Point number one: Your reputation matters. In professional environments we call this personal branding. In family circles we call this the family name. In church or spiritual environments we call this representation. Regardless the angle, having a good name is valuable.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1
What others know about you, what others think about you, and what others think they know about you matters. If I hear one more teenager say, “I don’t care what people think about me.” I’m going to scream. Not true. Above all other people on planet earth, teenagers care, deeply, about what others think. Ever heard of peer pressure? And so do you and so do I. Let’s not be so dishonest.
And here’s the thing, point number two: we should care. A good name is to be chosen…
You have to want a good reputation and make choices that reflect that desire in order to make it happen. Now, to be clear, I do not base my worldview, moral beliefs and standards on what others think. However, I do think it is crucial for success and living a life of significance that I strive to develop into a woman of unquestionable character and integrity. What I desire is that my reputation or my “personal brand” matches or lines up with what I claim to believe. For example, what if I claim that I believe it is important for people to take good care of themselves physically, to eat right, to stay in shape, and to live a healthy lifestyle; and then you see me 100 pounds overweight and snacking on a coke and french fries? You would think one of two things: either I no longer believe what I claim or I am a hypocrite. And in that moment, I have lost your respect and any ability I may have had to encourage you to believe and pursue a healthy lifestyle as well.
If we are going to make claims and state our beliefs it is crucial that we follow through. Don’t even make the claim if you can’t back it up with your life. If you want potential employers, colleagues, even friends and family to respect you, to trust you and to care about what your ideas, then you need to present yourself in a way that matches your desires.
When I spoke to about 150 teen girls last week, I focused on three areas that dramatically impact your reputation: modesty, manners and the mouth.
Like it or not, immodest dress sends so many wrong messages, it just isn’t worth it. Cover up.
Manners such as saying please and thank you, sharing, taking turns, opening doors, going last, greeting people, knowing how to introduce yourself and others, etc. go a long way toward building trust with people. Proper etiquette goes beyond just saying that you care about someone to actually showing it. And we all know the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Or do they?
That brings me to the last focus area, your mouth. This is a tough one for me because I genuinely like to talk and sometimes in speaking all those words, I say things I should not. There is a Proverb that says, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” The ability to control your mouth and to speak only things that help or encourage is a powerful, beautiful skill. As your mama used to say, “if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Good advice.
Personally, all of this comes together under an umbrella of understanding that my life is not about me. (Note: Convincing teenagers – and many adults – that all of life is not about them is quite a task in and of itself and they are not likely to begin caring about modesty, manners or their mouth as long as they continue believing the world revolves around them.) Rather, I get it that I represent my business, my clients, my family, my community, my faith and my heavenly Father. How I dress, how I treat other people, and how I speak not only reflects on me, but on them.
A good name is founded on a selfless attitude.
Reputation matters and we should care.