Dealing with criticism and rumors, has this ever happened to you? I can tell you right now, it’s happened to me. Odds are if you put yourself out there for anything, try to make an impact with anything, you’ve experienced this. So if this is gonna happen when we put ourselves out there, how can we best deal with it? Well, that’s what I’m gonna talk to you guys about today.
At times, we’re a firehouse full of typically alpha males, there’s some alpha females, and sometimes these stories start happening like an episode of “as the hydrant turns” as I guy I used to work with called it. That’s when some of the drama around the station starts happening, and it starts acting like a bunch of kids, as opposed to a bunch of grown adults.
So why does this happen? Why does criticism happen if what you’re doing is to better something or why do rumors start? Well you have to understand something about people, and we always try to justify when things happen. We make up these stories in our head. Maybe it’s why someone volunteered their time to be on a committee. Maybe that person just wants to make an impact while the other person is making up a story, oh, well they’re just trying to get ahead.
Often times in our personal life, professional life, we make up these stories and the majority of the time, they’re false. They’re exactly what they are, they’re made up stories. They actually have no merit and but we like to believe in them because they make sense. Where do we see these stories happen? We see these made up stories start happening when we get passed up in a promotional exam. Well that person, they’re buddies with admin, so that’s why they got promoted. It had nothing to do with the fact that they studied 40 hours a week for three months. No, not that. It had to do with buddies, because guess what? People can comprehend that and that makes more sense to them. They bite on to anything that’s a more dramatic story. That’s why we see these rumors run rampid in certain shifts, maybe stations, maybe whole departments.
So rumors and criticism is gonna happen. It’s gonna happen if you do good, it’s gonna happen if you screw up. The really only way to not to make it happen, is if you’re gonna do nothing. And if that’s the life you wanna live, that’s fine. But be prepared that if you’re gonna step on that playing field, you’re gonna step on the football field, the baseball field, you get in the arena, you’re gonna get hurt sometimes. You’re gonna get bruised. You gotta take your licks. Professional athletes, they get hurt sometimes when they take on that field. That’s what happens when you’re gonna go out and play ball, right?
It sucks. But guess what? It happens. I use this story in the book and I talked about I can give three people $100 each. One person is going to be very appreciative. The other person’s gonna think that I think I’m better than them, like what am I trying to prove. The other one’s gonna be mad because I didn’t give ’em $120. So you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. So if you’re gonna take something in and harbor it because you can’t control what other people say about you and think about you. You can just control how you interpret it. If it’s hurting ya, why do you think what their saying is true? ‘Cause most likely, it’s false. So you can choose to think about something or not.
Here’s a little something to do. Let’s say you heard a rumor that … you’re just trying to promote quick and so that’s why you’re doing some extra stuff. Whatever, maybe it’s not that bad. Thinking about that pisses you off, right? I’m gonna tell you something. I like pineapples. I also like mangoes. Start thinking about how delicious a pineapple is, or how delicious a mango is, when you get a nice fresh fruit. You just change your mindset. Now you’re not thinking about that bullshit, right? Now you’re thinking about something else and all the sudden, those feelings you had, are gone. So you can get rid of them. It’s the stories we tell ourselves, that we start feeling a certain way.
It’s unfortunate, but a lot of people, they make these stories up because they’re not doing anything. Maybe they see someone doing what they wish they were, and to make themselves feel better, they make up these rumors, or they criticize you. I’ve done it where, not really rumors, but I’ve criticized someone and after I realize it, it was ’cause I was dealing with my own damn ego over the issue and I needed to get over it. There’s no need, ’cause like I said, we make up these stories on why something happened or not.
I’d like to give you guys some resources for dealing with these stories. I grabbed two books from my bookshelf and one is, Change your Questions Change your Life. It walks you through different questions to ask yourself and will help you come up with a more positive outcome as opposed to the made up stories where you just get more and more angry.
The next one is Loving What Is by Byron Katie. Get those two books and start, and it will help you start reframing your thought because what it does is asks more questions instead of going, that person did something wrong, and every situation there’s something that you can do better because you can only control you. You can’t control other people.
It’s hard because you can think you did everything right, but at the end of the day, the person you have control over is yourself, so maybe there’s something you could’ve done a little bit different, made the situation better. Maybe the way you confronted it, maybe the way you explained it, whatever it may be.
I’d like to give you another example, a little over a year ago, we got an acquired structure. My goal was to have a live burn at the end but in the meantime I wanted to set up some obstacles in the house. So the house was laid out, we put a burn barrel outside one window, to actually put real smoke inside ’cause we wanted to layer correctly. In the fire room was some cones. The crews had to stretch the front door, they had to come in through the front door, they had to come in about 10 feet, make a 90 degree right turn, down the hallway about 15 feet, and the fire room was on their left. Pretty simple, right? We went and had everyone go through it and we timed everybody to give feedback because at the end of the day, some people maybe took seven minutes, some took two. Who do you want showing up? And the whole goal was to give feedback to the crews. There was no repercussions, nothing like that. I still caught some flack for it because people didn’t like their times being put out there. End of the day, times are results, right?
Either you did a good time or you didn’t. If you don’t like it, go train. So even though I was doing something that was good, I still caught flack. It is what it is, right?
Don’t always get worked up at other people’s opinions. They’re opinions. They’re entitled to them, it doesn’t mean they’re right. It doesn’t mean you gotta dwell on it because the more you dwell on it, it’s gonna make you miserable. So get that thought out of your head. Work on doing better things. But definitely check out those two books. I think they could help with it. And at the end of the day, if you’re gonna do anything, say anything, be anybody, you’re gonna encounter criticism and rumors. Talk to anybody out there teaching, speaking, doing whatever … they get criticized for it. Like I said, people wanna justify why someone’s doing something so they make up stories that makes them feel better.
One of my guys says this … people wanna know you’re doing good, but not better than them.