As we think about making changes and improvements in our lives-both personal and professional-we should think about how we are perceived by others. This isn’t to say that we need to change the way we do things just to please others. However, we could help us to more intently understand the picture that we are giving others. It may give us valuable insight.

Imagine that you can take a step back from yourself, far enough back to get a good, objective look at the way you are. What do you think you would see and hear?

You already know what it's like to be you from the inside. Think for a moment how it would be to encounter you from the outside. This might be a good indication of how and why others react to what you say and do.

Consider how your words, your actions and your priorities look to others when viewed objectively. Think of the advice you would want to give if you were to observe yourself for a while from the outside.

Stand back and watch the way you spend your time. Look closely at what really has been working for you, and at what hasn’t been working well.

Certainly it is unwise to become obsessed with what others think of you, but it is smart to regularly consider your personal and professional life from an objective viewpoint. It can give you a new appreciation for your strengths and will help point out areas where you can make valuable improvements.

In your imagination, every now and then, take a step back, and take a good look. Listen to the words you use, see yourself with objective eyes, and learn new ways to make life better and better. Just maybe the look, listen, learn technique can help your personal and professional life take on a new focus.