We all know people with excellent personal and professional reputations. They are recognized and valued for what they represent and deliver to the world – regardless of the size of that world. But we also know incredible, talented, intelligent people, with content and high capacity for achievement whose trajectories go almost unnoticed. They live very well, thank you, but they fly below their potentials. It is the difference between great and extraordinary.
The truth is that achieving the extraordinary may even be unlikely, but it is not impossible. Like everything that is very difficult and does not depend only on us, there is no ready-made formula. But one thing is certain: self-knowledge, clear personal goals and planning are the first steps on this journey. Or do you think that being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people (and still getting the message right) is a matter of luck?
If the answer is no, move on. I want to share simple learnings that we have had in this first year at ANK, but very effective when you decide to look at your reputation as a valuable asset that deserves to be thought about and managed.
1. Reputation is the look of the other
we have no control about our own reputation because reputation is the look of the other. All the time, our attitudes and actions, our speeches and choices, our way of being, dressing, relating to each other communicate something about us. They form an opinion about us. And depending on the audience (and your filters), the message is understood differently. In other words: it is not within our power to choose what people think about us, but we can manage our signals so that they are as close as possible to what we want.
2. Reputation is built with truth
Characters have no reputation. They have a script, costumes, direction and, in general, an expiration date. If you want to build a solid, worthwhile reputation, you need to base your plan on what you're really best at. What are your strengths, your skills, your differentials, your passions, your preferences? This is the starting point. And remember: examples serve to inspire and provoke, never to copy. Reputation building is individual and non-transferable.
3. Reputation strengthens with feedback
We need each other to understand who we are and where we can go. It is the people around us, in different degrees of intimacy and bonding, who can help us reflect on our postures and attitudes – and on the image we are passing through them. When we are open to receiving feedback, we expand our self-knowledge and, with that, we can know our strengths and reinforce them, in addition to managing the weaknesses. We genuinely need to hear what the other has to say about us. It will only make us better.
4. Reputation is measured by our goals
Forget subjectivity. Put a use (or many) to your reputation-building journey. What are your goals, your personal and professional goals? Want to go down in history? Want to build a legacy? Want to turn your name into a brand? Do you want to be a reference in your area of expertise? Do you want to have a premium price for your work or product? Do you want to increase your power of influence? What do you want? And what proves you're getting there? Those are your indicators. And to this your reputation work must be subordinated.
5. Reputation does not seek unanimity
Walking in search of the extraordinary will not make any of us a hero or a heroine. Even the biggest and best reputations in the world are not unanimous. Nobody is perfect, nor came into the world to meet the expectations of others. So work hard, but relax a little. This will give you strength and energy to focus on what's really important: what you're really good at and how to get others to recognize it.
A good journey!
Anik Suzuki is CEO of ANK Reputation