Some time ago, in my travels, I met someone who was obviously very knowledgeable in his field and widely recognized. His rapport online was impeccable and his professionalism in communications was highly intellectual. I was so excited and impressed to meet him and was not disappointed in the face to face interactions I had with him. He presented himself polished and eloquent. I walked away feeling this was truly someone I needed to learn from and decided to spend more time getting to know him as a business professional. As time went on, I started hearing others vocalize their experiences with him. At first, I brushed them off, realizing that rumors are usually just rumors and experiences for others can be analyzed by many factors. However, it was very difficult to erase the credibility behind some of the things I heard. I resolved to use my own judgment but with caution. The initial impressions I had were as the saltiness of peanuts craving more of what seemed advantageous in every way. But when “uninvited” reflections were shared about this individual on a consistent basis, it was as sour as lemonade to my palette. How is your name associated with the business you conduct and the pursuits you aspire to succeed in? An ancient proverb quotes, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
Each day, we have an opportunity to brand ourselves to others in our circles, professionally, personally and socially. Taking these opportunities for granted or assuming the old cliché, “everyone does it,” may get us by and perhaps even earn some opportunities at times. Especially, since our world around us seems to force us to “push our way to the top.” Now, let’s amplify the effects of this paradigm by adding in the repetition factor. Since we interact with so many people, we can be certain that each person has filed data into his/her memory bank about how they will associate our name when they hear it or see it in the future. Of course, it is important to realize we cannot please everyone all the time and we must be who we are. However, it is also important to recognize that we can purpose to go out of our way and choose to think beyond ourselves, to put others first. Take a moment and consider those in your circles whom you respect and trust the most. Who are they and why do you feel that way about them?
Now think about those whom you respect and trust the least. As names flash through your mind, begin to process how you want to be recognized in business and personal circles. What habits, behaviors, deeds and attitudes in each group do you want to adopt or remove from your name? Write them down and determine to train a new “brand” for yourself much like you would for your sales or marketing techniques. It is never too late.
To demonstrate the importance of this philosophy, let’s look at the chart below:
While skills, experience, talents and business savvy all have the potential to carry us a distance, nothing is more damaging than hearing too many bad reports about a name. As an example, what resonates with you with names like Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler? Both were great leaders and the contributions they have made are significant to our society but are recognized quite differently.
Take a few moments and create a list or a paragraph of what “data” you want your name to carry. Then set up a plan on what changes you will make to work on that list every day broken down into smaller goals. For example: Perhaps it’s something as simple as to smile more. Create a reminder in your calendar or on your mirror at home and consciously work at smiling every moment you think of it throughout each day. Eventually, it will become a habit for you and a benefit to others. Establishing a good name takes time, effort and determination, yet the payoff is always well worth it now and in the future.