3 Ways to Lose Your Influence and Diminish Your Personal Brand

Whether you know it or not, you have a personal brand. Your personal brand is determined by your actions, by your behavior. Your personal brand determines your influence with others and your value in the marketplace.

However, you can easily diminish your influence in 3 ways.

 1. Complain

"You can't be great and negative at the same time."
- Dan Rockwell

This world is full of complainers. People regularly complain about the weather, their boss, the president (any president.) If you are reading this Accelerating Excellence blog, I am assuming you don't want to be like everyone else. 

Every time you complain, you look weak and play the victim. The apostle Paul wrote long ago that if you don't complain or grumble, you will stand out like stars in the darkness.

Life is full of adversity, from flat tires to lay-offs. But the essence of life is not what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you.

There is nothing wrong with healthy reflection to learn from experiences. But it is unproductive to dwell on ‘why?’ 

  • Why did this happen to me? 
  • Why is life so unfair? 
  • Why did this have to happen today?

It is more powerful to ask ‘what?”

  • What I can do to improve my situation?
  • What is a wise next move?
  • What is a constructive next step?

Here is a great life principle to live by: make the best of any situation. That way you don’t have to change the world, you can just change yourself.

2. Criticize

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

It is human nature to criticize others. It is easier to pull someone down than to lift someone up. We all are prone to label someone negatively based on very limited observations of a person. It’s wrong, often inaccurate and comes across as petty. 

In addition, while you are verbally diminishing others, you are diminishing yourself. No one ever made themselves big by making others small. 

There is a concept in the field of psychology called the Fundamental Attribution Theory. Essentially, it says that we judge others by their actions while we judge ourselves by our intentions. In others words, we are generally hard on others and easy on ourselves.

Decide to give others the benefit of the doubt. Time spent on disapproving others takes away from time spent improving ourselves.

So rather than be a critic, be a model. Be an encourager. Brag about others behind their backs. And in front of them too!

Great people make others look and feel great.

3. Cuss

I am not talking about the occasional ‘damn’ or reacting with an expletive when you hit your finger with a hammer or back your car into a tree. I am speaking of the frequency of the f-word and the like in our culture.

When you cuss, you risk needlessly offending others and show lack of situational awareness. Don’t just take my word for it.

A study by CareerBuilder revealed that most people think cussing displays:

  • A lack of self-control
  • A lack of maturity
  • A lack of intelligence

I know that many people are not offended by swearing. But let's be honest, no one thinks you have more self-control, are more mature or more intelligent when you use foul language. Cussing adds nothing positive to a conversation. Have command of your language.


So I challenge you - decide that complaining, criticizing and cussing is no longer part of your repertoire. Carry yourself with poise and professionalism. Decide to be a positive force. When you lose your influence, you don’t have much left.