Friday, February 13, 2009

Garden Views: Your Public Image

“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
……Robert Burns

There’s nothing like reading a story about yourself in the newspaper (see to give you a jolt. There are the little errors that made me cringe, as well as the flattering presentation that made me blush and wonder whether the reporter had interviewed a completely different person.

Well, maybe she did. There’s no way for her to know that the thread that connects my gardening work to my environmental advocacy only became clear to me two weeks before the interview, after a lifetime of thinking that they were separate-but-parallel interests. How fortunate for us both that I could speak with clarity, now that I know they lie along the same continuum.

Nor did she see me poking through the closet, searching out something to wear that would make me look authoritative, but friendly and approachable.

Makeup. Enough so that I didn’t look washed-out, but not so much as to look like the dragon-lady. Hair, there’s always the matter of the hair. Well, at least I have some. Too late anyway, the picture already appeared in print.

No one sees the self-doubt and insecurities that we struggle with on a daily basis; they only see the resolution.

The reporter left her own mark, in what she chose to put into my story and what to leave out. That’s an important clue regarding what others find interesting about our lives and our work. When you have the opportunity for this kind of feedback, use it to evaluate whether your public image is congruent with what you want it to be. If not, assess what you need to change.

Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. Lois is seeking a publisher for her book, The Transformational Power of Gardening. Visit her blog at

1 comment:

Colleen Gonzalez said...

Since I will be photographed for the first time for the newspaper next week, you're article certainly hit home for me. I'm quite nervous, but it helps to see you made it out in one piece!