Your reputation can be everything.
Sounds scarily like high school, doesn’t it?
As important as your reputation with your clients is, tough, it isn’t the most important one.
The most important reputation you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself.
Your Reputation with YOU
Take a minute and think about the reputation you have with yourself.
When you promise yourself you’re going to tackle writing that blogpost first thing, do you? Or do you check emails first, and then realize you only have 10 minutes before your client calls?
When you promise yourself some down time in the evening, total relaxation, do you take it? Or do you decide to do one more thing for your business or someone else, and then discover that it’s past bedtime, you’re exhausted and you just need to fall in bed – again?
When you set aside time on your work calendar to dive into business and do some deep thinking and strategizing, do you keep to it, or do you find yourself doing administrative tasks because they’re easier and don’t feel so daunting?
OK, take a breath. We’re surrounded by quicksand here. Step very carefully.
On the right is the Swamp of Shame. When you notice a pattern like not keeping promises to yourself, it’s easy to dive headfirst into this swamp. If you find yourself feeling bad or thinking thoughts like, “See, I’ll never be able to do this!”, “Something else I’m doing wrong” or “Screwed up again!”, then you’re heading into Shame.
Stop, take a breath or ten, and realize that you’re not alone. We’re ALL working on this. The question isn’t, “How could I do this?!”, but “What do I need to do now?”
The quicksand field on the other side is the Bog of Blame. You don’t want to go there, either.
That’s for people who love their stories, who are attached to what happened and why they’re the way they are (and why they’ll always be this way). They have thoughts like, “I learned this from my parents”, “Having my 5th grade teacher humiliate me means I’ll never be able to do this”, and “It’s all because of the (expletives removed) ex of mine!”
Are thoughts like this going to come up? Of course they do. The trick is not to fight or hold onto them. If you do, you’ll feel yourself sinking.
Staying on Track
How do you keep on the path through? Follow these steps:
- Realize that it’s important to keep your word to yourself. It matters because YOU matter. Having a good reputation with yourself, being able to count on yourself, is HUGE. You are your best customer.
- Apologize. Admit to yourself when you don’t keep your word and apologize. To yourself. Sincerely. Just like you would to a client.
- Let the negative thoughts and feelings come up. Just don’t buy into them. Keep breathing instead.
- Look to see what happened. Did you put the needs of others before your own? Did you commit to something you didn’t really want or intend to do? Is there something about the task that you’re scared of and avoiding?
- Are you going to recommit to the thing or commit to something else? Is there a system you need to implement to help you keep your promise? Setting a timer, writing things on your calendar and putting up reminders can all help with making good on a promise. So does reconnecting with WHY you wanted to do it in the first place.
Things will come up and plans will change. There’s a lot to be said for being flexible and spontaneous.
At the same time, it’s worth it to check in periodically and see if you’re treating your commitments to yourself with the integrity they deserve. Do you treat yourself like your best customer? If not, why not?
If you’ve found something that helps you stay on track, share about it here. I love hearing your thoughts!