“Sh*t” I thought, “that was me...”
I had to stop myself from lying.
You see, I’d grown up bending the truth and telling white lies... instead of just saying what really happened and being who I really was.
Most of the time, I’d just not say anything and hope no one noticed...
Or I’d make up a really good excuse! You know, one that nobody could argue with.
The only reason we all do it... To Look Good (or avoid looking bad, stupid, irrational, naive...).
To fit in.
The list could go on!
The strange thing is, I now pride myself on being honest and straight with people.
I’ve learnt how to own up and be who I am.
Sometimes I make mistakes, I’m okay with that.
I do what I need to do to have it resolved.
You may be asking, “what happened?”
Why did I change?
I realised the heaviness and the burden I carried from constantly covering up what I’d done or who I was.
It was hard work. And I was sick of it. I didn’t want to continue this way.
I started being vulnerable with other people, and being my true self...
I started to say, “You know what, I messed up”; and the weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Or I’d say “I wasn’t concentrating, and I’ve booked our meeting in at the wrong time, when else can we meet?”
I felt free!
I acknowledge when I’m in the wrong, and embrace who I truly am.
Being able to leave the guilt behind.
Finally, being myself
… and knowing I’m not stupid or a loser (or whatever else I make it mean!)
Think that being your true self would benefit you?
Here’s a Guide to go from lying to honesty.
It’s what we’ve learnt from our journey of allowing us to be our true selves.
Let’s start with an example.
Here’s the situation...
You’re at work and you deleted a meeting with a new team member (you’ve never met before!).
“Great start! Now I have to let them know what I did. How embarrassing!”
“What will they think of me now?!”
You’re afraid of looking stupid.
You’re a manager and managers don’t do stupid things, right?
You’re a leader and you need respect; otherwise, how else will your team listen to you?!
We NEED to look good in front of others.
Our survival is dependent on it. In the cave days, we needed to be liked and accepted so that we stayed in the community (where it was safe!). Otherwise, we’d be booted out for being useless, a traitor, an outsider... then get eaten by the lions!
Now? Not so much.
There’re no cave men to boot you out, or lions to eat you.
Later, you’ll see, it’s more beneficial to you (and others) for us to just be ourselves.
You can let go of those survival instincts you once needed, and you can be yourself.
Are you ready to jump right in?
Think of a situation where you lied (however big or small) or avoided doing or saying something in case you looked stupid. You might have;
Made a mistake; sent the wrong email to the wrong person
Not said what you wanted to say in meetings in case it was wrong
Rushed creating a PowerPoint presentation and missed out an important part
All the “bad” feelings might be rushing back, and that’s okay! So, what can you do about it?
Accept that you’ve done it! Once you accept it to yourself, you validate that what happened wasn’t wrong. We are all humans and humans make mistakes (otherwise we’d be robots). Accept all the “bad” feelings, all the things that people did or didn’t say (including the ones you may have made up).
You did what you did (or didn’t do)
You say what you said (or didn’t say).
… and that’s okay!
2. Owning it!
You sent the wrong email? Own it. You’re worried you’re going to say the wrong thing? Own it. You rushed your report and missed out an important part? Own it.
… & don’t make what you did wrong. It’s not good or bad, it’s just what happened. No need to justify or explain. There are always consequences to our actions; reflect and see what you’d do differently next time.
Owning it doesn’t just stop there...
Dress differently to others?
Like your own space?
Maybe you’re louder than others around you?
Being different is what makes you, you. It would be boring if we were all the same. Embrace who you are, and allow yourself to be that way.
3. Have the courage to be straight with others.
Once you’ve accepted who you are, what you did or what you said,
And you’ve owned up to it
Be straight with others!
“Look, I messed up!”
“I’m not available past 5pm, please can we do our meeting earlier?”
“I copy and pasted from the template, and forgot to change a paragraph to fit this project” Now list all the situations that come into your mind:
Where you were pretending to know something that you did not know
Where you were hiding
Where you were not saying what you wanted to say.
(Example: meetings, conversations...) Are you ready to own up and be yourself?
Listen, if you are reading and think, "Sh*t, I do this, I pretend and lie. Where do I start?"
Don't worry. It’s about practice.
The problem is this: You read this article and then you forget about it and maybe never hear about it again.
Everything stays the same. Nothing changes.
If you know you have constraints in your communication AND you want to be a successful leader - be willing to work on yourself and get the support you need!
Working on yourself is where the gold is.
We help leaders, like you, be free to be themselves so they can be clear and assertive in their communication at work.
Are you ready to grow as a leader?
You will be coached in situations and experiences you’re dealing with in your day to day work;
Allowing you to see how you are interacting with your team members
Discover new ways of responding in challenging situations
Creating new practices for YOUR life!
You can use these tools in all areas of your life; as a support for your growth, peace of mind and relationships with others.
Andra and Becca