You are in charge of creating your best self. Human potential expert Beth Taska explains …

We are judged by many things: Our looks, our words, our possessions and even those we associate with. Predominately we feel and act as if this is outside of our control and, arguably, in large part this is true.

People are going to feel the way they feel and think the way they think. Yet just because something is not easy to influence, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We often hold that our reputations are somehow separate, apart and delegated to us—not coming from us. I believe we shy away from this topic because it’s more comfortable to do so, not more powerful. You own—if you so choose—how you are perceived.

This doesn’t mean that you need to, nor should be, obsessively worried about what others think of you. It is much more important to worry about how you think of yourself, but these two things are far from separate.

This may or may not be comforting to you: People think about you a whole lot less than you would ever imagine. You, frankly, aren’t going to be top-of-mind to that many others. Exactly like you, your acquaintances’ minds are filled up with thoughts that are slightly banal, mundane and hyper self-focused on critical life issues such as: What will I eat for dinner vs. What should I eat for dinner? Strangely, this makes the quest to own our reputation easier. People don’t have a lot of brain space for us; they’ll default to a label—and if we want to own our power, it’s our job to fill it up for them quickly and easily with a forceful label of our own choosing.

So, we cannot fully control what others think of us, and they aren’t even going to be thinking about us all that much—but when they do, and if we’re deliberate, we can have a strong positive thought about us come to their mind.

It’s paramount to consciously and meticulously be working on what you want to be known for—if you keep this to one or two qualities, they can be outstanding and defining.

The trait you’re known for can be anything, such as generosity, honesty, knowledge or determination (obviously your aim is to make this a redeeming trait). Once you’ve picked your quality, you need to develop this skill and your reputation for it passionately. Watch others who have your desired defining trait. Study them. Learn from them. Emulate them. Then take this quality, and display it over and over and over.

When you’ve built a reputation, it precedes you. It gives you substance and answers a vital and important question others will have about you: Who are you? Being truly known for one or two solid characteristics simplifies you to others in a good way. It amplifies your strengths, and you don’t need to spend time and energy having people “get you.”

Of course, you are more than one or two characteristics, but establishing your reputation on one or two enviable traits can only serve you well. When building this reputation, you need not spend energy contradicting disparaging comments. In contrast, ignore negative comments about you and place your focus on redoubling your efforts to grow and show your strength. You want to enter into the thoughts of others with a stage set to already dispose them to think of your One Amazing Attribute.

Your intention to influence your reputation by acting, speaking and focusing on your outstanding attribute, builds your power. If you do not take on this task, others will determine what you are most known for—without your input. And that’s scary.

Put it into action

  • What is your outstanding quality?
  • Write it down.
  • Impose this on everything you do.

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