Volume 11 Issue 9
Create Your Reputation
Many years ago, when I was in High School, I heard the line: The hardest thing to create and the easiest thing to lose is your reputation. True words. Of course, as a 16 year old I probably didn’t realize the depth of their meaning.
I came to a saving knowledge of Christ when I was 21. My neural networks had not yet closed so I probably still didn’t comprehend all the truth behind the words. Happily I was raised in a moral world and a moral family and tended to make good decisions. I tended to but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make a plethora of mistakes – as I probably still do and will continue to do so.
That is not a rousing success story, is it? But it is transparent and real.
I did my best to raise my children to grow to be children of the Lord and upstanding adults. Time will tell. In the meantime, since a divorce I never anticipated, I find myself recreating my life and myself every day. While I do not claim to know much, I have found some truths that I try to apply in creating my reputation.
Before we continue, please let me say that a reputation does not change based on location – so whether I’m at work or with friends or in a family situation, I want to be the same person. Okay . . . to create the reputation I want, I’ve found I want to . . .
Be a woman of my word. That isn’t surprising and it doesn’t sound hard, but when living it out, day after day, every day for the rest of your life, it can be difficult. I want to be a woman of my word, but there are times where it just can’t happen. For instance, I like to say I’m slow to anger (James 1:19), but just this morning I blew up at my son. Further, sometimes I can’t keep my word due to unforeseen circumstances. I’ve found others to be very understanding and supportive when this happens, but I still strive to be a woman of my word.
Be a woman of integrity by doing the right thing, even when it’s hard. I’ve found the best way of doing the right thing is to avoid the opportunities to do the wrong thing. On a recent girls’ trip with friends, I had more than ample opportunities to do wrong things, just because we live in the world. To go to any restaurant provides an opportunity to drink, which provides an opportunity to overdrink. When out with friends you only see occasionally, a jovial spirit abounds. So I was often the DD – it helps keep my integrity by doing the right thing.
Be a woman of character. I once had a boss joke that we need to be people of character, and by the time we die what characters we would be! That’s not what I mean here, but the line returns to me repeatedly. By being a person of character, what kind of character will I be in a month or a year or ten years?
Be financially wise – for some reason this is easy for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve always understood money or because I did study for that MBA or because I chose to be a Certified Budget Counselor years ago. Even today, though, when speaking with a friend about wanting to buy new furniture (my current furniture is from a garage sale and I’ve had it over 10 years, so I can’t imagine how old it is!), she mentioned that there are good payment plans out there. I gently said that I don’t use payment plans, but I save. She tried to talk me around but I am standing firm. Financial wisdom and good stewardship, are godly concepts.
Be healthy – now this is where I fall apart. Being healthy, especially in terms of healthy eating, is VERY difficult for me. I’m not saying I won’t eat my vegetables. I like veggies more than fruit. But I have not yet been willing (I refuse to say can’t) to give up chocolate. I know the Holy Spirit will help me but I’m not there yet. Can I just focus on finances to feel good for a minute?
In addition, while I do exercise regularly, I probably don’t exercise as well as I might. It’s funny how things change, though. A few years ago, when my son introduced me to Dips, I thought the exercise was evil and my son was loony. Now, as I’ve been disciplined to do my Dips regularly, they are my favorite exercise. I just need to add the exercises that aren’t my favorite and maybe in time they will be. Still, healthiness remains a goal – I want a reputation for being disciplined in my health choices.
Be thoughtful – This is such a subjective thought that it’s hard to say when it’s going well, but pretty much, we know on the inside when we are being thoughtful of others and when we are being self-centered. Still, this is part of the reputation I desire.
Best decisions may not always obvious, and I’ve found that they are rarely easy. For instance, you may find yourself in a pay now or pay later situation. Yes, I can have the chocolate dessert, but it means more exercises that I don’t enjoy tomorrow. That’s a short term and simplistic example. The same idea is true for pursuing your education and career. You can pay now and knuckle down and get the degree and experience your future career requires, or you can play now. If you choose this route, be prepared to pay later by not getting the desires of your heart when it comes to job or career or income. That’s how life works, so create your reputation!
Now that I have an outline of the reputation I want, I need to work at it, every day. Your categories may be different, or maybe yours are similar but with different goals. That’s all okay. You can still create your best future with exceptional decisions today.
Blessings in Christ,