As we progress into our careers and steadily grow in all areas of life, increased attention and scrutiny is a less-often mentioned tag along. Some people under increased scrutiny and attention shrink in the spotlight while other top performers such as LeBron James and Jeff Bezos rise to the occasion.
For all their accomplishments, it's their demonstration of mental mastery that fascinates me the most. Jeff Bezos recently met and acknowledge during Amazon's annual shareholder meeting that the company has come under an increased amount of scrutiny this year.
Amazon and Bezos have come under increased scrutiny from a wide range of sources ranging from protesters clamoring Bezos has too much power to President Trump over a myriad of issues.
However, through all of this intense scrutiny, Bezos hasn't lost his composure and his response to all of this has surprised many.
A shareholder asked Bezos: "Is this the price one pays for getting this big, this powerful? Is this a trend, is it going to blow over?"
When asked about the situation, Bezos simply stated:
"My own view on this is that all large institutions of any kind, whether they be government agencies, nonprofits, universities, and certainly including big corporations, deserve to be inspected and scrutinized. It's normal. Inside Amazon, we talk about this, I say, 'look, we are a large corporation, we deserve to be inspected. Don't take it personally'."
When I read that response, I immediately thought about Don Miguel Ruiz's (author of 'The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Wisdom') second agreement, don't take anything personally.
As he stated in the book,
"When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don't take things personally."
Whether it's your business, your personal life, or your specific craft, taking things personally only leads to counterproductive habits that steer you off course of your main objective. As we can see through Bezos, no one is immune to scrutiny and opinions being formed about them.
I'm not sure if Bezos is a fan of the Spiderman comics and movies, but the way he handles the situation is similar to the message Uncle Ben tells Peter Parker in that "With great power comes great responsibility".
How to handle scrutiny and outside chatter
We see it in athletics, and especially in business, the bigger someone gets, on the opposite spectrum is an equally growing base that will be questioning you. This is a natural part of success and growing oneself.
As you're working on improving your business and craft each day, anticipate the upcoming scrutiny and chatter that will come knocking at your door.
Bezos states "That we have to conduct ourselves in such a way that when we are scrutinized, we pass with flying colors."
In other words, Bezos is reminding us that it is our responsibility to systematically raise our standard of performance across the board. This philosophy of raising your standards isn't something new, football dynasties have even been built on this principle.