There are few things in life that are permanent. You can even have your old tattoo of Hello Kitty that you now hate removed. People sometimes believe that you can’t shake a bad reputation. Instead of trying to climb out of the situation, they instead embrace it because they really don’t see another option. If you’d like to turn your reputation around or know someone that could use the help, be encouraged that there is a way out with hard work and dedication. 

Own up to poor behavior and communicate it with others. 

One of the best places to start in recovering from a bad reputation is to own up and acknowledge your reputation. Acknowledging the obvious is a great way to break the ice and communicate to others that you have the self-awareness and willingness to change. 

Next, (authentically) ask for forgiveness with the people you may have wronged, commit to better behavior and ask for a chance to prove yourself. Once you walk through that step you can go forward. 

Seek help, prove yourself and build trust

Know that turning around a bad reputation is a worthwhile endeavor, but it can also be a longer road than you realize.  Seek help with a trusted advisor, coworker or friend that can give you insight or perhaps share their experience in walking a similar path. Be open, listen and take the steps for improvement. 

People have a tendency to hold onto memories, especially those that are exceptionally good or bad. They are reinforced through repetition and become difficult to change. You are going to have to prove yourself for an extended period before people buy in that you have truly changed.  Here on some tips to encourage you along the way:

  • Set realistic expectations for yourself and others. Remember that it takes 66 times of repetition before our brain starts to make a new neural connection. 
  • Celebrate the small steps in progress.
  • Keep encouraging notes to yourself around the house, school or workplace. 
  • Track your positive change on paper or a calendar so you can visually see the impact.

Accept that some won’t let go. 

No matter how hard you try to turn around your reputation, some people simply won’t let go of their perception of you. You are going to have to be ok with that. Be confident in your new leadership and life walk and continue to lead yourself well. Don’t let an unbeliever discourage you from the new path that you have chosen. 

You can turn around a bad reputation without having to start your life, career or job over. Focus on the right behaviors, seek honest communication and prove your claims. Show them that you are better than some poor choices and habits….because you are!

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH