Tell It To Me Straight
Everyone I know insists that they want to hear the truth. I’m not sure everyone I know is being completely honest about this. In fact, I think that most people prefer to hear selective truths. I’ll go so far as to suggest that we all filter certain realities just so we can wrap our heads around their implications.
– I believe that my bathroom scale is digitally confused and vindictive – swinging wildly between two weights – one I can live with, the other requiring that I eschew food for the next year.
– I believe we’re all a little neurotic.
– I believe that I’m really not getting shorter, rather the units of measurement have changed since I was a young girl and no one told me.
– I believe that the answers to global warming, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and world peace are moment’s away from being discovered. And by this I mean, short moments.
– I believe in miracles. It all depends on your definition of ‘miracles’.
– I believe that continuing to nest even after your kids have grown, married and established homes of their own, is absolutely fine.
– I believe it’s still ok to keep a pair of sneakers in the garage even though I’ve been married for decades and adore my husband.
– And I absolutely believe it’s ok to cry at Hallmark commercials.
On a more serious note, my reality includes the belief that every dog has its day – and I’m not talking about canines here. Somewhere along the way, people who intentionally demean or devalue others will be subject to a painful lesson or two. Whether they get anything out of it or not, is something else entirely. Given that this reality developed early in my professional career (perhaps as a way of dealing with a perverted boss who routinely made sexual overtures, comments, etc), I encourage leaders to read this as a cautionary reminder. If you surround yourself with people who tell you only what you want to hear, and not what you should hear, and agree to follow directives that are questionable and potentially ill-conceived, you will become a person that even you would not want to follow. If you can’t effectively develop your people, you’re not a leader. And of course when the day comes when you realize that people are following you because they are paid a lot of money to do it, you will understand that core values have flown the coop, along with respect, loyalty and collaboration. Yes, I’m still passionate about this. I’ve been in too many conversations with too many people lately who are feeling the effects of uninspired oversight.
I realize I just broke one of my unwritten rules – not to write about leadership or management anymore. My apologies. I guess I believe that reality can be adjusted every once in a while to accommodate that which is scratching at your heart.
And at the end of the day, I believe that there are very few pure truths – though admittedly there are some. What I feel when enveloped in a hug, the way I can make Andy laugh until his stomach hurts, the way the ‘I love you’s’ from my kids can grab me by the throat. The tender velvet of a horse’s nose, the reality that gravity and I are really no longer friends, the magnificence of a cardinal posing in a fir tree.
Regardless of what you choose to accept or deny, I do believe that ultimately life has a way of working itself out. I may not be around to see it, I may not participate in the moment – but believe me – today I choose to accept the reality that everything is going to be just fine.