As billionaire and legendary investor Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.”
If you don’t have a strong and well-respected image, it isn’t too late to fix it. Here are the bad habits that can quickly put a dent in your reputation, according to these nine self-made millionaires and Advisors in The Oracles:
1. Not trusting your gut instinct.
“If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. I used to find myself at parties where there was cocaine on the table. And I knew that if I stayed, no one would believe that I wasn’t doing it. So I always left.
Don’t ignore your instinct, because it’s right 99% of the time. Don’t make excuses or question it. Just it and move on.”
—Jay Leno, comedian, star of CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage,” and former host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”
2. Ignoring your online reputation.
“It’s inevitable: When you become successful, people will post negative things about you online. Never take those complaints or comments lightly. Protect your brand and respond immediately by phone or a direct message. If possible, do it in person.
Typically, when you express to someone that you actually care and want to address the issue in a peaceful manner, they’ll retract the post or even share how great you are. Treat these situations as opportunities, not problems.
But you have to know which battles to fight and which to walk away from. Some people just want to make noise and spread negativity — and those are the ones to avoid.”
—Grant Cardone, founder of Cardone Capital, a $750 million real estate empire.
3. Only meeting expectations, instead of exceeding them.
“Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, simply meeting expectations isn’t enough. So always make it a point to under-promise and overdeliver.
When you get an email or text, for example, don’t be like everyone else and respond the next day. Instead, surprise that person by getting back to them immediately. People notice these things — and when you exceed their expectations, they’ll like and respect you even more.”
—Mike Peters, entrepreneur, philanthropist, XPRIZE Foundation board member, and founder of the Yomali group of companies, which has generated more than $1 billion in sales online.
4. Taking shortcuts.
“Today, anyone with a smartphone can become a video editor, photographer, or author. And because they can do it so quickly, it’s easier than ever to do a lousy job and slap something together in one afternoon.
But in order to build a great reputation, you need to showcase quality, thoughtful and valuable work. This may take years of study, practice and hard work, which is why so few people do it.
Not taking shortcuts is essential to building a reputation that precedes you — one that makes people want to work with and be around you.”
—Jonathan Goodman, founder of the Personal Trainer Development Center.
5. Being ashamed of your failures.
“It’s easy to get discouraged after a big failure. But feeling bad and ashamed about it can make you lose sight of the all the other great work you’re doing and the difference you’re making in people’s lives.
Early in my career, I struggled in dealing with my failures, especially when they were followed by criticism. But I learned that you can do everything right, and there will still always be people trying to tear you down. That’s just the nature of the game.
It also helps to be open about your failures. If you’re going to share your story and success to the world, always be 100% transparent. When you share the good and the bad, critics will eventually come around to your side.”
—Marcello Arrambide, founder of Day Trading Academy and co-founder of SpeedUpTrader, a funding company for aspiring day traders.
6. Being fake.
“Your reputation doesn’t just hinge on your work or credentials. Instead, it’s a product of the energy you give off.
You can show yourself as an impressive person who has achieved incredible things, but that won’t override the certainty of what others intuitively feel about you. Often, people can tell if you’re being inauthentic.
At the end of the day, all the elements of success depend on you being true to yourself. When you live unapologetically in line with your values, your light will shine in a way that is impossible to ignore.”
— Katrina Ruth, founder and CEO of “The Katrina Ruth Show,” a multimillion-dollar online coaching business for entrepreneurs.
7. Prioritizing the wrong things.
“Some people have shady practices just to earn a few bucks here and there — but it’s not worth it. Your reputation is so much more important than money. It’s a lot like parenting: I want my kids to view me as a role model.
When it comes to my company, for example, I always ask myself: Are we building the type of business that our clients would want to model? Are we taking care of them and doing things efficiently? Are we proud of what we’re doing?”
—Yuri Elkaim, founder and CEO of Healthpreneur, former professional athlete, and New York Times best-selling author.
“Several years ago, I lost everything in a Ponzi-like scheme. Even worse, my friends and family were also deceived into losing millions of dollars.
I carried tremendous guilt and felt angry and ashamed. How could I have been lied to like that? How will I ever rebuild my reputation and regain others’ trust again?
But then I turned to the words of my heroes, which gave me strength in my despair. Zig Ziglar said, ‘If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.’ And Winston Churchill reminded me that ‘success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.’
Slowly, I faced the situation head-on. I apologized, took responsibility where I could, and spent time with those who were hurting. Maintaining an excellent reputation doesn’t mean you’ll never make mistakes; it’s how you respond to them that demonstrates the depth and strength of your character.”
—Tom Shieh, CEO of Crimcheck, advisory board member to Defy Ventures, and advisor to Tiny Devotions.
9. Being inconsistent.
“As a leader, you should always ask yourself: Did I do what I said I would, and do it consistently?
Reputation is interconnected to your relationship to truth. The underbelly of a poor reputation is that you became a co-conspirator in human failure because people who relied on you were damaged by your ethical breaches.
If you want to improve your reputation and change the caliber of your relationships with others, you must speak your truth, live your truth and leave a legacy of your truth by teaching others. Most importantly, you must do it with consistency.”
—Allyson Byrd, top sales trainer, who generated $13 million-plus in sales revenue for clients last year; Amazon bestselling author of ”Leave Your Mark″ and founder of The Church of Profit Acceleration.