Portray Your Best to Boost Your Reputation
I received a forwarded ‘quote for the day’ this morning from a friend who said it made him think of me. The quote reflected my attitude about life (it might not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we may as well dance), and in that sense it was both touching and gratifying. But it also made me stop to wonder how much we really see and understand about one another. Our reputations get formed, sometimes without our realizing it.
Are you portraying your best?
I am blessed with a positive and resilient spirit and I try, through my work, to share it with others. Like anyone else, though, I have my moments, sometimes days, of self-doubt when I ask myself whether what I’m trying to do is of value and whether I have what it takes to keep moving forward as an independent.
Everyone has those moments. The question I’m posing is what you do to manage them and what you portray to those around you.
I was talking with a young executive last week who wants greater visibility, more responsibility, and of course more recognition for his work. His presentation was attractive on the surface. He was articulate, well-groomed and ambitious. However, as I listened more closely, I heard impatience, disappointment, and a budding cynicism that if not checked will hinder his growth and potentially derail his success. He had the usual complaints about management, his boss, and even the industry he works in.
I left thinking the jury’s out on this young man. If he is able to view the possibilities and challenges of his situation objectively, figure out a course of action tht helps him move forward without expecting others to change, and get busy creating the reputation he wants to build, he has a terrific chance at success. If not, he’ll become just one more malcontent who will blame his failure on something or someone else.
We hear conflicting messages from experts about how to behave at work. On one hand, there’s the fake-it-’til-you-make-it advice that encourages a happy face and a willing spirit, no matter what you’re feeling.
On the other hand, the authenticity crowd will say screw that. Be who you are and let people take you or leave you at face value. The sad reality about this advice is that most people will leave a disgruntled person faster than that person can change his mind about what he’s putting out there.
Here’s the truth of the matter. You create an impression every time you interact with others. Immediate judgments are often made based on the energy and attentiveness you bring to a situation and the way you participate in what’s going on. Incidentally, this includes interactions at work, at home, at school, the grocery store, at church, the salon, the gym and even on the road.
Longer term, the picture of you will be made up of many impressions from a lot of people. You will come to be considered as positive, negative, successful, a loser, thoughtful, manipulative, a contributor, a leech, and all sorts of other things.
Although other people shape your reputation by the way they perceive you, you create it by the way you think, act, and treat others. Are you portraying your best?