Honesty It Is Still the Best Policy
The Leadership Life Skill that Leads to an Abundant Life
November is here and during the last two months of the year, we are practicing the Leadership Life Skill Honesty. Quite simply, honesty it is the process of recognizing, accepting and expressing your true, authentic self.
We teach in our ATA classes that honesty is “the first step to an abundant life,” which means listening to your conscience, having the courage to confront the consequences of your actions, and taking responsibility when you are accountable.
Of course, there are times when you feel that lying is an easy, obvious choice. Whether it’s a little white lie or major league fib, once you’re faced with that moment of truth (or untruth as it may be), it’s time to react accordingly. When you’re honest, you feel better about yourself and others feel better about trusting you.
Here are some ways you can practice honesty and, hopefully, lead a more fulfilling life.
Maybe you have a habit of telling little lies. You tell a colleague you can’t make it to their event, because you’re sick, but you really just want to watch the big game. It may seem like something small in the beginning, but getting too comfortable with telling small stories leads to a life of covering up your truths and trying to keep your story straight. Mark Twain said it best, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
This is also where integrity and loyalty come to play. If you know you have Taekwondo class or assured your buddy that you would attend their birthday party, stick to those commitments if possible. In fact, this type of accountability will make you feel better and show those around you that you are dependable.
Be honest in your relationships and recognize when you aren’t being truthful to yourself or others. If you just want to stay around the house, simply say that you don’t feel like getting out that evening. If it’s something you know you need to do, remember that your word is gold and treat it as such. Begin to untangle your web of lies.
You’ve probably seen it. The small child with chocolate all over their mouth denying that they are the one who took the last cookie. It’s kind of cute, because the child is scared of what will happen when they fess up.
It’s not as cute when you’re an adult. So, start practicing your truth NOW!
When you tell the truth—even if there is a consequence—people will respect that more. Accept that we can’t change the past, but we can embrace a better future. This is part of being honest with yourself. Jennier Iacovelli, author of Living and Accepting Your Truth explains that “We can re-write the story in our heads all we want, but if we reshape it in a way that betrays our truth, then we can never truly be at peace with ourselves.” That can be an uncomfortable way to live. She adds, “If we can’t live with a little discomfort, we may end up creating a whole lot of pain.”
Therefore, practice being honest, even if the truth hurts.
Yes, there is the very literal way of expressing your honesty: tell the truth. Be honest with yourself, your loved ones, even to strangers.
(Warning! We’re about to get deep here.) If you feel like you lie more than not, then it’s time to evaluate your relationships or how you view them. If you can’t be truthful to the people that mean the most to you, or you always have something to hide, it’s time to take a deep look inside and find the root of the problem.
Try expressing yourself to those you care about and maybe you can work on what’s going on. Dustin Wax on Lifehack.org says, “Admitting your fault puts you one step closer to dealing with it and can often be the first step towards a successful turnaround” in yourself or in your relationship toward others. Aha! The first step to an abundant life.
No matter your age, it’s time to start living a more honest life. Instill this life skill early in children. Reward them for telling the truth. As for adults, remember that little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. Be an example. Keep in mind, honesty is meant to be a compass that keeps us in line with the North Star with such accuracy that we are never lost.
It may sound cliché, but the truth shall set you free.
Author: Jenny Wolff