I started a new book a few days ago and I am really digging it.  It is called “Dracula The Undead” and is an official sequel to the original horror classic, “Dracula.”  And why is it an “official” sequel?  Because it was written by Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, the author of “Dracula.” 
 
Now I am not into horror things.  I think the scariest movie I ever saw was “Crossroads” with Britney Spears and I certainly won’t read horror novels.  I tend to fret about the bumps in the night.  But I picked up this book for one reason– it was written by a member of the Stoker family.  I happened to read the original “Dracula” only a few months ago, an annotated version which was absolutely spectacular, and I figured this one would be interesting.  So I started reading and I am now deeply enthralled by it; the characters are familiar, the writing is dark and gothic, and the book is something I can really sink my teeth into. 
 
But what if it hadn’t been written by a Stoker?  Well I can honestly tell you that I wouldn’t have even thought twice about picking it up.  I’m not into vampire stuff; no Twilight for me; no True Blood or Anne Rice novels either.  But because it had been written by a Stoker, it had to be good right?  It had to be “real,” not some knock-off.
 
And that got me thinking.  Is my experience reading this book colored by the name of the author?  Does the book garner instant credibility with me because of that one fact such that I can see it as doing no wrong?  Critics out there will lambast the novel, purists will cringe… but the book will be good because of that name, right?
 
Seriously, what better way to build credibility than to have a name that stands out, that people will hear and instantly associate with something positive, something dependable, something reputable?  Many of us don’t have that luxury of being born with the right name.  So we have to build credibility in other ways.
 
Many of you are like me.  We are still growing in our careers, we are still establishing ourselves, and every day we are faced with another challenge to prove ourselves, to find a way to establish that credibility.  So how do we do it?
 
Well, some people find ways to self-promote.  They take out advertisements, put out press releases, or even send out mass emails touting their successes and expertise.  Others ask people for testimonials, with which they slather their webpage or brochures.  And others just hope that by keeping their head down and doing good work, they can build that credibility.
 
I don’t know which one is right.  I can tell you that the people who write blogs or mass emails are typically pompous and narcissistic and have nothing important to say, writing mostly to see their words in print.  I am glad I’m not one of those people!

 
Look, I don’t have the answers.  Everyday I am trying to find ways to establish that credibility, to have potential clients and referral sources look past my runway model-looks and boyish features and see me as a consummate professional with experience, expertise and excitement. (Ok, the last one didn’t fit, but the alliteration was too good, right?)
 
And I think that is something we all are wrestling with, right?  This week, I don’t have any answers, I don’t have any advice.  But as I was driving home it occurred to me, I need to find a way to have instant credibility, that people will trust me and believe in me just by hearing my name.  A brand that will trigger that type of positive reaction, of confidence. 
 
So my friends, I am a work in progress.  I will employ all of the devices I mentioned and even some I come up with along the way.  Who knows, maybe narcissim is the way to go?  You all are reading this, right?
 
Until I figure it out, however, I am, and always will be:
 
Yours truly,
 
Robert Lee Bailey Cochrane Bugliosi Dershowitz Lincoln

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