Tell It To Me Straight

248331366923238052_jpHEv0sP_cEveryone 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.

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46 thoughts on “Tell It To Me Straight

  1. This post could have been written by me–I agree with all your beliefs, it almost made me cry–now your advice on leadership is a bit out of my expertise but it taught a lot in a few words-excellent excellent post–it is so great to read someone that has similar beliefs, triumps and trials!

  2. This hits home. I spent a good part of my life not surrounding myself with people who lift me up, but rather people who held me down because I never felt worthy enough to be lifted…if that makes sense. I will attest to your statement that this behavior will in fact prevent growth. I am so fortunate to have found writers like you who inspire me to be more and remind me I’m worth it. Thank you Mimi!

    • I think we are both fortunate – for I too am regularly inspired and provided with much food-for-thought by you and others I follow on WP. And your comments do make sense – I think many of us have been held down by circumstance &/or people in our lives. How amazing that moment is, when we realize that we are deserving of so much more.

  3. So much wisdom here my dear. I had front row seats on(though thankfully did not work for) a leader who “bought” loyalty and performance from his employees through bonuses, threats, intimidation, big salaries, and various combinations thereof, and the team that resulted was completely dysfunctional–everyone afraid to initiate anything for fear of being cut off at the knees, everyone nervous, sniping, debilitated, etc. In short, a miserable situation that ultimately benefited no one, yet the leader could not, would not hear the truth of the situation. But as you say, the chickens come home to roost eventually. His employees despise him and the company will NEVER reach its full potential, despite some great ideas and talent within the group. And the leader is miserable (and mean) because he feels that everyone is thwarting his vision. It’s a royal mess.

    Life’s too short, and for my money the pure truths you cite are the best ones going. Life is so much about attitude and perspective–yours is rich and wondrous in both. Xox, l

    • Aw shucks honey, that’s ’cause you love me..and you know darn well that sometimes my perspective goes right out the window!! But I love you for your bias…and so much more..xoxo, m

  4. I still marvel at how inextricably are passions and beliefs are connected – even after all this time. Don’t get me wrong, there is so much love and happiness in that one sentence I hope you can feel the hug withing its words. And, today, as always as I read your blog, I applaud the way you make your words dance in sync and the way you bind your thoughts together so they touch the heart of every matter you address leaving the reader wiser and validated for taking the time to meet the Karma Truck on its route. The truths that we tell each other are only a part of what keeps our friendship strong. Then there are the truths we tell ourselves and because we are in such a powerfully empowering, wonderfully beautiful place, even if we gently question what the other believes to be true, we have the ability to listen and hear to learn and accept the lesson because we know the words come from a place of pure and unconditional love. Embrace the day my dearest friend. Bring hope to the children, compassion to the horses and take time to know that you make many a day brighter when it starts with you at the wheel – and that, my friend, is the truth. To the moon and back, kiddo.

    • I’ll write more later, but it was a wonderful day at the barn..I’m beyond happy and smell to high heaven of horses and hay (eau de barn)…And yes, we are connected over years and belief systems and idealistic views about making a difference. And you brighten my day each time we connect – however we manage to do that..To the moon and back sweetie..

  5. So true…you have to believe what goes around comes around or else you go mad!! But especially in managers and leaders. It will bite managers in the rear end if they can’t get more than an obligatory effort out of their teams. Another great post. Can’t wait to catch up on other recent ones that I missed!!

    • Hey Jenni – great to hear from you!! I do think that there is some comfort in knowing that somewhere in the universe there is balance. The trick is accepting that you may not be there when it happens, but trusting that it will. At that point, it is the individual’s lesson to absorb, and one can hope that s/he does.

  6. Thanks for breaking your rule; I love when you talk about leadership, especially since you were such an effective one and are so on target. . When you’re in one place long enough, you get to see that what comes around really does go around. A reminder that it’s always worth the effort to do the right thing. I noticed that when leaders make decisions without being in touch with the people who get affected by them, it leads to such dysfunction and inefficiency. Very annoying to have monkey wrenches thrown at you from those who are supposed to prevent dysfunction.
    I’ve been out of the loop for a few weeks (lack of downtime) and am so glad I checked in today and cant waitnto catch up. Thanks!

    • I’ve missed you Fran and hope all is well. It’s wonderful and appreciated to see you back on the karma truck. Happy too that you liked this post and even encourage me to break my own rule every once in awhile!!

  7. “I’ve been in too many conversations with too many people lately who are feeling the effects of uninspired oversight.” Yes. This is endemic. Inspired leadership takes work. It takes a a keen understanding of your craft and it takes time. It takes real one-on-one time and candor. You might crack some eggs – but if you’ve developed a trusting relationship, you will garner respect because your objective is a noble one – to push your colleague to a higher level – closer to achieving potential. And when this doesn’t happen, and this is often today, your employees are left what you suggest. The money tree. And the money tree is an inadequate inspiration tool especially in today’s new normal.

    • It takes a lot of work – and I’ll go a step farther and suggest that if focusing on this kind of effort isn’t your thing, step up and acknowledge it. I think there are many people promoted into leadership roles who are not ready or particularly care to engage in the one-on-one conversations, the candor and/or the trust-building. It would serve organizations a world of good, to consider their criteria when placing people into positions of leadership. Thanks David…I’m sorry for the delay in responding – you were in my spam file!! The indignity..

      • :). Yes, I agree. But how many times have you seen this happen? Near zero. Ego gets in the way. Lack of training. Lack of engagement by next higher up to help. And usually the result: new/weaker leader is at the end of a sword and a terrific individual contributor is scarred.

      • You’re spot on…it happens all the time. And the cycle will continue until a) there’s litigation because someone said or did something s/he shouldn’t have and a disaffected employee will have hit a saturation point or b) some very strong, highly-regarded leader starts to beat a drum which starts a groundswell of support. Small steps, small beats – yet to do nothing is to portend a fate that is too unfortunate for too many.

  8. The truth can be painful at times and liberating at others. But then one person’s truth may not be the actual truth. It may only be their opinion. As for leaders in positions of powers, you are so right but–they don’t want the truth, they want to hear the words that make them feel even more powerful.

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