Do people seek out and enjoy my company? Are my relationships—with my friends, family and business partners—rich and mutually fulfilling? Do I receive recognition in business and acknowledgment from my team?

“If you can’t answer these questions with a resounding yes,” says Sandy Allgeier, “don’t curse fate or pin the blame on everyone around you. You might just have a personal credibility problem, and the good news is that it can be fixed.”

According to the author of The Personal Credibility Factor, personal credibility is truly a “magic bullet” for success and happiness.

But what is personal credibility? We know it when we encounter it, but often we’re not sure why.

Allgeier explains that personal credibility is about respect, trust and being believable.

Personal credibility is judged by your actions more than by your words. What you do—and don’t do—determines other people’s perceptions of whether you have it. “Perhaps personal credibility is best understood by its absence,” she says. “People may not look at you and say, ‘Wow, here’s a person with lots of credibility’—but if you display a lack of it, they will most definitely notice.”

Allgeier suggests we aim to avoid what she calls “credibility busters.” Here are some of the most common:

We often think our credibility is dependent on our age, gender, physical appearance, background, social status or other factors we can’t control. What I love about this book is how it empowers you to take full responsibility for optimizing your own credibility by focusing on one credibility buster at a time and offering practical tips to help eliminate each from your life.

“Make a conscious effort to stop committing these sins and your life will change in ways you could never have foreseen,” says Allgeier. “When people feel they can trust you, a seismic shift happens in your relationships. Everything improves: your marriage, your relationship with your kids, your friendships and business relationships. Remove the roadblocks to your personal credibility and you’ll be amazed at the abundance that flows into your life.”

Paperback, 153 pages, $18.99;
Financial Times Press, 2009