I originally created the #BrandReputation series on social media in 2017
and now I am bringing it to the blog because it is important to remind ourselves that
people remember what we do and don't do.
Why do we care that people remember?
Because what you do and don’t do affects:
and your future.
Skills, experiences, and education are important but your character and professionalism are the deal-breakers. Deal-breakers for your employer, your customers, your friendships, and your personal and professional partnerships.
When put in this perspective, I hope it makes you want to go on this journey with me of being intentional about our brands and relationships. I don’t write this blog post because I have mastered my brand or reputation. By no means! In fact, I want to encourage you because I don't think anyone can ever truly master their reputation. It consists of small, intentional actions over time.
That may not be earth-shattering but I use “small” and “actions” and “consistently” on purpose. This is an important point and I hope you will read the following before skimming down.
All of us are good at knowing what we should do or what qualities, traits, and skills we should have in order to be a strong professional, boss, owner, parent, friend, spouse, etc. We quickly point out when someone else lacks the “should” qualities. And, unfortunately, we don’t see them in ourselves. If we do see them, we dismiss them as an exception or fluke. Or we take pride in them and think it is okay because that is how we have always been. But is it okay?
Along with this, we so badly want clarity as to who we are and what we are good at. We are desperate to find our purpose and calling especially for our careers. Sometimes we rely too heavily on others to tell us who we are instead of taking time to reflect on our actions and passions.
This is becoming more and more true as we speak in terms of personality assessment results, instead of actual actions. Hear me when I say I think personality and strengths assessments are incredible tools for conversation and personal discovery, but I think we rely too heavily on what they say we are.
Sometimes those results are speaking to the best versions of ourselves, not our actual daily actions.
So this series is about us challenging ourselves to act. To work on something new or old in order to affect our personal and professional brand reputations.
Below you will see a list of brand reputation words, short descriptions, and free cellphone wallpapers. Our list could be double what you see below but I have chosen these traits because:
They are what employers and business owners tell me are most important
They are what I see in some of the most successful professionals I work with
They are listed, referenced, and preached by countless experts
Even if you are experienced, educated and well-established in your career, I challenge you to pick one word to be intentional about this month. Maybe it is one of the words below. Or maybe it is something you know you need to work on. Maybe it is something from your last performance review or something someone said to you.
It may take a day or two of being self-aware to decide what your word is for this next month.
I encourage you to be aware of your actions, speech, and presentation. Be aware of how people respond to you.
BRAND REPUTATION WORDS
Pick one word to be intentional about this month.
Save the images below for your cell phone wallpaper.
I am not talking about creativity in the traditional sense. I am talking about approaching every challenge, problem, and opportunity with an open mind. I challenge you to approach each task and request with creativity. Contribute to the solution. Think outside the box. Be open to doing it a different way. Ask questions.
Generosity is one of those traits that can't be trained. An employer can train you in processes and develop skills, but they don't have the time to shape your attitude. And they will not be able to train a willingness to give of your time, effort, heart, mind, patience, etc. That is up to you and it can be your most powerful trait. I challenge you to give more than is required. I challenge you to go over and beyond. Be generous in all things.
Adaptability is one of my favorite traits to find in someone. The person possesses a positivity and dedication that will carry them through any challenge or unexpected issue. They are willing to work, sacrifice, and make it happen. They positively affect the attitude of their team.
I challenge you to adapt to the new people around you by listening and accepting them (don’t judge and evaluate if they fit into your world). I challenge you to adapt to the new schedule of this season with positivity. I challenge you to adapt to a new place by eagerly looking for ways to learn and serve.
Such a simple yet powerful word. Your reputation is marked by what you say and what YOU DON'T SAY.
Do you want to be better at networking? Do you want to create new friendships? Do you want a better relationship with those you love? LISTEN.
I challenge you to ask questions. I challenge you to put the phone down and the distractions and listen to their answers. If you meeting new people in this season, ask questions about the other people (what they do, what they enjoy, etc.)
I believe being confidently humble is one of the strongest character traits we can possess. It is noticeable and attractive and will make you stand out among your competition every time.
How you ask?
Being humble is a quiet confidence in your abilities while simultaneously appreciating others and desiring to learn from them. This eliminates jealousy, insecurity, cockiness, and disrespect of others.
When it is time to talk about yourself and abilities, speak from a place of being blessed to be able to do what you do. Talk about it from a place of enjoying it.
For the confident (and less humble): focus on the other person first. Don’ talk about yourself first. Ask questions. Give a compliment.
For the humble (and less confident): Here are 3 truths to hopefully give you the confidence.
People are people. They are not better than you. Just people like you.
And stop comparing yourself and start finding YOUR strengths, abilities, experience. You aren't supposed to live someone's life.
You never know how sharing your story can encourage and help someone else.
Besides adaptability, it is one of the top traits I look for in applicants because it means you meet situations head-on with a willingness and ability to find quick and clever solutions. It means you are proactive and take initiative. It means you are a problem solver with a strong work ethic. I challenge you to take the initiative to find the solution or complete the task. Don’t wait to be told how - ask questions and figure it out. I challenge you to use the resources at your fingertips (your cell phone and Google) to be proactive.
This is one that we easily have control of. It takes planning and commitment but can be achieved easily.
Remember, arriving late repeatedly shows disrespect to others. It communicates that your time is more valuable than theirs is. It may communicate that you are scattered and unprepared.
When I am late even by 1 minute, I apologize for being late and thank the person for their understanding. I make sure they know I know it is rude of me to waste their time. I challenge you to arrive 5 minutes early. And if you are late, let’s own it (another word in our list) and come with an apology. Leave the excuses and explanations in the car.
In all that you accomplish, be grateful. In all of your networking, show gratitude. In all your work and communications, start with a grateful tone. I challenge you to start each email or conversation with a grateful comment before asking for something, inquiring about something, or giving direction. Pay attention to people's responses. You will disarm stressed people, alleviate tension, and see better productivity. If you are someone who normally answers directly with short responses, practice taking the time to show gratitude and thankfulness first.
As humans, we are drawn to success, change, happiness, better things. However, we oftentimes wonder why we don't have what someone else has, compare ourselves, and make excuses for why we don't have those things we want for ourselves. That other person (we are comparing ourselves to) is experiencing success, happiness, or better things because of EFFORT. It looks effortless to you as you see their success but it took time, being inconvenienced, sacrifice, confidence, hard work, and persistence.
Put forth effort in classes, in projects, in the job hunt, in your resume, in your internship, in your job, in your relationships. I challenge you to be inconvenienced in the short term. I promise you will be blessed in the long term.
When something doesn’t go to plan, when you miss the mark, when you forget … OWN IT.
Apologize and communicate how it will not happen again or how it will be prevented in the future.
Own it and confess before the other person has to confront you. When you own it first, you eliminate confrontation. The other person will soften and the focus will be about fixing it.
Think about the professionals you respect the most. They aren't perfect, but they own their mistakes and weaknesses. And they champion others victories over their faults.
RSVP + Show Up
I encourage you to focus on honest RSVP and consistent follow-through. Real-life isn't a Facebook event where you click "Going" and don't worry about not going if something else comes up. When you are invited or asked to do something - RSVP by telling them yes or no ... then follow through. Too often we think a cute text with emojis will suffice for not showing up.
I also challenge you to show up. Be someone that shows up for others….even when you don’t feel like it.
Be someone who shows up for the little and big things.
Okay, now it is time to act!
Pick your word
Save the cell phone wallpaper above it and add it to your phone.
Text 1 person and tell them you are doing this challenge.
Invite them to do it too!