Reputation & Accountability

The definition in the Webster Dictionary for Reputation reads: “The beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something” and “A widespread belief that someone or something has a particular habit or characteristic.

Reputation. Good, bad, it follows you wherever go.

One person can tarnish another’s credibility and reputation with one word, and even by association there can be room for potential damage. Sometimes there’s justification behind it, some honest reason to inform others of potential danger, others it’s just out of being malicious and unkind. There are plenty of people out there who are just not nice.

I am not a victim of an unjust, bad reputation, I have no vendetta against anyone to whom I’m directing this to. I find this topic very interesting though because of the VALUE of someone’s word towards another. The value is priceless and irrevocable if you do something that is not moral and it affects other peoples lives, you risk your own good name and how important is that to you? Is Money a good enough compensation to lose the trust and friendship in others?

Accountability is more of an inward quality that is very overlooked in todays society, the definition is “the quality or state of being accountable” Recently I was summoned to Jury Duty and seated on a panel, during the elimination process, there were countless questions to the potential jurors, one man who clearly didn’t want to be there said that he had no faith in the justice system, that it’s cases like the one we were seated on that wastes our time and that of the tax payers. I was inclined to agree with him to an extent. An interviewing attorney argued that his client was wronged and the defendant had the right to defend herself, her name and reputation were at stake, therefore they were going to let a jury decide their fate and of course either award money or not, his question to the juror was, is there a price to RIGHT or WRONG? If his client was suing for $1.00 verses $25,000 would we feel different because of the dollar amounts? One woman answered, “I’d just give them the dollar” and not fight for what is right or wrong? There was no countersuit, the defendant just wanted this process to end and clear her reputation and to not be responsible. I was surprised that a case like this (fender bender) would go to a jury trial, It did. I was excused from the panel, though I am curious as to the outcome, we’ll never know. Countless lawsuits are brought to our courthouses each day that we never hear of, peoples reputations are at stake each day by frivolous lawsuits. I think what I’m trying to understand is: Where’s the accountability?

I find that when you lose your ability to become accountable for your own actions, your reputation becomes soured.

So what is the purpose of this blog entry? I’d like to open a dialog regarding accountability and responsibility, what does it mean to you? For me, every action has a reaction, for every decision I make, there’s a repercussion, good or bad, it’s the nature of life. Gossip, strife and pettiness have been going on for centuries, in the workplace and within social circles, this is human nature, so how do you step above that and stand out above the rest?

As beginning martial artists, we initially train to defend ourselves, but as we progress to black belts we graduate to a different level, we earn a higher level of honor and integrity. We are students, but also we are instructors who are here to teach and set positive examples. Our actions and reputations are looked upon as direct reflections of who we are as a whole. I’d be interested to know about your view on this, as an instructor and as a student.

Andree Scanlon