Why Writing About Yourself is Like Applying Makeup Without a Mirror

13 Jan 2019

I remember my first experience with lipstick. I was 3 and my best friend, Alison, and I had been left alone for a few minutes in my bathroom.

We spotted my mother’s beautiful Helena Rubenstein’s Waterproof True Red in its gloriously shiny ribbed gold tube on our pink bathroom hand basin.

Alison and I looked at each other for a second, giggled together in conspiratorial glee, and then decided to try putting it on.

Well, putting on lipstick was considerably harder than it looked, and before long we had it smeared in angry red slashes across our lips.

At this stage we decided that more was the only way to fix it, so ended up coating our full faces and hair with the tube of rapidly disappearing True Red lipstick.

It took two months until the red was finally removed from our hair, and more than a few days before our bottoms could sit comfortably again after the punishment we received.

The Teen Years

Fast forward a few years, and I hit my teens right in the middle of the 70s. This was the era when Charlie perfume was worn by every teenage wannabe, and bright blue cream eye-shadow in little pots from Yardley was liberally applied the second you left the school grounds.

With all the swagger of teenage years, and with my friends telling me I looked great, I would confidently head on the school bus to the local library where I would try and catch the eye of the students from the local boy’s school.

Unfortunately, although I had learned from my lipstick experience, my carefully applied blue eyeshadow always looked as if a large paint roller had been used somewhere in the process.

This was possibly because the only mirror I had was on the side of my lipstick case (thanks Avon), so would only show a teeny fraction of my eye at the time, and the makeup was being applied in the back of a bumpy school bus as it hurtled down the hill.

However, I thought I looked wonderful, so I didn’t know the reality of what I looked like.

Halfway Decent

As the years went on, and with many lessons from our Grooming and Poise class behind me, I could create halfway decent makeup given enough time, good lighting and a decent mirror.

Now some women, with a natural skill honed by hours practising in front of a mirror, can confidently whip up a full face of makeup with no mirror.

I am not one of those women.

If I try to apply makeup without a mirror, I give Pennywise a run for his money.

Looking Good!

I learned through now cringe-worthy 80s glamour shoots, that having your hair and makeup professionally done for photos makes a difference to how you appear.

With professional hair and makeup, you appear like you, but an even more beautiful, stylish and together version than normal. You look like you on the best possible days, where you are confident, amazing and awesome.

A good makeup technician sees your best features, and through skilful application of product, they make your eyes “pop” that makes them breathtaking in a way that you never noticed before.

They also see your large pores and one eyebrow higher than the other, and minimise these flaws so they are not noticeable.

From then on, whenever I had a big event to attend or wanted to make the best possible impression in a photo, I had my hair done and either had the local makeup counter or a professional makeup technician work their magic.

After all, I wanted to present the best possible version of myself at major events or when I was having my image recorded for posterity.

The Bloke Experience

I am sure blokes have a similar experience of learning the shave.

The first attempts at shaving usually are accompanied by band-aids and scattered remaining stubble patches.

As the years go on, band-aids disappear, and most days the shave looks pretty decent until you experience your first professional barber shave. You never knew your skin was so soft! And your face positively glows. What have you been missing out on?

Blokes go to a barber and get a professional shave for the same reasons that women get their hair and makeup done. They do it because it makes them look awesome!

What does this have to do with business?

Many small business owners start by having a go at writing their own copy or building their own websites. After all, how hard can it be?

Sometimes they end up looking like my lipstick experience, at which time many of them call me in a panic.

If the small business owner has a bit more confidence and bit of reading under their belt, the results often look like they have the equivalent of blue eyeshadow applied with a teeny tiny mirror on the back of a bumpy bus.

However, they think they look wonderful, and all their friends tell them what a good job they have done, so they confidently sail out into the world hoping to catch the eye of passing clients, without realising the impression they are making.

If they have someone on their team who is not too bad a writer or web designer or they are willing to learn the essentials, the website ends up looking halfway decent. Yes, it took a long time to do, but their results make them look nice and presents their business in a good light.

And then there are those that realise that for life’s big events or to be recorded for posterity, that it doesn’t hurt to put your best face on to the world.

These are the business owners that hire professional copywriters and web designers to highlight their best features, minimise their flaws and present the business at their amazing best.

Why others can see your best bits and you can’t

There’s a whole branch of psychology that explores how you present yourself to the world, and why people see different things than you can about yourself.

In my early years working in executive leadership development, one of the tools we used was something called a Johari Window developed by Joseph Luften and Harry Ingham.

In one process for working with the Johari Window, an individual chooses from a list of words that they feel describe their personality. Their peers get the same list of words and make their selection of words that they feel describe the individual.

The words are then mapped out onto a simple grid.


Words that both the person and their peers agree on go into the open quadrant. These are open secrets.

Words that the person doesn’t select, but their peers do, go into the blind spot quadrant. That’s because these are the person’s blind spots – they can’t see them, but others can. One way to discover your blind spots is through asking for feedback.

Words that the person chooses but their peers don’t go into the Façade quadrant. These are the bits that the person does not show or disclose to others and can include fears or personal information.

Words that neither the person or their peers select go into the not knows quadrant.

Read more about the Johari Window

How does Johari relate to our analogy?

When you do your makeup or copywriting/web design, you are working in the open quadrant. You are highlighting what you know about yourself to the world.

The results you get depend on your skills, experience and how big your mirror is. If you only see or know a tiny part of yourself, that is all that you can present to the world.

You may also fall foul of a range of psychological traps including Imposter Syndrome or fear of not being enough, which can also limit the effectiveness of your words.

When you have a professional work with you, they are working not only with the open information; they can also see your blind spots.

A good professional goes beyond what is obvious, and through skilled questioning combined with their experience, they can find and display truly awesome parts of yourself that you were simply not aware of. They also can see flaws that you are not aware of, and work to minimise those for you.

They are not only large mirrors that can show you the face you are currently presenting to the world, they can shine a light on parts of you that you never noticed before.

Of course, through self-reflection and personal development, or through getting feedback and testimonials from clients you can discover your own blind spots, and work to enhance/minimise them in the same way you can learn to create killer eyeliner wings with enough time and tutorials. However, most people prefer to cut through the learning curve and time demands and hire someone to work with them.

By seeing yourself through other’s eyes, you get to see a better, more awesome version of yourself than you could have imagined.

So, this year in your business, are you going to go it alone, or do you want to see yourself through someone else’s eyes and have your best possible face shown to the world?

If this is your year to shine, drop us a line. We look forward to showing you how amazing you really are!



If you could see yourself through our eyes

If you could just see yourself through our eyes.

We see you overwhelmed and confused about your business.

But we also see the seeds of your potential … if just someone took the time to explain how to get to that next step.

We see that HOW you do what you do is unique and wonderful – even if you don’t know it yet.

We know that what you do matters.

We see the difference that your business makes to people and to families. To you, it may be small, but to them, it may be life-changing.

If you could just see yourself through our eyes

You would see how marvellous your business really is.

We know you are awesome.

It’s time you showed other people too.

About the Author

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle is a self-confessed multipotentialite. While she is now retired from the corporate rat race, she still shamelessly dallies in her latest topics of fascination. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect decaf coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.

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