Your reputation is the world’s opinion of your character. Your character determines how much others trust you. And the trust you inspire determines how many opportunities you will receive.

Your good reputation will inspire others to action without you having control over what they do, so you will get things done without resorting to wielding authority.

Reputation is not the same as popularity, though many confuse the two. The proverb “popularity is what you do; reputation is what you are,” describes the difference.

Reputations are built on ethics, discipline, and consistency.

The first step in building your reputation is to inspire trust. You accomplish that by knowing who you are and what you stand for. You cannot expect others to support you unless you communicate, in words and deeds, what it is you want them to support.

Discover what it is about you that is unique, recognizing that in the entire universe, there is no one else exactly like you.

Then consistently demonstrate how your unique personality, and the offerings that your business presents, are making a significant contribution to the community. It’s the key to carving out your niche.

Be selective about whom you choose to influence. The Exmerce trading community, with more than 500 business and professional members, includes many people and organizations who might benefit from what you have to offer.

The surest way to build a reputation, in Exmerce, or any other community, is by investing the time to get to know the other members. What are their goals? What motivates them? In what ways can they influence you?

Do not be afraid to blaze new trails. The business world is competitive, and just like the natural world, it is not always the strongest who succeed, but rather those who adapt best to changing conditions. Of course, the other side of that coin is you must prepare to fail occasionally. Just don’t let it become a habit.

As you meet new people along your business journey, try to determine which of them are people you respect. Ask yourself why these people impress you, and what it is about them that you find appealing.

Then imitate them.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and when you imitate someone long enough, the characteristics you are imitating can become ingrained in your personality.

You will gain confidence and increase your belief in your worth, and as you do, you will enhance your reputation without even trying.

A solid reputation is not earned by being the fastest or the strongest. It is earned by being wise, honest, and courageous – qualities you develop by searching your soul.