Our Reputation is our Currency
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” — Benjamin Franklin
One of our greatest assets is our reputation. Our reputation is a reflection of our character and our calling card for our future. Our reputation is the current accumulation of the impression others hold of our accomplishments. It is the net result of what we have done and the way we have done it. Even those who have chosen to produce nothing have a reputation. We each have a reputation. There is no escaping the fact that others consider our credibility and set expectations based on our reputation, and that either opens or closes doors for our future.
Our reputation serves to provide opportunity or stand in our way to our next success. In a way, it serves as a form of currency. We add to our account when we accomplish something that produces respect in the eyes of our observers. When we complete a task or activity or produce something of value, the net result of that accomplishment gets credited to our reputation. Completing a project with excellence, helping someone in need, taking time to teach another, producing a better widget, all are things that get credited to our account in a positive way. Think of these as a net deposit to our account.
We make withdrawals from our account when we do something that damages our reputation. Claiming someone else’s work as our own, not meeting our commitment, not completing the work we were paid to produce and other things of that nature, withdraw from our account. The rate of withdrawal may be much more rapid than the rate of deposit of positive experiences.
We borrow from our account when we ask other people to trust us or to trust someone else based on our recommendation. When we ask people to move forward with something they are not sure about, they do so based on the value of our reputation. If in their eyes we have proven knowledgable and trustworthy then they will take a risk based on our advice. We have loaned out our credibility and reputation in the form of trust. If our advice proves trustworthy then our account will be credited with interest. If our advice proves not to be trustworthy, then we will have lost the value of their trust and reduce the balance in our reputation account.
Everything we do or say impacts our reputation and impacts how other people see us. With every interaction we are either adding or subtracting from our balance. We either continue to prove our trustworthiness or we diminish it. Every transaction either adds or subtracts from our account.
More than ever our reputation is being measured in public. Social media like Facebook and Twitter make it extremely convenient for others to vocalize their opinions of us. Metrics are available such as likes or retweets. If we publish, our readers may make comments. When we produce something our product may be reviewed on Amazon or Yelp and our comments may produce reactions. Consider that even our credit rating is a measure of our reputation. All of these things drive the total picture of who we are and either raise or lower the balance in our reputation account.
Our reputation is earned, not inherited or purchased. There is no amount of money that can buy a good reputation. Money may be spent to create positive messages, but in the end it is the people that we interact with that determine our reputation. Eventually, our true character will filter through the publicity and set the tone of our reputation. Our reputation is driven by our actions and how they are perceived by others.
It takes a long time to build a positive balance in our account but we can throw it away in a few minutes. We need to be careful how we spend our reputation. Do we continue to use it as capital to build greater success or do we throw it away by compromising our values?
Here are 4 tips for managing our reputation account:
1) Live our values. Ultimately our true values will be revealed. We are better served to understand our values and live up to our standards. Anything else will eventually be revealed in our reputation.
2) Think before we act. Is this action something that we could be proud of or does it fall short of our character? Pause to evaluate our action and not just follow the crowd.
3) Consider how our actions will be perceived. We need to act according to our values, but we need to do so in a way that considers how it will be received. Act in a manner that is encouraging and uplifting, even if the action is providing adjusting feedback.
4) Learn from our mistakes. We are not perfect and it is beyond our capability to be so. However, we can strive to do better next time. As we demonstrate our commitment to following our values our failures will be diminished and our reputation will be reinforced.
In the end it is all about living up to our values and making sure our actions reflect that. The accumulation of the net of our deposits and withdrawals from our account sets the value of our reputation.
Thank you for spending time with me today. I am very interested in hearing more about how you spend your reputation account.