As I sat at the desk this afternoon, I wondered aloud what I should blog about. My son, who was working on his homework behind me, suggested I post that he is a "poopy pants" (having just vetoed my idea for supper).
As tempting as that was, it did point out that "reputation" is something I've not directly addressed. This blog has been about building it (personal brand) but not how simple it is to lose it.
Reputation is built on how folks perceive our actions. Consistency in our actions builds trust. Trust is what we can draw on in times of uncertainty.
But once you leave consistency behind - not one isolated incident but multiple times - you can lose the reputation you have built. (However, that means you can lose a bad one too with patience and deliberate control of your actions.)
Again, it comes down to choice. I have a reputation of being creative and 'out there' at my work. Some days that gets in the way of folks taking me seriously. I evaluate that reputation constantly...do I wish to change how I dress? reference sources? add to meetings? I choose to consistently come across in a certain manner but I could change it over time with a different approach.
Parts of our reputations are easy to lose and harder to build: trust; dependability; honestly; willingness; etc. But again, you can choose how you would like to be perceived and deliberately build to that reputation.
When you are networking or mentoring, keep in mind that your community is part of your reputation and that you contribute to the reputations of others.
Our reputation rests mainly in the minds of those in our community. It only takes one loud voice for folks to question their perception of you.
So I ask - is reputation therefore out of our personal control? Not entirely; we can choose our actions. A dissenting voice or two will never eliminate our long-term record of behaviour, good or bad. Folks may examine the record but we are in control of what we chose to put in it.
For the record, my son is not a "PP". He is a teen who lives in his own fascinating and instructive (to me) world and to whom I am grateful for the continued inspiration.