Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What if you were honest?


In the spirit of the title of today's entry- I'll be honest- today's entry will piss a few people off. The reason it will piss some people off, is because we (as a group/society/nation/world) often kid ourselves and avoid some harsh realities. We hide from the truth, and we hide the truth from others.

I'll get right to it - I have defined (thus far) the purpose of my life as, "helping other people realize and work towards their potential by always striving towards my own". Sounds great but there are times when I don't strive towards my potential.There are times when I lie. There were times up until a couple of years ago that I would sabotage myself. I have been working in the same industry for 11 years, and have been on this planet for 32. I feel as though; were I 100% honest with myself and others; I could have achieved the same things I have in my life long ago.

I am not writing a letter of regret here. Rather, I am using myself as an example of what it really takes to be honest with yourself and what a look in the mirror really entails. Maybe it's the economic downturn that is forcing us all to get better. Maybe it's a promise I made to myself and a good friend to 'reinvent' for 2009. Whatever it is- the blinders are off and it's amazing what you see with eyes that are trying to see!

What was "I'm trying" is now "I need to get better"
What was "I'm following systems and doing my job" is now "am I doing the best job I can?"
What was "I'm too busy" is now "I have a son of nearly 5 months and run a business... NOW I'm busy"

And so it is that I have less patience for excuses that stand in the way of people realizing and working towards their true potential. As a father there is little that pisses me off more than when people use their kids as an excuse for NOT doing something. Making personal changes should never be a higher priority that your kids (unless we are talking about harmful habits that need to change like addictions), but it should be on your radar.

I can't think of how many people have told me "you don't have time anymore when you have kids" and then upon further inspection have no system of time management, planning, or personal goal setting. This is not your kids fault.

How many times do we see "balance is important to me- I don't live to work" followed by no plan for long term balance? These are the kind of people who travel in their twenties only to work 3 jobs in their 40s while the people they didn't want to be (who worked their ass of in their 20s and 30s) are traveling 4 weeks of the year in their 40s.

And how nice is it to see the auto industry ask for another billion plus in government funding, coupled with the fact that they plan (GM and Chrysler) to axe another 50,000 jobs, and it will still take 2 years (according to them) to reach sustainable profitability? No commentary on how the disgruntled labor union has crippled their business by costing nearly 10% of the retail price tag in wages that can't be negotiated as people lose their jobs?

There are so many other examples of how we kid ourselves and each other every day, that moving forward becomes very tough. You have to be an expert communicator to even be a mediocre people manager these days because you only get half the story. Sometimes business fail because managers only tell their teams half the story!

What if we admitted our imperfections and sought the wisdom of others instead of assuming the defensive right away? Wouldn't that progress each individual and each conversation a lot faster? Wouldn't focusing on what you need instead of what pop culture tells you to buy create longer term economic sustainability for families?

That is my challenge to everyone who reads swim upstream today. Catch yourself in a lie, and adjust it more times today than you did yesterday. you will move past surface conversations to real interactions - and you will get closer to what you want because you'll have the confidence to SAY what you want. Isn't that moving all of us closer to our potential and our purpose while we're here?

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