How Your Reputation Impacts Your Life

In the last post, I talked about the trials Ron and Cathy Tijerina experienced while he was in prison.  He served fifteen years for a crime he did not commit.  In this day and age of DNA and other advanced scientific evidence, one might ask how this possibly could have happened.  Ron knew, and accepted, that it happened because of his reputation.

Ron was not an angel during his late teens and early twenties.  One of the reasons he was a suspect in the crime was because of his past.  Despite his attorney’s belief that the prosecution had not proven Ron’s guilt, his reputation did.  His earlier behavior cost him and his family dearly.

So what, you might ask, does this have to do with you?

Actually, everything.  We all have reputations; the sum total of what our behavior tells others about us.

Are you honest?  Dependable?  Kind?  Always right?  Out for yourself?

All of these things determine what others think of you.  In addition, they determine how you are treated.  Known as the Halo Effect, your good reputation can keep you out of trouble when you make a mistake.  The flip side means you won’t be believed when you haven’t done anything wrong.

Many of you probably guard your professional reputation carefully.  After all, how you present yourself influences the opportunities you will have and the advancements you will be considered for.  It impacts what others say about you when you’re not around.

What many people don’t understand is that you have a reputation with your partner as well.  The happiness and success of your relationship is determined by this reputation.  How you treat your partner affects the assumptions they make about your intentions.

If there are two ways to interpret your behavior, does your partner choose the one that puts you in a positive light or the negative one?  In other words, have you earned the benefit of the doubt?

You earn your partner’s perceptions every day and with every action.  Have you cultivated the good reputation you want to have?  Or, like Ron, will you be held guilty despite the lack of evidence?  Only you hold the key.

A side note, Ron and Cathy made positive use of his prison experience.  They have started a successful program for inmates and their families called Keeping FAITH.  To learn more, go to

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