This week I had a long, deep discussion with an executive who is having a problem with her reputation and in particular some unwanted articles on social media. Her assessment was that this was going to have a significant negative impact on her future career opportunities. My Initial thought is who among us has not done something that they are not proud of? I believe that list would be a very, very short one.

However, after digging a little deeper this executive had really done no wrong. In fact, the executive in question has had a stellar record of success running several large organizations.

The issue is that upon leaving her last post a few misinformed reporters had actually wrote less than flattering and even less accurate articles. The facts were not presented accurately and now the executive feels that she needs to defend this in every interview since.

My suggestion for this executive, and all leaders in general, is to get ahead of any incident and plainly state what happened, what you learned and how you have improved.

By far, the biggest piece of advice is that we all need to develop a “shake it off” mentality and move forward in confidence. Ultimately, we all need to be evaluated on our total book of work and not on an isolated incident. No one can be successful by carrying their past mistakes real or perceived. We need to learn from them and move on as better people. Revisiting your worse moments is totally unnecessary and counterproductive to your advancement.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill “ Success is not final, failure is not fatal, what matters is that you move forward with courage and confidence”.

So shake it off and move on.


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