Focus on Building Your Credibility in Your Reputation

(Lance Cpl. Samantha H. Arrington/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

If you've been following my articles here in, you know I write a lot about building and enhancing your credibility as you move through the military-to-civilian transition. People need to know what you stand for and trust that you'll consistently deliver on your values in order to give you credibility.

The formula for credibility is really quite simple: Credibility = Values + Action. In other words, you need to make it very clear to your target audience what you believe in, what your core values and morals are and then how you walk the talk.

As you live your values in everything that you do, you earn credibility. If you want to be known as honest and that's one of your core values, then you're going to demonstrate honesty and you're going to be honest. You're going to attract honesty and transparency. You'll tell people you value honesty and thank them for theirs when they are honest. After doing this, you will earn credibility and a reputation for someone who is honest.

One of the values that I articulate and promote for my personal brand is my desire to help others and pay it forward. The way that I act on this is by helping transitioning veterans understand the power of personal branding so that they can be more articulate, compelling and relevant as they transition into a civilian career.

Now if I just told you that I was passionate about helping others, giving back and paying it forward, you'd think that it was pretty admirable, but I wouldn't necessarily build credibility unless I acted on it.

In 2009, when I started out helping veterans, I had zero credibility. I was new to the conversation, had no personal connection to the military and skeptics wondered whether I'd just found a way to capitalize on a community that others were also targeting.

Over time, I earned credibility for my work in helping military veterans successfully transition. I was seen closing my business twice a year so I could work hands-on with service-disabled veterans transitioning to Wall Street jobs, I donated articles and blogs on the topic to global publications and word got out that I was coaching anyone coming from the military who needed help -- and not being paid for any of it. Thus I established credibility: values plus action equals credibility.

As you move through your transition into your next career, consider what you want to be known for. Which of your values will you strive to be credible for?

Then learn to be comfortable sharing those values as you do the work. If you're passionate about mentoring and coaching others, tell the people you mentor why you volunteer your time and expertise. Don't leave it to chance they will understand what's driving your action; tell them.

With time, when your values match your actions, you will be known for the good work you do. And it's not just about the actions, but the reasons behind them. Whether it's values of honesty, serving your community, transparency, generosity, faith, integrity or any other value, make sure that on a day-to-day basis, you are walking consistently with the talk that you are promoting.

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