This is part of my Get Better Friday series, all about being a better leader. Each piece is me describing what I’ve been practicing to help me become a better leader and coach for my team, my career and my personal life.
– Finding the gap between what you’re telling yourself and what you’re telling other people.
– Telling the truth to avoid that gap.
This also appeared in What’s Your Story | DC Marketing Mixer #37 which included:
– Working with the sales team now that they have some more time.
– Fixing your accessibility problem.
– A huge batch of Hot links to bookmark.
The importance of the truth
It has been a while since I have made one of these and I’m in a new space, and I am in practicing being in that new space, and so I’m very happy with where I am right now. And I’ve taken a break from making these as I’ve shuffled around, and I’ve also taken a break because I’m just in a mode of listening.
A couple of months ago, I lost my job, I was laid off. And at that time, I’ve looked for and landed another job, which I’m very very thankful for. I’ve also moved across the country. So, in this time, there’s been a lot of disruption for me, but there’s been a lot of disruption in the world and so I’ve been very focused on just listening, just trying to listen to as much as what’s happening, to as many different people, and from as many different perspectives as possible.
Before I really get into today’s topic, I want to ask you to send me what you’ve been listening to. What have you been paying attention to, what have you been reading, what have you been absorbing in these last two months? I’d love to hear from you, so please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know what have you been paying attention to because I would love to see that.
Now for today’s topic.
What I wanted to focus on is telling the truth. As I said, a couple of months ago I was let go. At that time, I took it personally, which is the thing that you’re not supposed to do. I took it as though it was me. I was the problem, not the company, not the virus, not all the problems with the economy. That it was me, I was the one that was the problem.
If we go back even further, when I first got into marketing, I dealt with a lot of impostor syndrome. So when I got laid off I came to the conclusion, they finally caught on that I was a fraud. It took me a while to parse through that and to come to terms with what it. That it wasn’t about me, and what it was about the economy, and the job, and the company, and everything that was happening,.
At that time, a lot of people asked me how I was doing. What was I doing? What was going on with me? How I was gonna be able to get through it? What they were really getting at, was that they wanted to help me. But in my shame, in my stubbornness, I continued to tell people I’m good. That I’m prepared, I know what’s happening, I prepared for this, I’m ready to go. I used it as an excuse to not ask for help and not to tell people that I needed help. As I’ve been thinking about that time period, it made me think about this quote,
“What’s the story I’m telling myself, and what’s the story I’m telling other people?”
Really think about that gap. What is that gap that you’re telling yourself versus what you’re telling other people? I had a huge gap. I was caught as an impostor, a fraud, that I wasn’t as good as what other people were telling me. That it was finally time that it caught up to me. Then outwardly telling people I’m great at what I do, I love my job, I’m gonna be able to land on my feet really fast and I’ll be able to just dance right through this. So why the gap? Why am I telling myself one thing, but telling other people a different thing?
That’s where we get into danger a lot, especially as leaders, is that we outwardly project or say something, while inwardly saying something else, and how important at that moment the truth is. How much your people need to hear the truth. What’s happening in your mind? What is it that you’re thinking about? What are you concerned about? What are you excited about? What are you waiting for? What do you feel like it is a lost cause? Get that information out there. Don’t say we’re doing great, everything is good, we’re a close-knit team, we’re a family, everything’s going good, knowing it’s not true. Knowing your team is far apart, or you’re not getting closer to your mission, or the company’s not doing very good, or you picked a direction, it ends up being the wrong one. The difference between what you’re telling other people and what you’re telling yourself is the truth, and you gotta get the truth out there.
Sometimes we do it in the opposite direction. We work on something really hard, confident we did good work. We tell ourselves we did good work, we’re proud of it. Then outwardly we tell other people, oh, I just put this together really fast. I’m sorry I didn’t have enough time to put in all the work into it. We self-deprecate.
Here’s an example. You put together a really good slide deck, you know you’re good, it’s good to go, it’s as best as what you can do. Then you tell other people when you show up to the presentation, sorry I didn’t put as much work into it as I wanted to. Sorry if it doesn’t make any sense, I’m sorry if these slides are going too fast or if I’m talking too fast. We immediately go into self-deprecation mode.
Go to the truth. What you know the truth is is that you’re good and that you did good work. Tell people the truth.
That’s what my message is this week, and I’d love to hear from you what’s an example of a time where you didn’t tell the truth. You had one thing in mind and you were outwardly telling people something different. I would love to hear what that is. Let me know what those times were, what was something that you were doing something publicly but privately, it was something different. I’d love to hear from you. That’s all I got for this week. I’ll see y’all next time.