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Burning Bridges

Most of us know that burning bridges is a bad idea, but sometimes it still happens.

Most of us know that burning bridges is a bad idea, but sometimes it still happens. There are people who struggle with understanding their emotions and this can cause them to burn bridges on occasion. They become frustrated and make ill-advised decisions related to people they work with, family members, vendors, friends, etc. Of course, we all have our moments of wanting to burn down the house so to speak. Where we want to show those who wronged us by saying or doing something that is outside our character and inadvertently does irreparable damage to our reputation in the process. That is what it comes down to. How much do you value your good name and reputation?
American playwright and entrepreneur Wilson Mizner had a great quote related to this idea. He said, “Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down.” I think that’s what happens to people. They get full of themselves, begin reading their own headlines, and think they can say and do whatever they want with no recourse. They would be wrong... I had someone just the other who was willing to burn a bridge and it was all a simple misunderstanding by way of miscommunication. It felt like he was suggesting that we were treating him as less than the grandiose image he had of himself. Like, “don’t you know who I am?” Yes, we know who you are, now. Ralph Waldo Emerson summed things up when he said, “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.” Basically, our actions speak louder than our words.
When someone decides to throw an unprofessional tantrum to the point of burning a bridge, they are telling you who they are. They are telling you that you just dodged a bullet. While it may be painful at the time, they are doing you a favor. It’s always better to know if someone has these sorts of tendencies as early as possible. That way you can mitigate any damage they could bestow on your company’s reputation. Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” That is what burning bridges is all about. Keep his quote in mind when you feel the urge to emotionally retaliate over something that could be nothing more than a misunderstanding. Remember, your good name is only as virtuous as your reputation.

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