What’s your Badge of Honor?


“What do I demonstrate pride in through my actions – both positive and negative?”— Misti Burmeister

Wearing a badge of honor reflects pride. It serves as an acknowledgement that either you, or the community you’re a part of, has done something remarkable. But what do you do when the badge of honor you’re wearing isn’t so positive? And, how do you know if your company brand is a valuable and positive a badge of honor?

Several years ago I met with an entire department inside a large organization whose badge of honor (or maybe dishonor) was literally “low morale.” The mission of the organization was deeply inspiring, but everyone knew that particular department was deeply uninspired.

“Before I got transferred to this department, I knew that coming here meant that my ability to contribute would be stifled,” said one employee, “Everyone in the organization complains about low morale in this department.”

The folks who cry out “low morale” certainly want to go to work every day eager and energized to make a difference. Yet they wear the badge that’s been given to them, instead of one that gives them purpose and meaning – one they’re proud to wear.

Similarly, when I first started doing Crossfit at Arenal Fitness, a gym in Baltimore, MD, many athletes would boast about their ‘ripped hands’ (as distinct from “ripped” bodies!). These ripped calluses are generally caused by too many grip-intensive exercises-all without proper hand care.

Of course, these athletes could do a better job taking care of their hands, but the rips demonstrate commitment and hard work – and they wear them proudly. The bigger picture of contributing to a “community centric organization that overcomes obstacles to create a healthier world” (which is Crossfit’s brand) accentuates this “badge of honor”.

This got me to thinking – what’s my badge of honor? In other words, what do I demonstrate pride in through my actions – both positive and negative? I asked several of my trusted friends to weigh in, and came up with the following as “brand Misti”:

  • perseverance
  • positivity
  • no filter
  • impatient
  • sensitive
  • overwhelming
  • fearless, (which was later restated as “acts in spite of fear.”)

While it is certainly a badge of honor to be thought of as a positive person, who perseveres in spite of fear, I also identified many themes where I have an opportunity to swap out badges. That is, to better understand myself, shift my assumptions about the effects my behaviors have on people, adjust my behaviors, and get better results.  


What’s your personal brand? What does it say about others who choose to work for your company? How does it contribute – positively or negatively – to your team’s brand?

What shifts in your behaviors can help your team swap out a badge of dishonor for a badge they’re proud to wear?


Thanks to Gillycuddy and Dexter Britain for their music contribution and LN Lurie for producing this podcast.

For additional tips and tools on provoking greatness, go to www.mistiburmeister.com, enter in your email address on the bottom right-hand corner, and start receiving your weekly watercooler wisdom!

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