|Make it, don’t break it – it cannot be rebuilt…or can it?|
Everyone makes mistakes, right? That’s what we tell ourselves when we’ve cocked up, when the finger of blame falls, and we find it pointing squarely at ourselves. We try and dilute the awfulness of having failed, the embarrassment of having given wrong advice, the folly of backing the wrong horse.
But it’s great to know that even our heroes make mistakes, even little ones, because that makes them more human and that means we can strive to be more like them, and hopefully, even, surpass them, in our own endeavours.
Some time back, my then-flatmate told me that our leader, in a one-on-one chat, imparted the wisdom that you only have one chance to make a reputation, and once made, it’s yours, for life – unless you fuck it up, then it’s gone, never to be reclaimed. Those words came back to haunt me, when I was ingloriously dismissed by my former employers, because my addiction was so malignant, I had no regard for the truth, and rules were just words I ignored. I’d once been wunderkind, then, pariah. My reputation, ruined, my career in tatters, over, gone – what was left, except decay, and shame, and ultimately, a sorry exit?
Several months of unemployment and pain followed.
Today I work for that same man, that same leader who instructed so beneficently, on the truths of reputation. Today, in fact, he imparted some words on reputation again, to a wider audience, the amazing troupe that powers Mxit. I also got to read the sample chapters of his upcoming book on the mobile revolution in Africa, which detail the personal journey he has been through, over the past few years.
I say thank FUCK that man made a mistake, that he was wrong, about reputation being a one-off spark and that if you bin it, it can never be rebuilt. I’m sure he’ll be glad of that too, and admit he was wrong – after all he DID rehire me, in his new company. Today, I work for that man and I am re-establishing my reputation, not as good as before, but far, far better!
You see, now that I am not leading a double life, now that I am being honest about who I am, who I was, and the mistakes I made, my reputation is backed by a real human being, and not a lie, some construct designed to keep people out and drugs in. Now when I give my word, when I give my story, these are solid, concrete and sincere. Now my actions are designed to engage, not disengage; my story to serve – not to deserve.
There is a common thread – and this was a discussion we had earlier this week – that unites people, and my story is not unique, but you see, that’s the magic! It’s not the uniqueness that draws people to me to share their experiences, it’s that it is everystory, it is everyman, and it is everywhere.
I mentioned to a mate tonight that it is amazing to feel that sense of profound relief that pours out of people – friends, colleagues, Facebook contacts – as they reveal their own secret lives, of addiction, of abuse, of pain – and hear the unspoken words filter through their stories of “thank GOD I am not alone – I thought I was the only one, I thought no one would understand!”
I DO understand, and MY relief is profound, like yours, that my story is shared, by so many, that I, too, am not alone, that we’re in this together, and there is no shame in being who we are.
Wrecked-utation? Watch this space!
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