Aug. 21, 2010
Image. It’s more than what you wear. It’s more than what you say. It’s more than what you do. It’s more than what you prove.
It’s more than aspiration or ancestry or attitude.
Every single thing you do immediately contributes to your image. Even the mistakes. Especially the mistakes. Think about it: Why do tabloid magazines exist? Inquiring minds want to see people screw up.
“Mom, have you ever noticed that, when you see a really nice person doing something bad, like smoking, it changes the way you look at him or her?”
This, from my prince, as we sat in the spa near the pool today, and he saw a lady he’d always been fond of, smoking. This past year he studied extensively about the effects of smoking, so it happens to be a sensitive subject for him.
For all you smokers out there, don’t worry, I’m not accosting you. I’m not donning my white wig. But J’s question did lead to an interesting conversation.
Mid-flight on a recent business trip to Las Vegas, I read an article in Entrepreneur about the best bars in which to do business. It surprised me a little bit. It’s no secret that many business deals take place over drinks, but the article made me think of all the times I’ve witnessed coworkers use bad judgment at corporate events. Again, I’m not claiming to be a saint. But it is true that what you choose to do in private often has no place when representing a company.
I shared a recent story with J about poor choices, and he said, “Mom, when I get older and my friends are partying and making bad choices, I am not going to join them. I want to be the standard bearer.”
I was very honest with him and said: “J, everyone makes bad choices at some point. I don’t know what you’ll do or who you’ll be or what challenges you’ll face as you get older, but I pray you continue to make good choices. I hope you stay the guy you are. I hope you’ll be responsible with your choices.”
I told J the same thing I recently told a good friend of mine: “People will make fun of you outwardly because you don’t participate, but they’ll respect you inwardly. People are always watching.”
What do you think about conducting business over drinks? Have you had success with it?