Protect Your Reputation From Hidden Dangers ...by Bill Knell
What do you consider to be the most valuable thing you have? I'm sure that a question like this can bring many things to mind: family members, possessions, pets, health, identity and the like. Reputation may or may not immediately pop into your mind, but it should. Especially since losing that can wipe out everything else we believe to be valuable in our lives.
Even if Reputation did come up as an answer, you would be surprised how many of us risk that precious commodity every day by our actions. Itís easy to avoid outright threats to our reputations by following the laws of the land, being courtious, acting respectful and living a life in tune with the public standard for morality. Itís not so easy to avoid the hidden dangers to our reputation that lurk all around us.
Loose Lips Sink Ships - That was the phrase that adorned a million posters during World War II. Those posters were everywhere. Why? Because the enemy was looking for people that had any sort of information that would be useful to them. That information could often be obtained by a friendly looking person who might strike up a seemingly innocent conversation. This is what the government wanted people to be on the lookout for back then, and itís a lesson we should learn from today.
What we say or express in writing can have a greater effect on our lives than what we do. We live in a day when we are constantly being watched or recorded (knowingly or unknowingly) by electronic equipment. Even our emails and texting can be subject to infiltration by others. Weíre surrounded by people that hang on every work we say, hoping for a slip of the lip that they can text to someone or share through social networking. These are the hidden dangers that should keep us on guard.
The best way to avoid having our reputations compromised is constant vigilance. We must THINK before we speak, text or email. Then, think again! It takes work to be constantly on guard when it comes to our words. The alternative is to throw the dice: say, write, text or share the first thing that comes into our heads without any consideration for the consequences.
Part of being vigilant means responding correctly to the questions and comments of others in a thoughtful way. Again, THINK before your respond. People will try and bait you all the time. It could be because they want to start an argument, make you look stupid or ridiculous, cause a scene or for any one of a million other reasons. We know itís coming, so we need to be ready for it on a momentís notice.
Not every comment or question requires or deserves an immediate response. Sometimes itís wise to step back and respond at a later time, if at all. This can have the opposite affect that people who like to bait others hate: it makes them look foolish instead of you. Itís all about using common sense and being always on guard in the kind of social and comminications environment we all live.
You probably wouldnít leave the door to your home unlocked in the hope that no one would try and enter. The risk would be too great. Yet, many people seem willing to place their reputations at risk by refusing to take the simple step of thinking before they say, write or share some bit of information or gossip in public. The wolves are out there waiting to attack. Everytime we fail to be on guard against hidden dangers when it comes to our reputations, we invite them to a meal where we are the main course.