Andrew’s Blog: Speak Your Truth

How many lies have you told today?

Depending on what time of the day you’re reading this, the number could be extremely high. I don’t want to rustle too many feathers so early into the blog, so rest assured they don’t have to be big lies. I’m not out and out calling you a liar.

But chances are unless you’re living an exhausting and time-consuming double life or have been a successful secret agent, the lies won’t be big ones but you will have told some. But how many?.. Roughly?.. I would be surprised if your answer is zero. In fact, if your answer is zero, I think I will call you a liar…

 

A recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts found that in a 10-minute conversation, 60% of people told on average 2-3 lies. So depending on how long you’ve been awake today, chances are you are racking up mistruths into at least double figures. But don’t feel bad. It’s not just you doing it. People are lied to between 10-200 hundred times a day. It seems we’re all at it.

 

So is honesty really the best policy? Or are we being lied to about that, as well?

 

This is my blog where I talk about balancing living in a complex world. Thanks so much for reading in. I’m really glad you could join us…Honestly.

 

As you heard from my introduction, truth-telling may not be as commonplace as we think it is. However, this idea does prove that telling the truth can be difficult. If it was easy, surely more of us would do it more often.

 

There is a science to the lies we tell. For example, studies show that about 25% of lies are told for the benefit of others, to protect them, support them and assure them that no one would have noticed how drunk they were at the staff party, and they really have nothing to worry about on a Monday morning.

 

This means, however, that the rest of the lies, the 75% of the lies we tell, are to benefit ourselves. The thing is, though, they might not be benefiting us as much as we think.

 

If I ask you to think of what you want, what would your answer be? Unless this question is at the forefront of your mind daily, it might be hard to answer, but I am going to encourage you to have a think.

What do you want?…

 

I want to be really clear that I want you to search for an honest answer. Today we are going to start getting to the truth. This question was probably easier to answer when we were younger.

 

I think the reason we as adults like asking children, “what do you want to be when you grow up” is because the answers are often hilarious. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was 6, I would have said a Hockey Player. I said it with confidence, honesty and determination. If you’d have asked my friend Katie when she was 6 years old she would have told you she wanted to be a Dinosaur.

When I asked my son, he said to win the Stanley Cup. Of course.

 

All of these dreams were clear, honest answers to the question, “What do you want to be?”

As we get older and have more regular visits to “the real world” not only, often, does our passion go, but also our honesty. I am going to invite you to have a quick think about what you want, and I want you to answer honestly. Only when we know what we are seeking will we know when we find it. Being honest about what you want is the first step towards achieving it. So be honest. What do you want?

 

Once you’ve worked out what you want, the next challenge is, of course, how do we make it happen? This question is another where lying to yourself and others will not serve you no matter how much you think it will.

 

Let me give you an example. I, as many of you, know by now, play hockey. I love playing hockey, and I am motivated to keep playing and improving as much as possible. I want to be the best player and teammate I can possibly be. If I want to achieve this, I need to be realistic about how to do that. It means taking into consideration training; it means eliminating alcohol intake, making sure my diet is providing me with the fuel I need to succeed. The least I owe myself, and the least you owe yourselves is honesty about what it takes to get to where you want to go.

 

There is a famous image; I’m not sure if you’ve seen it or not, of a ballet dancer on pointe, where they are upon their tiptoe in a ballet shoe. The image next to it is her foot without the ballet shoe on it. Her toes are bandaged, plastered, cut and bruised. Now, let me be very clear, the takeaway from this isn’t nor should it be “if you’re not bleeding by the end of the day, you’re not working.” There is little to no benefit from ending your workday with less blood in your body than you started with. But I think it is a helpful reminder that success takes hard work, sacrifice, compromise, enthusiasm, dedication and honesty. The ballet dancer makes it look deceptively easy, but they know how much it took to get there. They are honest about what it takes. And we should be too.

 

Success in business and in your personal life takes honesty. From listening to your body and really hearing what it has to say, whether that is “we need to rest” or “we could do with some exercise.” all the way to the terrifying thought that someone in your business may be able to do a job just as well as you. A thought that I confess, I struggle with sometimes.

 

If you run your own business, as I do, you know it is not just a job. It is a passion, a life choice, a tangible, real part of your existence. It is often one of the first questions we are asked when we meet someone. Remember those events we used to be allowed to reluctantly go to when we are trapped in the dreaded small talk of-

 

“…sooooo….what do you do.”

 

Although this pandemic has been going on for so long now, I almost miss an awkward small talk. My point is, the fact that running a business takes so much energy and passion means, by default, that many of us fall into the “control freak” category of humans. And there are plenty of us there.

 

We are unable to contemplate that someone else could do the job as well as us, and maybe that is true, but if we are honest, as we are trying to be from now on, remember, it shouldn’t stop us from delegating.

 

Running a business shouldn’t stop us from asking others for help when we need it. Running a business should actually force us to be better at it. It shouldn’t stop us from listening to all ideas before making a decision. Honesty comes in all shapes and sizes, and when it comes to speaking your truth, it has to come with the courage to share your truth with others and allow them to do the same. Elton John wrote, “sorry seems to be the hardest word”, but being more of a Beatles fan, I tend to relate more to the song “Help”. There is a strength in letting go and asking for help. And there’s a truth to it. And that’s what today is all about.

 

You are not under oath unless you currently are, and in that case, why and how are you listening to this podcast? But most of you are not under oath. So please don’t think that, following this episode, if you want to be a successful leader, you can never tell a lie again. But try and focus a little more on speaking your truth.

 

The great Mark Twain once said, “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” so start speaking the truth to yourself.

Want to level up your leadership? Start with the Ten Daily Habits