What About My Reputation?

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“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation”  Margaret Mitchell

 

Actually, I think you are better off without the reputation.  In many ways the good reputation you’ve worked so hard to build is a liability.  It’s the reason you can’t afford to take the risk of speaking freely or creating something or taking the action you know in your heart you want to take.

Isn’t it interesting that so many successful people attain their success after a string of epic failures.  Those failures are a gift.  They destroy any pretense.  Afterward, there’s nothing to live up to.  The lowest of expectations are all that remain… and then those people get to work…

Walt Disney – Was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.  He started a number of businesses that didn’t last long and ended with bankruptcy and failure… until…

Albert Einstein – He did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven.  He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School… until…

Winston Churchill – He struggled in school and failed the sixth grade.  He faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the age of 62.

Steven Spielberg – He was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times.  He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing.

and what about The Beatles, Michael Jordan, Oprah, Edison…  all the stories have a similar arc.

What would you do if you didn’t have your reputation to worry about?  Would you start a movement?  Would you write some kind of manifesto and put it into the world?  Would you organize people around some issue that you are passionate about?

No one will remember your good reputation, so I suggest you let it go… and go to work on the stuff that really matters.