First impressions make all the difference whenever we meet new people, on a first date, at a job interview etc. First impressions pave the way for what’s coming next. First impressions tend to “stick.”
What is often overlooked? The “first impression” we experience every time when we come HOME. Let your home help you with YOUR best first impression. For you and the rest of the world. WHY? When you feel empowered and at your best, you attract positive situations into your life. Your entrance calls in the new.
Uplift yourself. Attract support and fresh energies in times of stagnation, or whenever you feel like a change. These 13 insights and DIY steps will help boost your self-confidence. They are do-able, rewarding and fun.
1. The Basics: What Is Imprinting?
Yes, we start with a goose. When a baby greyleg goose breaks her eggshell open and steps into the world for the first time, this is what happens: Baby goose will identify the first moving object as her mother.
No matter if the moving object is Mama Goose, George Clooney or a soccer ball. No kidding. Scientist Konrad Lorenz was awarded the Nobel prize for his research on the phenomenon called “imprinting.”
In human behavior, imprinting happens every time we see someone or something for the first time. Within the first 3 seconds, first impressions are literally imprinted upon us. They stick with us and are hard to overrule.
2. The Good News? You Are Not a Goose!
What you imprint on yourself, you bring into the world. Your entrance door and the space you enter upon opening it create your unique “first impression.” For you and the rest of the world.
With one priceless advantage compared to little baby geese: You can CHANGE it ANYTIME. The magic of your home lies in its power to overrule a given situation and make it better. Any time you decide to do so.
Aren’t you glad you’re not a goose?
3. Your Best Self-Image: You Are Worth It
You create yourself within the space that surrounds you daily. You and your space are a winning team. If you live alone, the most important person in your home is you. Not family, neighbors or guests. You deserve to give yourself the best first impression possible. Because you ARE WORTH feeling empowered, right when you make that first step into your home.
When you feel at your best, you attract positive situations into your life.
4. Your Face, the Entrance Door and the Power of Now
Your door is the face you show to the world. For you, looking at your door is like looking into a mirror. How do you show up to the world? What does your door show to you?
Do you see something that needs fixing? The idea of organizing help or paying for it seems overwhelming?
Relax. Do whatever you can do yourself – with the Power of Now. Don’t wait for the perfect thing to arrive. Or the perfect help. Do it yourself. NOW. The little effort (or even just a gesture) to immediately act once you have detected what needs to be fixed, will raise your energy. It will bring more of the good stuff your way. It will empower you. You will feel proud of yourself.
So, let me ask you:
Is your door clean? Wipe or polish it.
Does the door color need to be freshened up? – Fix little scratched spots with whatever is at hand. The kid’s crayons or water colours are instant helpers until it is done professionally (if that´s necessary at all).
Is your name visible – preferably at eye level? – Unless you have good reasons to stay “undercover,” MAKE YOURSELF SEEN. The world wants to call you by your name.
If you have no name plate (yet): Write your name in beautiful letters on a cardboard (or have your grandkids do it for you). Or cut out your name in printed letters (it’s on your mail, in case you have no printer). Stick it on the door with Scotch tape until you get a proper solution. Or place it in a little stick-on-frame.
Is your name plate shiny? A little polishing up never hurts. After all, you clean your face and teeth twice a day.
In some buildings, only door numbers are appropriate, no names. If this is the case: Make your door as “personal” as possible. See next steps.
Be aware: Your doormat or even just the cleanliness of your door (and the floor in front of it) can make all the difference between you and the neighbor. Little things go a long way. Remember: You are unique.
5. Your Guardian Friend: The Doormat
Your doormat is the landing spot of your outside entry area. It is the grounding and foundation to safely step on.
Is your doormat in good shape? You deserve to walk on safe grounds.
If it carries a message, is it a positive one? A fun “Keep out” Pirates of the Caribbean style might not be what you wish to communicate today.
No message on the doormat is perfectly fine.
Does the doormat reflect your present situation or a positive future? If you still have a “family doormat” but currently live alone, update it! Even if one day you may have a “Happy Couple” message again (See 13.)
Is your doormat clean and without signs of too much wear and tear?
Replacing a worn-out doormat is one of the most rewarding investments in yourself. Doesn’t need to be by Yves Saint-Laurent. $10 to $15 will do the job.
6. Your Biggest Fans: Plants, Wreaths, Doorbells, Knockers & Co
Are there healthy, well-maintained plants next to your door? Is your doorbell functioning appropriately? Does it have a pleasant sound? Is there an attractive door knocker? A door wreath? Is your door decor plentiful (with a risk of visual overkill) or one proud statement piece?
Make yourself seen (and heard) as authentic and exactly as you wish to be seen and heard:
Replace or repair anything that is broken/malfunctioning.
Change your decor with the seasons. This shows that you go with the flow and stay on top of things.
Free plants of rotten leaves. This signals health, beauty and self-care. If that’s too much maintenance: replace them with high quality faux plants or have no plants at all.
Remove objects you don´t like.
Remove obsolete items that do not speak of the wonderful woman that you are TODAY.
Having no door wreath is better than one that is unattractive, dusty and out-of-season.
Remove clutter close to your door. Put things in a relaxed state of order.
Are you greeting yourself with an outdoor shoe cabinet or the like? Remember that this is the first message you are giving to yourself and everybody else. Everything stored outside your entrance area needs to be in good shape, ordered and clean – and something you feel absolutely fine about.
The world starts with YOU, and your entrance is your “mission statement.” To be “in a good place” means you are thriving; all is well. “A good place” is a healthy place, especially as we grow in years.
Do you experience this good feeling right as you enter your home? Does your entrance signal “good place” to you and everybody else?
8. Prepare for Good Things to Happen
Welcoming entrance areas are pleasant to be in no matter their size and even if they only serve as transition space to other rooms. They should be light, free of clutter and well organized.
Avoid signs of overcrowding. Create clarity and a relaxed state of order.
The garbage bag is not placed here for an extended time, waiting for its disposal.
A mountain of shoes signals a mountain of obstacles. Clear it. Ideally, shoes and coats are stored away.
If coats are visible, make sure the coat rack is not overloaded with garments. Honor the seasons: In summer, store winter coats away.
If you like company, have enough space for a guest’s coat. Having space for a potential guest, not needing to remove anything when someone shows up, means having space for positive relationships.
On the same note, have a spot where to put your shopping bags. Signal to yourself that new things (events, objects, opportunities, people) are welcome and safe in your space.
9. Be Seated, Be Safe
Have a chair, a bench or a stool next to your entrance door, sturdy enough for heavier weights.
In addition to sitting down when putting shoes on or off, you may place your shopping bags there.
A seat signals relaxation. Letting go of the stress of the outside world. Changing your pace. You are safe. You are welcome. You have arrived.
10. Honor the Brilliance of the Queen in You: Make Yourself Shine!
On a theatre stage, lighting sets the mood for whatever comes next. Sufficient lighting is especially important in the entrance area:
Multiple sources of light, switched-on easily, make you feel safe. They create a clear and brilliant first impression. No hidden agendas.
Bring in additional table or floor lamps – not just one ceiling or suspension light.
Always keep extra light bulbs at hand so you never run out of enlightenment.
11. Uniquely You: The Statement Piece
Once in your entrance area, give your eyes a field of depth. Make them travel toward an attractive statement piece that speaks of the unique YOU:
a signature wall in a special color (that brings out the best in you),
a glass of shells, a basket of thrift wood, a favorite coffee table book,
a painting, a picture shelf with a superstar photograph of yours,
a favorite table lamp, a souvenir from a meaningful trip, a bowl of fresh fruits, a flower vase.
If doggie’s or kitty’s bed is the first or only thing to see, it might symbol: Just me and my little furry darling. No one else. If that´s what you want: fine! If not, try a different visual (and olfactory) focus: see above.
Artificial flowers are fine as long as they are of decent quality and change with the seasons. Add fresh leaves from a walk in the woods/park.
12. One-Room Apartment? Create an “Arrival Moment” or “Landing Zone”
The entry area serves as a front porch: Not everybody is allowed into the innermost space of your home. A healthy portion of privacy makes us feel safe from the overwhelm of the outside world.
With a one-room apartment, there are two ways to create that healthy “moment of arrival” to keep the viewer from investigating your most private areas right at first sight:
Their purpose is to stop the visitor’s eyes symbolically, if only for the landing moment. Shop inside your apartment. You may already have the perfect piece to help you out:
Consoles or small tables, with an eye-catching table lamp or a flower arrangement.
Book shelves or folding screens.
Ceiling pendants, dividing curtains, strings of pearls or other curtain-like deco objects that you may walk through. Ceiling pendants should be above head level, with any light aiming at the ceiling or floor (not straight into your eyes, you don´t want to be blinded), and high enough so you don’t bump your head.
Dividing walls, sliding doors or light, see-through structures such as thin wooden panels. It´s OK when they move a bit.
If structures or furniture for visual separation are no option, create a landing zone with the magic area rug.
Place an area rug next to the door. Rugs define and ground different areas. They symbolically separate spaces for different purposes.
When you have no space for a table, console or shelf: Put a basket or bag on the wall next to your door where to drop keys, coins, the mail – whatever you clear out of your pockets upon entering. Give yourself the chance to have your stuff in order and ready to be found when you look for it.
13. Anchor the Good Stuff
Something (or someone) new has entered your life? A new resource for extra income, healing from an injury or disease, new friends, a new hobby, travel plans or a new romance? Have you finally made peace with some old situation or person? Do you wish to support your calling in of the new?
Anchor this life supporting and uplifting change by investing in a new doormat. This guardian of the entry way has a big impact as it is used whenever you arrive at home or step out into the world.
A new doormat is the most obvious signal that something positive is happening.
Every time you step on it, getting used to (or hopeful about) the wonderful new thing in your life, you are stepping on solid and trustworthy new ground.
Let’s Have a Conversation:
Has anything new stepped into your life lately? Do you feel that it coincided with changes inside your home? Is your home saying “welcome” to you, right at the entrance? Have you experimented with shifting things around? Share your story. Let´s talk about changes that empower us.
Beate Schilcher is the founder of Raumwirkt * Happy People in Happy Places. She is an entrepreneur, communications specialist and author. Beate is passionate about helping people re-invent themselves and unfold their true potential inside healthy living environments. Californian by soul, Beate currently lives in Vienna, Austria. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.