I’ve heard it said that your character is what you are when no one is watching, and your reputation is what other people think you are while they are listening to other people who have been watching you.
The truth is, every person I’ve ever known is going to go through a period of time when they need to rehabilitate their brand or their reputation. I think of what’s happened in the last year to BP. And yet, I’ve heard several positive stories about how they’ve stepped up and made things right. I never would have believed that BP and their brand could begin to rehabilitate themselves so soon. And yet it happens all the time.
Here are some things you need to do when you need to rehabilitate your own brand.
- Get clear about what you stand for. Oftentimes our reputations get hurt when we get too far afield from the very things we are passionate about. We become successful and then we think that success can be transmitted over into other areas. And instead of fixing our focus, finding our voice, and flying our flag about a certain passionate problem, we begin to diversify and no one knows what we stand for.
- Gather new people around you. Often our brand is damaged when we surround ourselves with “yes” people who, long ago, stopped telling us the truth. Maybe it’s because they fear losing an advantage, or even a paycheck, and they begin to tell us what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear. Oftentimes new faces and fresh voices can give you clarity about going back to your main thing.
- Engage. When your brand has taken a big hit, one of the things you want to do is withdraw. The criticism and the negative comments can hurt, and hurt bad, particularly when those of us who “moo” out loud take very seriously the stands we have taken, the passionate problems we are pursuing, the solutions we’ve offered. When those are rejected, criticized, or even questioned, oftentimes we recoil. And yet, we need to do the opposite – to engage, to clarify our message, to fix our focus, to find our voice again and fly that flag without regard to the pain of the criticism.
- Dig deep and fix your focus even more, and become smarter so you have fresh ideas and fresh content to offer.
- Just simply resonate with those that you exist to serve, and continue it day in and day out. Sometimes time is your best ally. I’ve found that critics, though scathing and painful as their voice may be, are like a little puppy chasing a toy. Their attention span is very short and they run away to other things very quickly.
It’s people like you who want to be heard above the herd; those who take a stand. Free your mind from the limiting and critical voices. Fix your focus on the things you care about. Find your voice that’s unique to you. And then fly your flag that makes the world a better place.