Have you ever had a colleague or competitor try to marginalize you or bad mouth you in an effort to discredit you for his or her own personal gain? I’ve had it happen to me a few times and the one thing I’ve learned is that ultimately this type of negative behavior does more harm to the person who’s doing the “trash talking” more than the person on the receiving end.
At one point in my career I found myself competing with the same person on almost every job I was bidding on. I heard about it one day from the potential client who had put out the bid. Apparently, my colleague thought that if they discredited me, they would get the job. But it doesn’t work that way. What people don’t realize is that even though they may be successful in knocking out their competition, that doesn’t mean that they will get the job. What usually happens is they don’t and they end up making themselves look bad.
If this should happen to you in any areas of your life, here are some ways to deal with it:
- Ignore them and let their negative behavior roll off your shoulders. I tell myself that it’s not my business what other’s think of me. It’s usually a reflection of their own anger and anger is a manifestation of their fears.
- Misery loves company so negative people only get the ear of other negative people. This is not a crowd I want to belong to because sooner or later these folks will turn on each other. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times.
- I remind myself that someone doesn’t have to lose for me to win. That keeps me focused on what I’m doing instead of what everyone else is doing. As Mark Twain once said, “Comparison is the death of joy”.
- Focus on who you are and what you are all about. Stay true to yourself and put your energy into telling the story you are here to tell. There is only one you. Maximize your potential and minimize the external petty bullshit in your life.
- Be optimistic. Take down the walls and replace them with windows. Find other kindred spirits and join forces with them to inspire and motivate others. Pay no attention to the detractors who only want to control and destroy. Karma will take care of them – it always does.
I live in a very small town. In the recent election, we had a hotly contested seat for the board of education. One candidate ran a very negative campaign, focusing on discrediting his opponent who was better qualified for the job. I thought for sure the guy doing all the trash talking would win, but he didn’t. I guess I underestimated the citizens of my town. They chose the right candidate, the one who took the high road, and karma prevailed.