In business one of the hardest things to establish – and it is also one of the easiest things to be destroyed – is one’s reputation.
The old funny applies with reputation:
‘Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you’
No-one goes through life without displeasing some people. The old song applies here:
‘You can’t please everyone so you’d better please yourself’
The rider here is that pleasing oneself is to be synonymous with taking a modest pride in doing the best quality work you can offer your clients.
You will generate discords along the way nonetheless. These might arise from simple misunderstandings, or worse, from jealousies and rivalries, or worse from downright lies and malevolence. A prevalent root cause for these bad vibes being generated is nailed by the Apostle Timothy:
‘The love of money is the root of all evil’
If business people are going to fall out it is most likely they will fall out over money; even when money is not the issue it will often be used as a pretext for what is the issue to be used against one.
And so business reputation is a fragile thing. One bad apple spoils the whole barrel, so the proverb goes. A guy or girl with an attitude firmly against you, and who is in a position to do you much harm, once let loose with motive, means and opportunity will work the works of idle hands upon you. And to an extent your reputation will be in tatters.
If this happens, or has happened to you: take hope from it. Those whom the well-poisoners are unable to infect; those who have resistance and some amount of immunity from their bad medicines, are those who will and who have stuck by you; and they and you have been tried and come through the fire.
Of Our Lord himself it is said in John’s Gospel that after He offered this followers some hard condition to accept that: From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.’
So look upon a partial loss of your goodwill towards you from others, lost through noises of unjustified rancour and ill will spread about concerning you; look upon it as a providential refining away of extraneous things to reveal better metals remaining.
In these times there are many online helps where business persons are able to seek and make connections and networks among similarly interested and disposed communities. Quite often the connections will be made for only expedient reasons. To get business or to assist a friend in getting business; returning favours and reciprocal arrangements.
But life is larger than our plans and expedients, and has a way of doing the housekeeping and tidying things up in our lives of its own accord as we adventure ever into our futures.
In so far that any endorsement of one’s reputation is genuine; then it is useful and of value. It may be genuine in various ways. It may be heartfelt and so sincere. It may be accurate in fact, and so authentic. It may be positive or maybe less so; offering say a backhanded compliment or a damnation with faint praise – as the idioms go. It may be glowing through and through but marred by a single – trivial or maybe more significant – detail of adverse criticism. But when a positive endorsement is sincere and authentic it is at its best.
The place from which such an endorsement comes is of course crucial. From a substance abuser praise of heroin is not useful. From a freshman praise of a prizewinning professor carries little weight or benefit. These are examples taken from the view of the things of the world – that is by appearances – which is perhaps nine tenths of what the world relies on for its assessments of issues.
To get an authentic and sincere and positive endorsement from a person of calibre is good in the world – but to get such from a person of calibre and of good character is far, far better. A glowing notice from the Dalai Lama is far more sound than a glowing notice from say Donald Trump. The old saying applies:
‘Would you buy a used car from this man?’
And so there are those clients who will follow where the world will lead them and so mostly judge upon appearances; and there are those clients, who are the best sort, and those most likely to return to you again and again, who will see that far further and consider you as an artisan; as a character; and as a sure and capable pair of hands. This then is the bedrock of reputation.
The dramatist contemporary of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson says in his inimitable way a few things akin to these my personal judgements on what makes good reputation. He writes:
‘To The Reader: If thou beest more, thou art an understander, and then I trust thee. If thou art one that takest up, and but a pretender, beware of what hands thou receivest thy commodity; for thou wert never more fair in the way to be cozened…’
An old British Army saying acts to explicate and to act as commentary on Ben Jonson’s prophesy that the person who is without judgement is s/he most likely to be swindled. It runs:
‘Bullshit baffles brains’
So don’t use the bullshit, use the solid grit, and like the guy in Matthew’s Gospel, build your house on rock, and the storm which comes will not wash you away like it does the guy who builds his house on sands. Then your reputation will stand and withstand. Make sure your work and your earnest matches it.