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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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The Lance Armstrong fiasco has me thinking about credibility and protecting your reputation and 'brand.' Although you may not be a star athlete concerned about resurrecting your broken reputation or protecting yourself from lawsuits, your credibility and character can make or break your business and professional success. Here are some ways to protect and preserve that credibility.

Avoid doing anything stupid. We're human, and humans make mistakes. You will make your share of yours. That said, try to avoid doing anything illegal or harmful to others.

When you do make a mistake, the best thing you can do is admit it and own it. Apologize to whom you need to apologize to. Make amends, forgive yourself, learn from it and move on you'll be better for it.

Take the high road. There may be times when other people and competitors will try to attack you and damage your brand. It's so tempting to fight back and get into a 'he said/she said.' Most of the time the best way to deal with this is to not engage in a battle, as that may only serve to make you look bad. Stay focused on being and doing your best. It will pass.

Give more than you get. Get out there and make a difference any way you can. Get involved in your community and volunteer. If you own a business, select a cause you care about and make that cause an important part of your business by engaging your employees and customers in the effort.

Make it not about you. Be a catalyst for helping others to be successful. Match people up with others to network and find success together. Share your wisdom. Embrace your competitors and find ways to work together rather than in opposition.

Be humble, honest and secure. None of us is perfect. None of us knows everything. It's OK to admit what you don't know. That's far better than pretending to know something or to be something you aren't. That honesty will go far in building your credibility and reputation with others.

Be nice. Being consistently nice, genuine and authentic is the best way to be and to live. You'll be happier and will attract similarly genuinely nice people to you. People like to befriend and do business with nice people, and they'll always have your back when you need them.

Lance screwed up big time! He is now coming clean. But is it too little too late? Only time will tell. For the rest of us, if we do our best to stay clean, be nice, be honest, acknowledge our mistakes and give more than we get, when we do 'fall off the bike' we'll be able to get back up and ride on without scraping our knees or our reputation.

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