power to create conditions in your life.

Here are some tips to begin seeing yourself through the eyes of love

  • Watch what you say.  If you keep saying that you can’t find someone to love or believe in you, your very thoughts will attract more experiences to confirm your beliefs.

  • Listen to the words you use when you talk about yourself and you will start to see the negative patterns.
    Replace these negative thoughts and patterns with positive affirmations of love, hope and faith.

  • Give yourself a break.  Each time we criticize ourselves the level of our energy drops.

  • From today choose how you want to see yourself, then  think,  speak,  behave  and  feel  as if you are already living it.

    "Become the change you want to see in your world."
    - Gandhi

  • Enhance your originality.  Identify those aspects of yourself that stand out and are different, then make them uniquely yours. It may be your infectious smile or your ability to really listen to others.

  • Concentrate on being  and not doing. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to havewhat you want.

  • Don’t be afraid  to believe that you can have what you want and deserve. Remember it takes courage to look a ourselves with loving eyes and to begin the process of transformation.

    What are you giving yourself for Valentine’s Day?

    Imagine you have just won the lotto:

    What would you do for yourself with your winnings?
    In what ways would you spoil yourself ?

    Make a list then number these items in order of importance to you for improving your self-image. Consider what you have written.

    How many of these things will truly make a difference in the way you see yourself. Scratch out the ones that won’t.

    Now analyze your list. Is there anything that you can do now? Make it your goal this month to give yourself at least one item on your list.

    Be gender sensitive

    Sexual harassment can be seen as a very subjective thing, varying from one individual to the next.

    Cultures,  morals  and  different personalities  must all be taken into context when dealing with sexual harassment.

    For example a joke that one person finds distinctly amusing, may leave another extremely uncomfortable.

    Sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited behaviour of a sexual nature that undermines the basic integrity of the employment relationship, where the recipient has rejected the behaviour.
    How to Avoid Sexual Harassment in the workplace

    To keep things simple and avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings in the office, it is important to always make an effort to be sensitive to others.

    By learning about and respecting the customs of both your colleagues and clients, you will find them both easier to understand and relate to.

    Here are a few guidelines to help prevent misunderstandings and problems in the work place regarding sexual harassment:

  • Avoid showing inappropriate physical affection to others.

  • Remember that cross-gender superficial intimacy remains a cultural taboo for most Muslims and many Hindus.

  • Avoid using terms of endearments such as “love”, “sweetheart” or “darling”. This is a very common practice in South Africa and can cause endless problems especially in a multi-cultural setting. If a term of address upsets you simply make it clear to the offending party how you would like to be addressed.
    “Please don’t call me “sweetie”. My name is Samantha”

  • Avoid telling sexist, religious and/or crude jokes at work.

  • Remain friendly yet professional at all times andtreat everyone at the workplace, regardless of their gender as equals

  • If it occurs only once, a polite yet firm reprimand may be all that is needed to diffuse the situation.

    What to do when you are a victim of sexual harassment at the office

    “Harass” is defined as,” to trouble/ worry by repeated attacks.’

    This implies that sexual harassment is a repeated behavior.

    Sexual harassment can appear in many forms:

    Remember that if at any stage the harassed party “partakes" in any form of a relationship with the harasser, this immediately makes him/ her a consenting party, leaving no grounds for a complaint.

    Threat or Blackmail   - When someone expects or demands sexual favours in return for recognition within the company

    Physical   - This is the most common form of sexual harassment and involves bottom-pinching, a lingering hand, kissing to sexual assault and rape. It also includes a strip search where a member of the opposite sex is present.

    Verbal   - This includes suggestive comments with, sex- related jokes, comments containing sexual innuendos, graphic comments regarding your body and unwelcome and inappropriate questions and discussions regarding your sex-life.

    Non-Verbal   - These range from prolonged eye-contact to lewd gestures, indecent exposure or the display of sexually explicit pictures and objects

    Environmental   - this involves working in an environment, such as an office filled with Playboy Pin-ups, that makes one uncomfortable.

    Outlined here are a few options and courses of action to be taken should you be the victim of sexual harassment.

    Request a copy of the company’s sexual harassment policy and follow the guidelines within. If there is no policy, try the following:

  • Be assertive and confront the perpetrator immediately. Do not leave things of this nature to simmer below the surface.

  • Remember that when confronting someone with regards to their behaviour to remain calm, clear and polite. Do not use aggressive or threatening language. A confrontation that is aggressive may be construed as an attack or a threat and is likely to only exasperate the situation.

  • Explain that you would like to keep the relationship strictly professional and that their behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable.

  • If this approach does not work, report the matter to your immediate supervisor or HR manager. If the offensive party is your supervisor, then approach his/ her immediate manager.

  • As harassers frequently pick on more than one person, a few discreet inquiries could reveal that you are not the only victim. A group complaint is even more likely to be taken more seriously.

  • A well compiled complaint with straight facts and little emotion is the best way to ensure you are taken seriously. Always focus on the facts when laying a complaint.

  • Do keep written records of incidents and remember that a formal complaint should be in writing.

  • If a complaint is not taken seriously after following all these steps it is advisable to take legal action regarding the matter.

  • You are entitled to take the matter to the CCMA and in extreme cases the Commission on Gender Equality may step in.

  • If the harassment has involved physical or sexual abuse, a case should be filed with the police immediately.

    "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."

    -Bill Wilson

    Next month we look at:

    Balancing work and play
    Converting Summer basics into Autumn style

    Professional Impressions would like to credit the following publications for information used in 'Be Gender Sensitive':

    A new guide to Business Etiquette - Frances Beasley
    Cultural Considerations - Guy MacLeod
    Business Etiquette for the 21st Century - Lynne Brennan
    How to say no, your guide to sexual harassment at work - Marie Claire magazine, October 2000

    Pictures:
    'O' Magazine - June 2003
    Communicate Clearly - Robert Heller

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    Make Your First Impression the Lasting One
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