COMMENTARY: Rebuilding Your Life and Reputation

Larry wrote me the following letter: “I’ve been a small businessman for almost 23 years in a business where people lie, cheat, and steal. I’m sorry to say I became one of them. In the short term it may have helped, but long term it came back to haunt me. There’s no amount of success that’s worth it. I am now 48 years old. I have lost my good name; my values and my ethics have been destroyed. Is there any way I will ever be able to restore my reputation and lead a life of integrity?”

What a pity that so many people delude themselves into believing that traditional ethical principles like honesty and integrity don’t apply in the business world. They govern their daily decisions by pragmatism — what work s— without reference to principles — what’s right. And, piece-by-piece, decision-by-decision, they sell their souls and sully their names until they find themselves naked and alone on the barren wasteland of moral compromise.

The good news is that Larry can start leading a life of integrity immediately. He can redeem himself and become a man of character simply by choosing to be honest, responsible, respectful, caring and fair.

The bad news is that his reputation will take longer to restore. Character is what you really are; reputation is what people think of you. And since people are more likely to judge us by our last worst act rather than our most virtuous habits rebuilding a reputation can take years of honorable living.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 5

  1. every one in business faces the same dilemma. Forgive yourself. If it continues to tear you up inside get into another game. The business may not be for you.

  2. Larry has achieved Step 1: taking a good, hard look at himself and admitting to his behaviour. He’s already on the path to redemption, in my humble opinion.

  3. Pingback: Rebuilding Your Life and Reputation

  4. I am currently starting over again rebuilding my life (if you want to read about how it is going, I am writing a blog about it at The only reason I even blog is because I lost all of my friends, not to mention my dog, my car, my house, my girlfriend, my money, and my self esteem. It took years to get to the point where I was even willing to rebuild. I don’t know how to do it, if I can do it. I am scared to be honest with you.

  5. thank you. Indeed restoration will take long but it will certainly come to pass. Although it is not easy to get the guilty feelings and the questions within”why did i do it” thanks to god in Christ Jesus

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