What the Amish can teach you about your profile picture

I live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the heart of Amish country.  Nope, that’s not a joke.  I am a transplant from New York City.  I moved here about 7 years ago when my wife and I were dating. To say that I have experienced a bit of culture shock is somewhat of an understatement.

As a byproduct of my relocation, I have been exposed to more Amish folks than I had previously, since one typically doesn’t see many Amish people in New York City. 

 
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It’s interesting to observe these folks.  They get to and from as quickly as they are able, whether by horse drawn buggy or on foot, and they work non-stop. Their work ethic is top-notch, as is their attention to the quality of that work.

In my opinion, the most interesting characteristic I observed is the anonymity with which they go about their lives.  It doesn’t seem that the Amish care to be recognized. This is evidenced by the fact that they never have their photos taken.

I bet that has you wondering how or why they would accept such a degree of anonymity.  Each Amish person functions within a larger community, and the community is supportive of its members.

 

Can you imagine going through your life as an anonymous member of a larger community?  Sure, you’d get plenty done, but no one would recognize your accomplishments, or pay you for excelling at your duties.

The Amish teach us is that if you want to stand out, you need to make a great first impression. Having a high quality profile picture is the best way to introduce yourself to potential clients or employers. It sets the tone for further interaction so you can build on that connection.

 
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While anonymity is a belief the Amish hold to, this belief probably wouldn’t work very well in modern society.

It’s hard enough doing business these days. It’s even more difficult if you’re unknown or remain anonymous. Typically, people want to know who you are, and what you look like when contemplating whether to do business with you. 

Additionally, you want to be recognized. You have worked hard, gone through your own trials and tribulations, and have established yourself as a thought leader and/or expert in your field.  Flying under the radar would be a tremendous disservice to yourself, your accomplishments, and most importantly, to your clients and potential clients. 

 

Someone, somewhere, needs a service provider or product manufacturer like you.  If you haven’t established your digital identity, or are laying low like the Amish, you become a non-entity. These clients will have to find someone else. Someone less experienced, or less capable.  Worse yet, they might go unattended. All of these are unacceptable, especially since you are the expert in your field, and providing exceptional service is a point of pride for you.

The point is, don’t go through life as the LinkedIn profile silhouette. Take pride in that picture, stand out from the crowd, and be recognized as the authority in your field of practice.