How Do Your Clients and Friends Reflect on You?

Recently, NJ Governor Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson both endorsed Donald Trump as a republican presidential candidate. I strive to see positive qualities in everyone, regardless of whether I share all of their beliefs and views. Christie’s and Carson’s endorsement of Trump, however, has pretty much obliterated any esteem I (and many others!) had for them. There are dozens of reasons why I could never support someone so extraordinarily lacking in character as Trump (“Money, money, money—I love money” he announced at one recent rally), but as the father of an active duty military serviceman, I found his contemptuous disparagement of Senator John McCain’s war record and military service unforgivable and beyond the pale.

Christie and Trump

Have you thought much about how your choice of clients—and others—reflects on your abilities and character? Don’t think about this as simply not working for companies or individuals who may detract from your reputation, but also as seeking out those clients whose success, attitude, and culture speak volumes about who you are.

Most professionals accumulate clients through a kind of accidental or serendipitous process. Why not be intentional about it? Why not consciously cultivate relationships with executives at the organizations you’d like to work for—ones that will raise up your reputation, not pull it down? I accelerate this process by both turning down prospects and leads that don’t fit with my business, and by redoubling my efforts with great organizations I respect. Remember, if you don’t do some of the former, you’ll never have enough time to invest in the latter.

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