I'm a big fan of honesty and authenticity. I find myself sharing too much information and sometimes self-deprecating information because I think vulnerability is key to breaking the ice and finding a connection of commonality. Also sometimes being completely honest is really funny (and I think it has to do with that connection of commonality). Take for instance my friends and I have this thing where whenever we do something stupid/horrible we will quickly text or call and say, "I have a great shameful admission!" and the next time we are together we share and laugh at our mistakes.
I wasn't always this way, and honestly I can't always be this way with everyone. There are certain circumstances and with certain people you know you cannot share everything. Either because it is a professional relationship or you know that they do not want to hear it. When I was a child I had a problem with lying. I wasn't a good liar but I would lie to cover my tracks all the time. I would say things to cover myself or to make myself look cool. I would make up stories as to why I was late or why I didn't have my homework or why this or that happened. I didn't feel good about it either, I would feel guilty and would worry that they would somehow find the truth. It wasn't until high school that I realized that I could speak truthfully and that sometimes the truth won't get you in trouble.
I was sitting in my English class and one of my fellow classmates told the teacher they didn't do their homework. Can you fathom? Admitting you just didn't do it?! And I heard the teacher say, "Ok, get it to me tomorrow." I was flabbergasted at the idea that 1) they would admit that and 2) that it actually worked. So I started to actually tell the truth. I started admitting that I didn't actually know of this or that band, or didn't know the directions to that place, or what a certain word meant. I found teachers, parents, friends and loved ones were willing to work with you so much more when you just admitted the honest truth, and I didn't have that trail of endless guilt following me around. I had been liberated by truth. I also realized that I wanted to work harder because if I was going to start being honest all the time I didn't want to tell something that would let them down.
I find authenticity is important. Especially in being a leader. You would think that people would judge you harder, and perhaps they will. But I think we will all be more surprised by the amount of graciousness people will afford you. Dr. Cho discusses this in his book, More Than Numbers and I believe that to an extent it is one of the reasons he is so successful.
"I never cover up an error I might have made. Telling my people the truth, whether it will hurt or not, causes them to believe what I tell them. Nothing will destroy your credibility with your people any more than exaggerating or saying something that is not so. When I first started confessing before my people, I died inside. My natural thinking told me that my people would no longer respect me and so for their sakes, I should cover up. But after many years of telling my people the truth, their love for me is stronger than ever. They no longer think I am perfect, but they think of me as honest."
"If you open your heart and share what God has placed there with all sincerity, people will intuitively know it."
I of course still struggle with being truthful, and 100% vulnerable. I still try and hide and mask things. I still try and make myself look better than I am. I still try and hide my feelings. It will always be a struggle of mine because I am a human looking for acceptance.
This morning I woke up anxious again. I have been for the last couple of weeks. I wake up around 5am and feel sick. I try to fall back to sleep desperately seeking rest and the peace it offers. Though tossing and turning for a couple hours gets kind of old so I finally will wake up and try and read or be productive. This morning after tossing and turning I decided to read a blog that I have been really enjoying lately. He posted this TED talk which I have seen on a couple other blogs lately and thought I should watch it. It only confirms everything I have been thinking already. So in conclusion...watch it.
(I am by nature an anxious person, so any amount of pressure good or bad, causes me to have interrupted sleep and I can't stop my thoughts and therefore can't fall back to sleep.)
PS Here are a couple blog posts/articles I've read lately that I think are great.