Why is it so hard to tell the truth sometimes?

Hard to tell the truth

Hard to tell the truth

Who isn’t telling the Truth?

CBC News reported a few days ago that Toshiba’s CEO and eight other executives were resigning as a demonstration of taking responsibility for systemic avoidance of telling the truth at Toshiba.

The article goes on to say, “There was intense pressure to produce results, so employees felt cornered into resorting to inappropriate measures.”

We just cannot achieve superior performance, individually or in teams, unless we are actively being Authentic and Truthful.  The truth is the mother of trust. Caring and consistency are her sisters.

A definition for Truthfulness:
Being truthful in thoughts, words, and actions while Acknowledging Universal Truths and expressing from full awareness in mind and body”

A universal truth: Followers yearn for leaders who are real.  Leaders who tell the truth consistently.

Self-leadership is about recognizing these moments of universal truth and being authentic and vulnerable enough to tell the truth even in the face of possible criticism or an onslaught of feelings.

The skills to manage criticisms and overwhelming feelings are ones that can be developed by the personal leader. It’s all possible with an appropriate personal leadership development plan that embraces more authenticity.

A key reason we’re not fully authentic is that we’re not courageous enough. Courage enables us to be Authentic – we cannot be Authentic until we first have the Courage to be so.

When we’re Authentic, we’re aligned: the mind the voice, the heart and the feet all say the same thing. There is no second-guessing ourselves, and no desire to paint things in a certain way.  Truth then becomes a by-product of Authenticity.

We all yearn to find leaders who are authentic.  The truth just like authenticity is palpable.  People can see it from a mile away when you’re incongruent. They may not know what to do with it, but they sense it.

As a personal leader, you might also be watching how the some people are responding to Donald Trump as he pursues the US presidency.   Every day this past week, I’ve heard things such as how refreshing it is for a politician to be “telling it how it is”.

I  point out the difference between speaking an interpretation and speaking a Truth.  It is sad how frequently we all take someone’s opinion and judgments as “Truth” instead of a mixture of interpretations.

The truth is what it is and may not always be kind, but it shouldn’t wound either. The truth just is, does not have any energy behind it on its own. It’s the interpretations that we’d lay down beside the fact that makes truth-telling hard for some. (to say and to listen to)

Famous truthfulness quotes by Winston Churchill that say things like: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is“.

So, as you can see lot’s of conversations in the media right now about truth-telling.   How about you?

how to tell the truth

You might say it’s not hard to tell the truth.  Here is a little challenge, take this simple self- discovery quiz, answering with a simple true or false answer.

  • I always tell the truth
  • I have never taken anything that was not mine
  • I am never intimidated
  • I am always the best at whatever I do
  • I like everyone I know
  • I never fool myself

Did you notice any gray areas?  Any places where you wanted to say almost always?  Any places where you have a complete fail?       I know personally being extremely optimistic, I don’t always tell myself the truth.

Truth telling is not always easy, and we all can be vulnerable to stretching the truth. A great 1 step is to take full responsibility and be authentic in what you say (and don’t say). You can also build some of the following into your own personal leadership development plan.

Ways to Make Truth-telling easier

Here are some ways to make it easier to tell the truth:

  • Create an environment where it’s safe to tell the truth. Make a pact with others around you that there is an agreement to speak the truth.
  • Agree that there will be no recriminations or punishment for truth telling.
  • Make a commitment to speak the truth in a helpful and positive way. Avoid wounding with the truth.
  • As you tell the truth make clear distinctions between what you observe and what you think about what you see. Recognize the possible impact of your interpretation before you speak.

Here is a good truth question for yourself as an easy first step:

  • As a self-management practice, practice daily telling the truth when someone asks, “How are you?”.   Instead of just answering, “fine” as a default – stop, go inside and see what is  the state of affairs.  (then share THAT).  Then expand to other contexts.



Self Leadership – When Someone You Know is Being Resistant

Is someone in your life being resistant?

There will be times when someone around you will not buy in to an idea you have or follow your lead.  While you may hope you will be able to influence them; sometimes they will just dig in their heels. Sometimes they will actually go as far as to get aggressive and create an obstruction that gets in the way of your desired goal.  Here is a little resistance related information to help you identify resistance more readily and to help you identify self leadership skills so you can transcend the resistance altogether.

Has anyone ever got your goat when things don’t go as planned?

If you find yourself falling back into a place of wanting to force a situation or an outcome as a solution – it might be time to expand your awareness and your mastery of your own self leadership.  If you do not – there are for sure lost opportunity costs.

Here is a frequent truth.  Often if someone is getting your goat;  you are BOTH in a stance of resistance and maybe even conflict.

How do you know if someone (or even yourself) might be in resistance?

  • People resist what they feel they can not afford to be
  • They may resist feeling; letting things in or letting them out
  • They may resist reality, because that too may be overwhelming
  • They may resist change
  • They may resist possibilities, perspectives or beliefs
  • They may resist taking the steps to getting shared expectations and needs met

Some signs someone might be resistant:

  • Physically preventing something from moving forward.  This can be an actual body language like a “talk to the hand” movement or absenting themselves to break a chain of momentum.  It can also be a metaphoric block where the other person shifts away from being committed to what you want and getting more committed to some thing  THEY need.
  • Being inconsistent. When you notice someone is inconsistent – they may not be honouring their own values.  It’s hard to trust someone when they flap in the wind of another’s values or even lose track of the focus that comes with meaningful action.   With out their own North Star … they will veer off course often.   Being inconsistent can also be an avoidance to completing things.
  • Reacting instead of responding.  Reacting often occurs when someone is only responding on the basis of their own expectations or needs. When either of those go unmet – frustration occurs.  When someone is response-able they instead bring in alternative perspectives and awareness of other’s needs and then act.  Often reaction comes out of fear and most often response comes out of awareness of we are one.
  • Flying off the handle. Similar to reacting, when someone reacts by flying off the handle often they are unaware of anything else other than just their own emotional overwhelm.
  • Being Incongruent.  When someone is not being congruent it is palpable. You can sense that what they think and what they say are not in alignment with what they do.
  • Avoiding truth telling.  When someone is not being vulnerable enough to tell the whole truth of things – often they are resisting the path of being a vulnerable human.  Being vulnerable can be scary when it feels unsafe to be authentic.
  • Sabotaging. Sabotaging can be a way of deflecting away from what is really going on for someone.
  • Seeing only 1 way forward.  A limited perspective is one of the easiest ways to tell if someone is in resistance. What are they resisting?  possibilities, and possibilities can be overwhelming.
  • Talking in the past.  When someone tells story after story – often they are resisting being in the present moment – and all that moment would ask them to feel.
  • Trying to keep things comfortable.  When someone  does try to keep things the same – often they are resisting the momentum that comes with change.  Change means getting out of that comfort zone.
  • Not Caring.  Not caring is a resistance to caring.  To care means to be open enough to be empathetic, aware and present. When someone resists caring.  They often will either keep resistance by trying to care-take or by moving to a place of being apathetic.

If someone is getting your goat, here is how not to get caught up in another’s stance of resistance:

If you find yourself getting caught in the cycle of resistance in reaction to someone else’s resistance or passive aggression, shift from being reactive to instead responding with congruent self leadership and be the change you wish to see.  It will do little good to point out their resistance.  Chances are they are going to be resistant to hearing it.   Instead…

Get your power back through mastering your own self leadership

Step into your own place of strength:

  •  Be focused.  Be strategic enough to set goals with a holistic view and still be mindful enough to the wonder of the present moment and be comfortable with the uncertainty that brings.
  • Love them. Love ideas, love people and love learning and the art of practicing to learn.  If you knoyou have failed at influencing them, and you haven’t been able to take the learning from your failureRaise your love vibration and choose to love them and be unconditionally compassionate.  Then notice what changes.
  • Be open and flexible yourself.  Be open to change and hold multiple-perspectives at once. Make choices from a place of awareness.
  • Tell the truth. Be courageous and authentic in your bold self expression. This is one of the greatest ways you can model effective self leadership.
  • Remember we are all ONE.  Treat everyone and everything with that awareness in mind.

Choose to be in a place of openness, flexibility and grace:

Raise your awareness to what is REALLY going on.  Understanding the unmet needs and intentions of yourself and another is one of the fastest ways to help a situation move from a resistant one to a co-collaborative one.

Besides being one of the foundational pieces in conflict resolution – it’s this awareness that is going to create an opportunity for you to respond vs react.

Once you understand what all the intentions and needs are – you can better choose your path.   Even if you need to bring in some external perspectives – it can be very worth it. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t influence someone – it’s more that you can’t influence them THAT WAY.  Opening up yourself to more perspective is going to expand your flexibility greatly.  It’s also going to teach you how to be a better listener.iFind Your Grace. Get calm and stay there. When you demonstrate self leadership from a place of grace – you are naturally ‘allowing’.  Grace allows for greater rapport to happen, allowing for what might happen in the wonder of the present moment. You are 10x less judgmental and you can love 10x more.

Keep an abundant attitude.  When you lead yourself with an abundant attitude  you have increased your ability to be in a place of openness.  It’s going to help you be present to more feelings with out the fear of being overwhelmed. In addition to the added benefits of being full in your expression of gratitude and self-fullness, no more does it need to be a win-loose game.  Instead you get to see that you have all the tools you need now to get the outcome you want – it’s just a matter of whether you are leveraging them.

Increase your level of Personal Presence.  By paying attention to the ways you promise, produce, play, and practice your self leadership, you increased your personal presence.  Live life now as the person you most hope to be in the future.

Be Inspiring. When you live a life as a personal leader.  You are inspiring. And Inspiration is influential.

so… anything got your goat?