You only have one chance to make a good first impression. 

Intentional or not, people will notice what you do and say and how you look. How many people actually consider that the way they begin their morning can make a difference the entire day?

Choosing to put your best foot forward is one way to frame positive vibes, plans and intentions for 2021.

How we present ourselves to the world each morning is the first of many options we are most fortunate to decide, along with the others we may cope with. It is said, before you get out of bed, visualize how you’d like the day to go. After a moment of seeing yourself smiling, enjoying the job or plans, accomplishing goals, feeling hopeful, and even thankful, it sets a tone of positive expectation, intention and gratitude. 

Attire matters.

What really matters is what represents you, that day. Perhaps because I grew up with a mom who taught dancing lessons, I adopted the idea that really we wear a costume for the role we play. Nurses in scrubs, law enforcement in uniforms or bankers in suits – certain expectations come with what we wear and the job we choose.

Work attire varies by office but is generally more conservative or dressy than after hours or weekend wear. Although with people wearing pajamas to shop, that is a whole other faux pas.

It’s about making a statement that says, “I matter and my clothes are the first impression of that fact.”

Make an effort to show the world you care about yourself and have a lot to bring to the table. 

Throwing on wrinkled jeans, a stained T-shirt and not bothering to brush your hair might say, “I am depressed, I don’t care, leave me alone, or my washing machine has been broken for a week.” Whatever the motivation, the message is a form of, “I do not care how I look; I do not care about myself.”

For those who do care, and assuming you’ve selected a shirt or dress that makes you feel confident and pleased, make up is optional. Accessorize and add a scent that says, “I want to offer an aura of mystery or light mist of spring to my persona.”

First impressions also include nonverbal communication, and how we treat others. Instead of the many rude experiences we all can remember, try to recall a few people who exemplify good manners or charisma. Select people who are pleasant and make us feel good. 

Ever bump into someone and be ever-so polite while hurrying to an appointment or job interview, only to discover the person hiring was the one you were kind to? Or the opposite, maybe grumble when someone in a crowd apologizes for stepping on the toe of your new shoes, on the way to an interview, and discover kindness might have been in order because the person hiring is now staring not so politely. Oops.

With all our plans, dreams and goals, prayer can be the best tool one has to live our best life, which starts with first impressions. Taking time to listen to God’s still, small voice can bring delight to life through us.

What you say, and how you say it, may only matter once you’ve made a positive first impression, but it can seldom right a wrong impression.

As long as we realize a first impression is a choice - our choice, how we appear, what we wear, how we speak, if the manners our family hopefully taught us are in place – how we prepare to face the day with confidence, charm and a smile, or as a mess, speaks volumes before we ever open our mouth to say, “good morning.”