We are our businesses. We live in transparent times where we have become more than just the person behind the counter, the voice on the phone, or the person sitting across the desk. Who we are is plastered all over Facebook and Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Now, more than ever, people know who we are.
Often times this is referred to as a personal brand, but in reality it is more than that. Why? Because when people look at the term personal branding they think of it as a business term, as something done to increase awareness about oneself in relation to their work. In reality, it's so much more than that.
I've been in a very philosophical mood lately and have been posting small parts of what has been running through my mind on Facebook. I do it for others to see and hopefully learn from, yes, but also because I feel that recording those thoughts helps to cement them in my own psyche.
Just this morning, in fact only about 5 minutes ago I posted such a status update on Facebook but wanted to flesh it out a bit more in a post. Here it is:
As you can see, I spoke about moral codes of conduct and while at first glance you may say that it's not business related but I would argue that it is. As I said in the opening paragraph of this post, "We are our business." I said that to bring up this point, how we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day lives will affect our day-to-day business.
I've seen it countless times. A small disagreement turns into something so much more. An arguments that goes beyond the topic of debate, with both sides bashing the other side, turning it into something personal and then a vendetta ensues, all because one or both of the parties involved lacked a personal set of moral codes.
[quote author="- Me!"]How we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day lives will affect our day-to-day business.[/quote]
These moral codes, if you follow them, will ensure that you don't say or do something stupid. It ensures that, if followed, that you don't do something in the heat of the moment that gives people a bad impression of who you are. You would be surprised how quickly a good reputation can be lost. But, if you always conduct yourself in the same way, with both dignity and respect, for both yourself and others, you won't have anything to worry about.
These personal moral codes almost always push over into your business dealings. That's why it's important to write them down. Put them somewhere where you can read them often. There will come a point where they will become part of who you are and nobody will ever say, "So, that's his/her true colors." Why? Because people will know you are, people will know what you stand for and because of that they will like you more, trust you more and become more apt to WANT to do business with you.
One of the biggest reason why your ethical principles are undermined is the fact that most people lack a written code of ethical principles in which to live by. Let's remedy that.
Action Step: Today. No, not tomorrow, today. Take the time to answer these questions:
- Above all else I value _________ the most.
- My core values are ___________.
- What does common decency mean to you?
- Why is having a moral compass important to both your personal and business lives?
- What are the possible consequences or going against your moral compass?
- I will show honest and integrity above all else because ________.
Answer these question in full and complete sentences. Don't write then in an ordered list, rather write them out in paragraph form. Really flesh them out and put as much into them as you can. Then, when you are done writing them out, add to the questions about. Lastly, revisit your moral code of conduct and continue to build it over the course of weeks and months. Soon, you will have something as close to perfect as you can get.
From there I want you to read it every day, multiple times a day and really work to conduct yourself appropriately. Yes, there will be times that you go against what you've written, but I will assure you that it will become increasingly easier to manage. People will start to notice a difference and your personal and business life will be better off because of it.