So once upon a time, on the rare occasions that I would bring a guy home to meet my parents, my father would always give them the same speech. Each one of his girls (my sister and I) and my mom were his precious jewels and if anyone dared to harm any of us, well…you can fill in the blank.
I think my father had the right idea about using jewels as a metaphor…
Individuals and organizations, alike, are struggling with how they can interact online and offline while maintaining balance of personal and professional personas.There is a lot of talk about maintaining a personal brand, but that path seems so artificial and engineered. Your true colors, whether representing self or organization, are shown in every gesture, facial expression and in the tone of each word spoken or written. A bit difficult to plan your every move and word, don’t you think?
My email signature does not have a million different links to every online location where I contribute to the conversation. Of course, there is some general contact info and my job title, but beneath, I have this quote:
“Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of – for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” – Socrates (469 BC – 399 BC)
This quote is a constant reminder to be Lauren Vargas. Not a socially engineered version of Lauren, but the Lauren who is true to herself and obeys the Golden Rule…no matter how difficult the situation may become. This is a journey about progress, not perfection. At the end of the day, it does not matter what your title is or how much money you make, it is how valuable your true self is…this is your reputation, the only credit that will stick with you until your dying day.
What are the steps you must take to be what you desire to become and preserve your good name?
Time is precious. Not just for you, but each person. You are not the only person with a job to do or stressing issues. Show the person respect, by replying in a timely manner, even if it is to say you don’t have the answer or have received the message and need more time before replying.
Don’t wait to be told what to do or how to do it. See something that needs to be done or a person struggling to finish a project? Reach out and lend a helping hand. You aren’t acting for the pat on the back, but because it was the right thing to do, at the right time.
I am not sugary. I cannot write fluff. It is not that I refuse, but I do not know how. So, over my career, I have struggled with the tone of my responses. Along the way, I have learned it is NOT about adding false praise or mock conversation, but knowing how to communicate with each person individually and not impose my communication style on anyone else.
The truth will make itself known. It is easier to tell the truth than concoct and play out a story. A lie is the quickest way to douse your fire. Take responsibility for yourself, actions and the people around you. It is easier to have a relationship when the other person knows exactly with whom they are interacting.
No person or company can remain the same forever. Have you ever read, The Mixed-Up Chameleon, by Eric Carle? Adapt to your surroundings and avoid adaptation for the sake of keeping up with the cool and colorful crowd. Be yourself as you go along with the flow of life.
Today, I am a diamond in the rough.
What type of jewel would you appraise your reputation? Would others agree with you?