When we think of beauty, most of us envision our ideal physical attributes. Personally, I’m a sucker for a great smile and blue eyes (both of which my husband has). A friend of mine said what first attracted her to her husband were his hands — she loved that they were rugged “manly hands.” I’m sure each of you can pinpoint one or two things that draws you to others. But true beauty is far more complicated than that.
I have 10 years of experience in the banking industry, hold a bachelors degree in business administration and have several certifications in management and image consulting. Despite those facts, there are lessons that I am learning as a business owner that no text book can teach. As exhilarating as it is to be your own boss and do what you’re passionate about each day, it is eye opening to see how unattractive the world of business can be at times. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it for the world — I know how lucky I am to do what I love daily. My goal is to always remember how fortunate I am, no matter how big my ambitions are, and to strive to maintain my inner beauty no matter what it takes. To truly be full of beauty, you must possess integrity, grace under fire and personal credibility.
Business is all about dollars and cents. I have to admit that coming to grips with this fact was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome when I started my company. Make no mistake — I’m a for-profit entity and charge for my services. However, I strive each day to run my business and my personal life with integrity and focus on my purpose rather than hustling for money. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I have to feel good about the person I see looking back at me in the mirror. I’ve seen how easy it is for really good people to make really bad decisions because their greed led to dishonesty. Rather than doing what’s right, some people choose to hide behind policies and operate outside of their own moral standards. Just because there is not a law or rule against something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. People who consistently operate from a place of integrity see the big picture and understand that in the end, you reap what you sow. I believe a combination of sound business practice and honor is the surest road to success and respect.
Grace under fire
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.” In business and in life there are always challenges. It’s not always the great challenges that push you over the edge, sometimes it’s just that one final little thing that makes the day seem like more than you can bear. In that moment it is easy to choose to react in a way that you normally wouldn’t — I think we’ve all been there. While the people who love you will likely look past this (at least once), in business it’s hard to un-ring that bell and regain the trust of your colleagues or customers. Maintaining composure and objectivity in the face of obstacles is something that I conscientiously and diligently work on (what can I say; I got my Grandma Jessie’s hot temper). But my experience has taught me that taking a step back and allowing myself a moment to process the situation and give a measured response makes for much better outcomes.
Credibility may be the most important attribute for one to possess in his or her personal and professional life. If people don’t believe in you or don’t find you are worthy of their trust, they simply won’t want to associate with you. When you are knowledgeable, committed to delivering quality, show integrity and grace under fire, others will perceive you as being credible. Just like all aspects of business and image, maintaining consistency is imperative. It’s not hard to find an example of someone who lost all of their credibility seemingly overnight. Being inconsistent with your words and actions is a surefire way to lose esteem. Rebuilding credibility is a long, hard road. The further and more dramatic the fall, the more challenging it is.
Certainly, we won’t all get it right all of the time — we’re human, after all. The important thing is to make every effort to hold on to your ideals and own up to it when you falter. As the years go by and the natural ebb and flow of business and life occur, I hope that I can still look at myself and see my inner beauty radiating out.