What is your most valuable possession?
This question was posed to the audience at a meeting I was at a couple nights ago, and the answers were varied.
Some said their house. They had struggled for years to save up the money for a down payment, paid off bills so they could afford the higher mortgage, and watched their credit so they could qualify for the loan.
Some said it was an item they were given. Maybe a watch handed down from their father before his death, a wedding ring that had been in the family for years that had been worn for generations.
Still others answered not based on sentimental value but monetary value such as jewels, cars, and investments.
After everyone had their chance to answer, the speaker said that we all had something much more valuable than anything that was mentioned.
Everything else that was mentioned could be taken away in an instant, but our name stays with us forever. So does what we attach to that name.
Each day we make choices about what we are going to have attached to our name, and those choices also stick with us forever. With the advent of the Internet this is more important than ever before. Whereas in the past if we made the wrong choice or chose the wrong thing to say in the moment it might have been forgotten, or only known by those in attendance. Today it is on Facebook and available for millions to see and hear until the end of time.
Your “permanent record” is now more than a parental threat.
It will be interesting to watch elections years from now.
Interesting when they start digging up past frat party photos of the candidates, and showing them on CNN for the world to see, as irrefutable evidence that yes, they actually did inhale, a lot.
It bears mentioning that the meeting I was at was an informational meeting for a father and child organization that uses this as their central theme.
The intent being, to instill in the children that they are responsible for the things that get attached to their name, and to make good choices throughout their lives rather than just going along with the crowd in order to be popular.
Even though this is an organization and a message that was intended for children, I think we can all learn from the intent. From a business point of view your name is your brand. Everyday you should be making choices that will promote your brand rather than tarnish it. Companies not only use the Internet to post jobs, they also use it to weed out candidates.
So the next time you start to post those awesome pictures of last nights party or make that comment on the inappropriate video that you watched, think about your most valuable possession and decide whether you want to attach that same post to your name. Forever.