I’ve got a monster brow…seriously…it’s huge. And, if left to itself (notice the singular is being used here) it would overtake my face like kudzu.
On top of that, I’m contemplative. So I walk around looking like I’m playing Chess, constantly in deep thought (or at least pretending to be so I don’t have to meet new people… just kidding!…mostly)
All that to say, the combo makes me look a bit unapproachable if you don’t know me.
Recently I went through a 360 evaluation. I would recommend it to anyone in a leadership position. The basic idea is that people fill out an anonymous survey about you and you get to see the gory details! I learned a bunch more than the fact that I look like a troll.

Here are some actual comments from the survey:
• Needs to watch his first impressions. While he is a very caring guy, many 
people don’t see that side of him.
• Comes off too serious when you don’t know him. More of a glass ‘half empty’ guy at times.
• Can sometimes be quiet, seem un-approachable, but other times can be very outgoing, talkative, etc. I think he has to work at being out-going.

After reading these surveys, I found myself wondering, “Is it fair that people judge me by something I have very little control over?”

That’s a dumb question because it doesn’t matter.
The fact is that they do and they WILL judge me by that first impression. I know it doesn’t seem fair but we all do it!
And because of that, my effectiveness with people will be limited by who I naturally am.
But now that I’m aware of this fact, I can put energy into “looking” approachable. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not faking anything here. I want to be approachable! I AM approachable. I just need to realize that I can either put energy into smiling a bit more…or wearing T-shirts that say so. And, on top of that, I don’t want to be the guy that they are describing.

Here’s my question…
What is an outside person’s first impression of you?

This is a very important question for those of us who want to make a difference in the lives of students and children.
Maybe it’s something you can’t help. Maybe it’s something you do on purpose. I’m not saying you need to look a certain way. Just be aware of how you come off. I’m not saying you don’t have the right to look how you want to look. Just make sure the way you look matches the message you are wanting others to receive about who you are.

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Tom Shefchunas

Tom is the North Point Ministries Multi-Campus Director of Transit (Middle School). Tom’s passion involves working with campus directors and their teams, as well as recruiting and developing the hundreds of volunteer small group leaders it takes to pull off Transit at the five churches of North Point Ministries. He is the co-founder of Uthmin.net, a place for middle school ministers to gather. Tom also co-wrote Lead Small with Reggie Joiner, a resource for children and student small group leaders. Tom and his wife Julie live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three children, Mac, Joey and Cooper.

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