Miss my little lectures? Sure, I thought you did. So did I. So welcome back to my soap box.

Respect. It’s a lost art. The thing about that simple word is that, in order to get respect, you have to earn respect. How? By respecting yourself, respecting your work, and respecting others and their work.

Let’s start with work. If you sign up to do a job, do it to the very best of your ability. If it gets too tough for you to handle, ask for help. Don’t walk away halfway through. Don’t stop communicating with people who are expecting results from you. Editors, agents, chapter members, coworkers, relatives, and friends will all understand if you suddenly find yourself in the weeds and admit to it. Not only will they understand, they might pitch in to dig you out! But if you simply quit with no explanation and walk away from your responsibilities, don’t be surprised if those editors, agents, chapter members, coworkers, relatives, and friends lose respect for you. By quitting without communication, you’ve disrespected the work and those counting on you to do it.

Words are just as powerful as actions (or lack thereof). If you insult others, reveal someone else’s personal information, or address others in a derogatory manner whether in person or online, you’re showing a blatant disrespect to everyone around you. Healthy debate should never deteriorate into name-calling or bad manners. No matter who you are, how important you are in any business, or how successful you’ve been over the years, be gracious and respectful to others. It’s called “professionalism.” Learn it, live it.

Disrespect breeds disrespect. Respect earns respect. It’s a two-way street, my friends.

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