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Truth-telling: Can You Be An Authentic Leader Without It?

Sun, April 29, 2012 3:14 PM | Deleted user

I’ve been concentrating on truth-telling over the last couple of days while preparing a workshop on Creating Change with Ease and Grace.  The lesson is wrapped around the concept of being truthful about the fears we have that stop us from taking transformational steps in creating the change we want to see in our lives.  There is a structure of cost and rewards to being a truth-teller, and there is an impact that the truth has on you and those around you.  It could be a heavy topic, and as always it generates a great deal of conversation when you open it up for discussion. 

What came up for me as I worked on the lesson, and the exercises for my clients, was the need to always tell myself the truth about any situation.  I commonly say “I don’t have time to (you name it).  I’m busy with taking care of my family, networking, volunteering, and my coaching business.“   Yes, all of that is true, but the real truth is that I am just not doing (you name it).  If I honestly look at my day, I could have found the time, but I rapidly filled my day with activities that may or may not fulfill my values or meet my needs.

There are a couple schools of thought about what truth is.  Dr. Maria Nemeth, Academy for Coaching Excellence, teaches that truth is the facts of what has occurred in physical reality.  Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach U, on the other hand teaches that truth is sometimes deeper and more profound than the facts that have been presented as truth, and is what is so for you.   This may be the difference between two philosophies – the ontological approach vs. the psychological approach.  Regardless, both statements hold some merit of accuracy.

The discovery of truth is at times a process.  It changes over time as you get more in tune with who you are, and make discoveries about your world and how it works.  It’s important to hold your truth lightly, and not let it become a rule that will not allow you to explore a myriad of possibilities with curiosity and delight.  In addition, truth is not something to hold out for others to adhere to; they are living their own truth and are on their own path.   As you begin to explore these concepts, it may strike you that your truth, and the truth of someone else, may or may not be the real truth. 

The more you work to uncover your truth, you will discover that there aren’t that many people interested in the truth.  When you are required to work with people who are not, you must be prepared for the consequences of being direct and you must take care when sharing your thoughts.  Truth-telling must be intentional and well thought out.  It requires you to be sensitive, and choose the time for truth carefully.  It does no good to share truth when it will not be received because the person you are sharing with is not ready to hear it. 

Truth-telling is one of the most important lessons you can learn, or teach, for that matter.  It makes the biggest difference in your life, and if you are lucky enough to have been given children to raise, it is one of the most valuable things you can teach them, just by doing. 

Still your mind, and look around you and inside you.  There you will find your truth, the most important truth of all.  You will not find it in a book or classroom.  You will find thoughts and interpretations there which you must sift through in order to find what holds meaning for you.  Believe in the truth you can perceive with your five senses – the truth of physical reality – and what you feel in your heart.  Once you have recognized the truth, your mind and body will rapidly adjust.

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative TransitionsTwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.    

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