My October 2014 article for the Capital City Hues newspaper.
My theme for 2014 was and still is is “manifest”. I selected this attribute with the intention of manifesting lots of health, wealth and love. However, to-date 2014 has bought two maybe three personal scandals into my life. I could not, still can not believe the twists and turns involved in my life and these stories. One is out right fiction and the other two are unique personal situations that only exhibit very few facts or truths and hindsight reveals that yes I could have handled these situations better.
My initial reaction was shock that rumors and scandals were circulating about me and disbelief that people, who I thought I knew well, believed and repeated these stories. Emotionally, each event felt like a gut punch to my self-confidence, increasing my self-doubt, depression. I have also experienced sadness, fear, anger and so on. My behaviors included leaving my job and move to another state with just what would fit in my car. The move provided deep insights and understanding into the statement “where ever you go, there you are”. As if that were not enough, I moved back to Madison. I will not go into a lot of detail, but needless to say this was not my intention for 2014.
I was experiencing what is called the “dark night of the soul”, an experience that is apparently cleansing and that must occur before I can live within the NOW of my life. This soul event is when you go through your daily life being fully aware of what you are doing wrong, aware of your fear, aware of your anger, aware of your pain. To truly see yourself and to find true self insight you must be aware of what you are thinking, what you are saying, what you are doing and WHY. Why are you thinking that? Why are you saying that? Why are you doing that?”
We like to give the appearance that our communities are made up of perfect people who live scandal free and undamaged lives. However, my friends, if we’re honest, our communities are actually filled with people who’ve had to deal with difficult situations that have threatened their very livelihood, reputation, dignity, and respect. Whether it is the scandal of a divorce, tax evasion, home foreclosure, bankruptcy, employment termination, unwed pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, or some general failure in life, most of us will face situations in our private and public lives that require us to know how to handle our scandal.
Nearly everyone has something in his or her past that they wish wasn’t there, I am taking a play from what I think Scandal’s Olivia Pope would do to handle a scandal:
At first I was surprised, even shocked that I found myself that center of a controversy. I did not think I was “all of that” or a worthy topic of conversation. After taking a long look at my situation, I decided that many famous, noteworthy people had scandals including: many Presidents, entertainers, business people, even Oprah. I have determined that I am good company and I have decided to let these public challenges to my reputation kick start my life and career vs. letting it kick my but.
We certainly create our own realities, there is no one else you can blame. It was no one else’s fault. No one and nothing did it to you. You created your reality. We emerge from this dark taking full responsibility for our lives. And why is that important? Because, as far as I’m aware, not until we acknowledge full responsibility for everything that happened to us are we ready to live in a time in which all our false beliefs of victimization are coming up to be released.
Grow Thick Skin. The only way to deal with that kind of ankle-biting is to learn not to care. Affirmations have become more important than ever for deflecting any negative thoughts.
Create a response strategy. One of the best ways to deal with a bad situation is to be prepared with a personal and thoughtful response. There’s no shame in making mistakes. It’s what you do after the mistake that matters. Businesses that project an image of integrity and honesty are usually businesses consumers want to support.”
Own your mistakes. Be honest, polite and helpful. If you are in the wrong, own up to your mistakes and be forthright about how you are working to correct them.
Don’t get defensive. Respond to others in a meaningful and positive way. Let them know that they have been heard, and react personally. There are always ways to turn a negative into a positive — it’s all in how you approach it.”
Don’t take it personally. Remain strong and do not over react in the media or in person while trying to defend yourself or your company. As hard as it is, just let it go, see if there is something you can improve and look ahead. News is quick and it too shall pass. People have shorter memories in regards to your business than you do of your own.