Three very simple words. One very hard rule.
So, what is the truth? I want to write for a living, which in essence means, I not only aspire to lie, I work really hard to tell such a quality lie – a lie that makes you feel so good – that you will pay me big money to lie for as long as I can.
But every story I tell is the truth, from a certain point of view (N.B. I tried to embed a gif into my post and I really hope it works and that is the truth).
Absolute truth would be an interesting story to tell, actually. But it would surely be science fiction, because while we don’t all lie, well tell our best versions of the truth.
Do I tell the truth at work? As often as I can. If there is an employee who I am having trouble with, we will have a conversation about it and I will tell them truthfully what I think about their behaviour and evidence from their performance. At the same time, I expect the same truth from them – about why this behaviour is present and what they want to do with it. And based on that sharing of truths, we create a bond and start to build a trust. And that is where relationships come from.
Do I always tell my customers them the truth? Well, that depends.
The question I hear every single day is a variation of, “Hey, are my parts going to ship on time?”
My answer is we will do everything we can to make it happen. If it won’t be on time, we promise to send a heads up.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. Between the placement of the order and when it is shipped, there are dozens of people involved, each with their own world in various states of disarray, using equipment that is older than they are, following processes that are handed down like sacred rituals not recorded in a proper flow, being lead by managers who are constantly fighting the battle to keep the operations lean so the doors can be propped open for one more day. That’s the truth. But the other truth is this – the customer who placed the order is going through the exact same thing, every day, just like you.
So, yeah, we will do everything to ship your order on time and trust that we will work just as hard as you.
Do I tell the truth to my kids? As often as I can, when it is appropriate. They know most of the sordid tales of my adolescence but not all of them – but if they ask when they are old, I will tell them all the tales they can endure. When they ask questions about the world or what I think and what I feel, I am careful with my language so that they understand me, because I want to be clear.
Do I tell the truth to my wife? To a fault, sometimes. But not all the time. If I have a particularly bad day at work, or I receive some news about a possibility of something that might go wrong but I have no control over it – then no, I don’t tell her. If I am in a bad mood or if something is bothering me? Well, the truth is, I don’t always fess up when should. And this is a failing on my part, because all I worry about is protecting her and the kids and I hate the thought that my worries become her worries. But I am getting better. It’s been about twenty-six long years for her, but I am finally starting to come around a little.
Do I tell the truth to myself? Well, not always. There are times I will keep the truth from myself deliberately, because I don’t want to face it. There are times that I am blind to the truth because the issue is too close to home. But in every instance, when I am honest with myself, it makes my path that much easier. There aren’t as many obstacles in my head. I’ve come to realize that all those people I’ve dismissed who want to ‘find themselves’ are really looking for the truth in themselves and being able to face it and not be afraid of what they learn.
So, yeah, tell the truth. As the saying goes, it will set you free.