This is quite a challenging topic to address as there are so many angles to consider. It’s the kind of topic that I would not normally tackle but recent events forced look at this objectively and take measures to protect my reputation.
This issue will raise questions about ego and how much you can actually prevent rumours, whether it’s a waste of energy and resources or should you just simply ignore it.
Firstly, working the the media, being a radio presenter, working as a comedian and being a blogger culminate to put me in the limelight in quite a big way. If you are in a similar position where you do put yourself in the limelight the more open and exposed you become.
Rumours can be true or not and can just come from people who are haters or jealous of your success and they can even come from people who you thought were your friends.
Whatever the source, it needs to be dealt with in a prudent way.
In my personal opinion, to ignore it is to simply bury your head in the sand.
The other option is of course to take proactive measures to make sure it is stopped in it’s tracks. That’s exactly what I did and why I’m so glad.
Just because you consider yourself a spiritual person doesn’t mean you hope the problem goes away using the Law of Attraction or breaking out the candles that ward of evil spirits. 😛
Being spiritual does not mean you have to be passive. I consider myself to be spiritual but I will always defend myself or those not strong enough to defend themselves.
Those Who Spread
It’s a sad truth that those who spread rumours are very weak and insecure. They are great marketers and have the gift of the gab so people will often buy into it. It stems from the need to belong.
When spreading rumours it enables them to connect with people and so they feel part of something bigger. They suddenly become interesting to those people and the response they get back is a bit like a drug. It feeds them and so then they feel the need to continue or that feeling will be lost.
Those Who Listen
In my opinion, those who pay attention to the rumours without either finding the truth out for themselves, or hearing the other side are much worse than the people who spread rumours. They also listen to feel a sense of belonging. In some cases it brings them joy to hear about the downfall of an individual.
Unfortunately it means they are also easily swayed and will believe pretty much anything they are told.
Both of those types are weak individually but feel powerful in groups that pay attention to them.
A person of true power, conviction and self respect will be feel powerful whether in a group or not; they will be indifferent to it.
When something like this occurs your first instinct might be to retaliate in some way! Do not retaliate! To do so puts you in the same category as the people who perpetuate or engage in gossip or hearsay.
You must fight the urge in every way possible and maybe even seek counsel until the feeling has passed.
Once it has, you can then move on and take the kind of action which is productive, not destructive.
Learning The Facts
It took a long time to piece together the puzzle of what these rumours were, how they got started and exactly how they were being perpetuated. I had to be careful that I wasn’t being a hypocrite and paying attention to hearsay.
The information I gathered from the many sources, the parts that tied up, are the parts you can relatively sure are true in the context of content of the rumours.
This is not as harsh as it sounds. Basically I wanted to make sure I got to people first before anyone else did to make sure it was stopped in it’s tracks.
In the world of I.T. there is a concept in networking called spanning tree. It basically prevents loops in networks by putting network ports into a blocking state.
The pre-emptive strike is essentially the same principle. You essentially put blocks in to prevent the rumours going further. There is no guarantee of it’s success but it’s probably the best step you can take!
In this scenario I spoke to my peers, organisations where I volunteer or work at where I thought there was a chance of the rumour spreading to and even some social clubs at the first possible opportunity.
I explained that they was a chance that they would be hearing rumours about me. I said that they were not true, to not pay attention to them and that there are two sides to every story and should they ever wish to hear my side then they are more than welcome to ask me directly.
Once it was done I was relatively satisfied I’d put sufficient blocks in place to prevent the lies, hearsay and conjecture going any further.
Ego And Reputation
It this just an egoistic thing? Absolutely not! I for one have worked hard to be where I am today and to build that reputation. For someone to come along and potentially destroy it is simply not on!
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
– Warren Buffett
You only need look at tabloids to see the kinds of things said about celebrities that tear them down. Some bounce back, others do not. I’m writing this to make sure that should you ever be in the same situation that you are prepared and can bounce back.
I personally don’t read the tabloids and don’t care for gossip. Those people are human beings and whatever goes on in their personal lives is their business.
I’m so glad this all occurred for the following reasons.
i. It made me stronger and more resilient.
ii. It taught me how to deal with this should anything like this occur again.
iii. It taught me a lot about people and how to handle them.
I truly hope you never have to go through anything like this but should anything occur I truly hope that this helps you.