In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., your work ethic and performance should be on the highest level that, ‘even if you were a street sweeper, you’d sweep the ‘damn’ streets so well like Michelangelo or Faith Ringgold painted, like Beethoven or Youssou N’Dour composed music, like Shakespeare or Maya Angelou wrote poems, you’d do it so ‘damn’ well that all hosts of heaven and earth would pose to say ‘here lives a great street sweeper‘.
Nothing carries our identity more than our reputation. Before you introduce yourself, there’s a perception other people have of you. Well, it better be good. Otherwise, who you are or what you can do won’t matter no matter how much you think it matters. And don’t fool yourself into thinking that there’s always a second chance, a place in the court of justice where you get plenty of time to defend yourself from all lies, misperceptions, misinformation, haters, or your own natural flaws.
There’s always one practical convenient strategy to protect your reputation; never ever expose it. Not for a year, not for a month, a week, a day, or even a second. It is more fragile than a candle flame. You light it up and then put your hands around it. That’s before you cover it with transparent glass to protect it even from your own sneezing. The glass keeps it visible but unaffected.
You might be inclined to debunk this fact — presenting scenarios and situations that are trivial or unimportant for a person to give it their best performance. To that, I say, ‘there’s no such thing as big matters’. Everything big is made up of smaller things. Everything great is made up of simple things. ; Bigger‘ is not an independent variable, it is a total sum dependent on the addition or multiplication of ‘smaller; things. Therefore, it should be impossible to be your best at bigger things while you are mediocre at the smaller elements of ‘bigger‘.
Reputation is both ways; positive and negative. Believe me, you want yours to be positive.
Here is how:
#1 Be Punctual
Do you know what happens to farmers when they miss rain in the expected seasons? or if when they expected it to rain for months, it just rains for weeks, skipping a couple of days between weeks. Their crops don’t grow as expected and as a result, their harvest turns out insufficient. The same thing happens when you delay or miss deadlines, timelines, appointments, schedules, timetables, etc. You cause others severe losses and damage every time you fail to show up early and on time or to deliver early or on time. To punish you, they immediately develop a negative perception of you and your performance. This newly formed negativity against you goes straight into their subconscious mind. Meaning that whenever they’ll see you or hear about you, they’ll automatically be disgusted and uninterested and will begin to behave in ways that are detrimental to your progress.
#2 Avoid being a part of the problem
People naturally despise trouble. They hate to be stuck and affected. It becomes worse when they can put a name and a face to the cause of their troubles. You don’t want that guy to be you. Hatred is the last step of vanishing a good reputation, at this point recovery is close to a miracle. Some things affecting reputation can be turned around fast but there are others worse enough to cut off the lights from your path. Try your best to be on the side of the solutions other people desperately need. Like this, you become a darling, with a great reputation.
#3 Avoid underperformance
If you can’t do something as good as it can be done, step aside and let someone else take over. You’d rather not do it and keep your reputation as it is than attempt to do it and mess it up. It is great humiliation to fail to hit the target but worse is to miss the target by great proportions. You don’t want to be known as the below-average guy. The overconfident amateur, the loud dog with no teeth.
#4 Avoid putting others on the line
It’s great to take calculated risks but what you don’t want to do is put others on the line as you attempt to make it rain in the desert. Once you fail, other people will be affected and they will neither forgive you nor forget it. You might put yourself at the crossroads but it should just be only you. It becomes easier to find your way back when alone than it is when you are more than one especially if it was your sole idea in the first place.
#5 Avoid experimenting in the public
Experiments are best carried out in the private. The public does not have to know how much you fail before you make it right. Your practices and rehearsals should happen indoors, beyond the judging gaze of the looking eye and eavesdropping ear. Display your work only when you are sure that it is the best at least at that point in time. Your hustle, flaws, and shortcomings are not meant to be shared by the public. They are quite a hell and not a single soul out there wishes to share it with you. Do you know why? They’ve got their own quiet hells.
#6 Stand for something
People are naturally opposed to others who are too lenient, meek, and humble. They are better attracted to people who demonstrate virtues of courage, strength, intelligence, and independence. What you need to do, is to not go around smiling hypocritically at every stranger you meet but to be yourself in their presence. Do you want to know why? All people find it harder to be their best self in the public. They are more inclined to conform, go along with the flow without making headlines. Therefore, every time they meet a person who has mastered the art of ‘being ‘oneself’. That’s when they say, ‘the grass is greener on the other side’.
#7 Give others a chance to contribute to your overall performance
In your mighty compact fulfilled existence, spare room enough for others to add something to you. That’s how meaningful and sustainable relationships are forged. Your life and work must have a guest portal through which others can access you and interact with your magnificence King/Queen. That big cake you’ve or are baking others will need a piece of and I highly recommend that you allow them. Then they’ll allow you to have a piece of theirs as well.
Editorial/ Yewe Yewe
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