When you were born, your parents chose a name for you. They knew it was an important decision because it would identify you for life. Your name, however, is only a label; it isn’t half as important as what it represents. The fact is, although many people may share the same name, your reputation is yours and yours alone.
Your reputation doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a reflection of who you are and how you choose to live your life. What do you want your name to say about you? Do you want it to say that you’re a giver or a taker? You’re a hard worker or a slacker? You’re a loyal companion or a fair-weather friend? You’re as honest as the day is long or you have trouble with the truth?
When you’re not around, your reputation will speak for you.
Your Name Is Your Calling Card
In years past, when we lived in small communities, your reputation was confined to a tight circle. Today however, with the advent of social media, your words and actions can go viral with the touch of a button. That has serious consequences — your reputation can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It can open doors to marvelous opportunities or ensure that every door is slammed right in your face.
Your reputation tells the world who you really are. It will tell others whether they can place their trust in you, whether you’re easy to do business with, and whether you keep your commitments. It will also tell them if you’re selfish, if they have to keep an eye on you, and if you’re a bad influence. Ouch! The good news is that your reputation isn’t the result of luck; it’s a direct consequence of what you say and do. Protect your reputation like it’s the most valuable asset you own. Because it is!
Make a Name for Yourself
“How do I build a good name for myself?” you ask. Some folks may advise you to manage your personal brand. The truth is, building a reputation isn’t about managing your brand; it’s about doing what’s right to begin with. Your reputation is based on the cumulative sum of your words and actions. The more consistent your behavior is, the greater clarity you’re providing to others. That will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind who you are and what you represent.
Some folks think they can fool others by saying one thing and doing another. While you may be able to mislead someone in the short term, it’ll ultimately come back to bite you. And when it does, you’ll be forced to do damage control. If you think that’s worth the risk, you’re sadly mistaken. The fact is that it’s much harder to repair a damaged reputation than to build a good one in the first place — you can’t unring a bell.
Even though trust takes a long time to build, restoring it takes even longer. First, you have to be forgiven; next, you have to break down emotional walls; and last, you have to prove that you’re worthy of trust and respect. That doesn’t happen overnight — people aren’t quick to forget.
Even though your reputation may be as good as gold, what matters most is that you feel good about yourself and you’re proud of what your name stands for. Do you care not only about where life has taken you, but about how you got there? That means setting high standards, living with honor and integrity, and holding yourself accountable for your behavior. It means shifting your mindset from “I may be able to get away with it,” to letting your conscience be your guide. It doesn’t matter how other people view you if you can’t face the mirror each day. It’s your life to live. Own it! You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
What Does Your Name Say About You?
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