You’re Behind the Wheel, but may not Have Control

Your reputation is just like that sports car, only a lot more powerful, a lot more important and a lot more personal… and with a lot more things that can go wrong. Whether you realize it or not your reputation exerts a lot of control over your life and to a great extent determines whether you are destined to go on a great journey filled with wonder, excitement and fulfillment or whether you’ll be slaving away in some cubicle for the next 30 or years or so and even though that cubicle has no door, somehow opportunity never seems to find a way to enter.

Managing your reputation is as critical as steering a supercar as it passes the hundred and fifty mile an hour mark as you weave your way through the pack. But you’re not on a track, you’re on a career path and It’s up to you and how well you’ve prepared whether you will thwart those who might seek to prevent, interrupt, divert, or disrupt your journey and thereby force you to you arrive at an unknown, unfamiliar and unintended destination.

Should that occur, you will be left that much further away from achieving your goals and you’ll find yourself on a rocky road, filled with misdirected street signs that will now take you more time, cost you more money and require more energy so that if you ever do arrive at your destination, you’ll have that much less time to enjoy the view once you get there.

Or even worse, you could crash and burn and derail your career in the process. And don’t think for one nanosecond there isn’t a surplus of people who wouldn’t hesitate to pour gasoline on your burning dreams, stomp on its ashes and then scatter them to the wind.

There is a Better Way

So here’s the skill set you’ll need to navigate your life’s pathways and get you to your chosen destination safely. First, you must recognize you’re on a long journey and there will be bugs on your windshield, potholes to navigate, minor dents to repair and yes, you’ll probably come across a few assholes that force you to slam on the brakes or reroute around certain impenetrable barriers or immovable obstacles.

Start Your Journey to Success and Happiness

Yes, you know your intended destination but if you’re to arrive quickly, efficiently and safely you’re going to need a roadmap so read it, follow it and enjoy the journey.

Create Your Own Personal Website 

Hopefully, you don’t have too common a name and a domain that is your name is still available. If it is, lock it down immediately, even if you don’t plan on using it today, at least it will be available when you need it. And even if you never use it, it shouldn’t cost you more than a few dollars annually to prevent any one else from using it in the future. And by the way, you should also lock down other top domains as well, not just the .com version.

If your name is not available, take heart, there still may be some clever things you can do to secure a reasonably good domain. Let’s assume you have a very common name like John Jones. There’s not a chance in ten million that JohnJones.com is available. But what if you’re a dentist, perhaps Dr.JohnJones.com is available or Dr.JJones.com or JohnJonesDDS.com. Now that name is so common that it’s unlikely any of those are available but you may also have a middle name or a nickname and you should try various combinations of those to increase your chances.

If everything you try is unavailable, you can try adding a number such as JohnJones100.com. Spend whatever amount of time is necessary to get a domain name that reasonably represents you when people “google” you.  

Build a Social Media Presence 

The most important social media sites for people in business are Crunchbase, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter but you should also learn to use others such as Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and _______. Notice, I listed the sites in alphabetical order, not in order of importance as that may change so you should try to have a presence on each in order to build your own network of associates and your sphere of contacts.

New sites are always being developed and old ones are always evolving so stay on top of this. Remember, today’s Facebook may become tomorrow’s Myspace.

Next, do an audit of all your existing properties and be sure to remove potentially damaging photos or content. That risqué photo your friend thought was hot five years ago may leave a job recruiter or investor cold if they saw it today.

Create a Brand Aesthetic  

Not everyone is creative, has great fashion sense, is good looking, physically fit and has perfect teeth and a winning smile but everyone can create a personal brand that shows off their best features, whether they be physical, emotional, academic, humorous, adventurous, sports related or just being a loving, caring, trustworthy and dependable individual that other people trust and enjoy being around.

If you don’t know how to do this, don’t worry because plenty of professional services and independent people do and you can find them by searching online or going to crowdsourcing sites. State what you’re hoping to accomplish and there are plenty of people who will help you get there at a reasonable cost so you’re not broke when you arrive.

Then, once you’ve gotten the look of your site to where you’re comfortable, start working on your content but remember content, like food, can be full of nourishment and help you reach your full potential or it can have lots of empty calories that may satisfy your immediate hunger but do nothing other than make you sluggish and unhealthy in the long run. So here’s a hint on how to make your site effective. Don’t just fill it with meaningless content, but make your content draw in your viewer like the aroma from a fresh baked cookie… but a cookie that’s both nutritious and leaves the eater hungry to consume more.

Before you post anything, start by writing down what you want to accomplish and then make sure everything you add, adds to your objective.

Example: If you’re trying to impress a future lover, your site will look very different than if you’re trying to impress a future employer. Just make doubly sure that anything personal you post, and by anything, I mean everything you post, will never come back to bite you in the butt when the future arrives.

Here’s a good rule to follow: No matter what privacy protocols you follow, including 100% secure encryption, make believe everyone in the world will see everything you post. That means your lover, your parents, your employer, your future employer, your kids and even your biggest rival. If any of them could view this information negatively… DON’T POST IT!