Why you should only burn bridges with underachievers, people with short memories or in a world that’s flat.

~The only bad thing about burning your bridges behind you is that the world is round~

This quote has recently given me resolve during a challenging week filled with many surprising experiences, including one in which I was the target of a malicious public display of unethical, non-factual and unprofessional libel fueled by misplaced anger from someone I’ve never met, worked with or even heard of… all with the intent to harm my career and personal reputation.

For those who know me, if there’s one thing you don’t screw with of mine, it’s my career.

Yet, as a result of the events of last week, I learned hard lesson learned about how cheaply people will sell their souls for a few page views, regardless of whose reputation or business may pay the price.

I’ll be sharing more about that specific experience and resulting take aways in the coming weeks when my internal temperature has reached a normal level and my words won’t be involuntarily laced with anger and sarcasm as they most assuredly are in this post.

In the mean time, I thought it interesting to comment on how at times in each of our lives, quotes ring so true… a few mere words in a mildly inspirational, witty or simply funny quote, can light a fire in the belly of someone in a negative situation and inspire them into progress.

Words inspire me into action. They fuel my competitive drive.

And the right mix of well-timed characters can provide someone like me with a resolve capable bringing my performance and focus to the next level in any arena of my life.

But lately, even before last week, I’ve been in a dip. I typically experience these dips after a time of unexpected success or an obstacle I can’t seem to overcome. This time, it was both.

And usually, I have a mid-dip routine.

I read a few Seth Godin books. I dive into other sources of inspiration. I write. I take some time to think about nothing. I take a little more time to reflect on that nothing. I read. I learn. I pray. I repeat.

This time, though, this unexpected blow hit me just as I was beginning to “press in” to the dip – that window of time when I lean in… work my behind off, and usually find myself coming out of it.

But, instead, after last week’s events… I’m still in the thick of it, and now doing my best to find my way out.

One thing I knew growing up as an athlete was that I had a God-given gift – to no credit of my own, but simply because I was blessed with it – to perform extremely well under pressure.

I was the one who hit the big shots in front of large crowds as a young teenager, who spelled words I today would embarrass myself at attempting in front of a national spelling bee audience. 

I had been blessed with skills, a fierce competitive fire and an ability to rise to the occassion. Today, I feel equally blessed as those same as those abilities have transitioned into my career.

And over the years, my competitors, many for whom I have a deep respect, have kept that fire in my belly alive and well, while inspiring me to become better every day. I thank them for that.

Yet, any time someone went out of his or her way to compete by intentionally causing my teammates, colleagues or me harm – whether verbally or physically, and whether from a rival point guard, a long list of my company’s industry competitors, or a random individual with the intent to harm my career – my ability to perform under pressure is what I’ve always resorted to as my best defense in times like these.

Unethical actions such as those that cause harm intentionally versus competing with integrity have lately inspired my resolve, fanned the fire that will fuel my performance-based response, all while signaling the beginning of my departure from the dip. 

At the end of the day, individuals who choose to harm others instead of competing with integrity are likely those so narcissistic that they tend to completely underestimate their targets.

And what is rarely recognized before it’s too late is shared in the quote at the top of this post – the problem with burning bridges behind you in any industry or business, especially when picking a feisty competitor like me as a target…

…Is that the world is round. My potential is high. And my memory is forever.

Until next time,

SKE

 

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