Do you notice how your life gets filled with themes? This week the theme is speaking the truth. In many client sessions, I’ve noticed participants having trouble being honest about what is really happening. They’ll do it, but only after a high level of trust has been established and some coaxing on my part.
In a world of multiple devices and limited attention, we are often rewarded for masking what’s going on, in service to getting things done. The more we do, the more we are valued. But at what cost? The distance between how you really feel and what you say becomes an internal white noise that keeps you safe, but keeps you separate.
It is easier sometimes to push away the truth because to speak it requires being vulnerable. In the work world that’s a risk. You risk being discounted, overruled, demeaned or isolated. But what you gain when you say what’s real for you? That’s priceless.
Find the truth and bring it to light. It’s a mantra I have. Sometimes I’ll use a story that illustrates my own vulnerability – to demonstrate it. Or I’ll kick off the truth telling by stating the unspoken and testing it with the audience. The best moments are when the honesty bubbles out of the team in the room.
In those moments, suddenly everyone is wide awake. The phones go away, the hands go up, the heads nod, the togetherness comes in and here we are. It’s bumpy, it’s messy, it’s real and it’s awesome. With all the cards face up, we can begin to really shift what we’ve been doing.
Speaking the truth takes practice. First, you have to know how you feel, which means you have to be honest with yourself. Honesty requires spacious curiosity, to dig under the first layer and see what it’s really about.
Then, you have to be brave enough to say it out loud, without blaming anybody for your experience. That’s a skill: to own your own experience without trying to blame leaders or partners. You want to avoid using “we” language and assuming your feelings are “our” feelings.
It’s you out there. You on your own, owning your experience. That’s the part of taking responsibility for ourselves we get to learn over and again. It’s courageous and hard and it sometimes doesn’t look pretty, but you’ll feel different afterwards. You’ll know you aren’t alone when other people say things like “I wish I could have said that, I feel that way too.”
This week, when you are in a meeting or talking with someone, pay attention to when you want to check out, or you sense there is something more to be said. Take a deep breath and get curious. Ask yourself, what’s this about? If there is white noise between what’s being said and the truth, and you sense it will bring you to a deeper discussion, say something. Something about what you are experiencing in that moment.
Make this day count, bring on the truth.