You reputation is your ‘toolkit for life’
‘‘When people think about branding they think, ‘putting lipstick on a pig’, you know, something on the surface and unauthentic,’’ says local writer and public speaker Fiona Fenwick.
But Fenwick’s challenge is to change people’s minds about that.
She wants people to think more about personal branding as a way of ‘‘walking the talk ... of being authentic’’.
‘‘I think we’ve heard all the self-improvement mantras and formulas by now. You know, the ‘think positive’ movement, diet and exercise your way to health and wealth, how to win friends and become a millionaire online. ‘‘The list goes on.’’ Fenwick says all of those flashy jargon-rich movements have forgotten the simple principle of authenticity and trustworthiness, and Fenwick’s new book Stand Out and Step Up says there is one thing that costs nothing to invest in; reputation.
‘‘The best thing about reputation is it costs you nothing, and it’s your best asset,’’ Fenwick says.
‘‘People talk about their cars, or their houses as being an asset. But your reputation is something you live with day-to-day. It’s the one thing we should invest in the most, and it’s probably the one thing we invest in the least.’’
The book is based on Fenwick’s 30-plus years in public relations and communications, and the writer says a lot of people miss the boat when it comes to success because they have a poor idea of how they are seen by others, versus how they see themselves.
‘‘I’ve talked to bosses and CEOs who say about themselves, ’I am prompt and reliable’, and then seen the whole room burst out laughing because they are the most unreliable person they know.
‘‘There are many people who think they are warm and friendly and inclusive. And then I’ll meet them somewhere, and they’ll be rude to the person they are buying their coffee from.
‘‘What does that say about you?’’
Fenwick’s claims are simple: put your money where your mouth is. A person may behave with integrity in situations where it matters to them - when they have something to gain. But neglect that reputation in other areas of their life, such as their personal life.
‘‘I’ve written a reputation toolkit for life. I’ve asked the question, ‘how does anyone - from a student or a business owner - stand out from others?’’’
And the book is step-by-step interactive text that helps nurture a greater self-awareness, to ‘‘stand out from the crowd’’.
‘‘One thing I said about writing a book like this, is that I told myself that I would never stand up and talk about a concept unless I’ve lived it and had the experience,’’ Fenwick says.
‘‘There are too many people writing books who just think it’s a good idea to do it. But there’s no substance to it. In this book I ask the reader questions: Who you are? How do you want others to see you? How can you live your life more authentically?
‘‘Because if you don’t, the wheels will eventually come off.’’
Fiona Fenwick with her book