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Do you keep it real?

January 17, 2013

By Lori Hanson

From a young age we learn that it’s okay to “shape” the truth at times. Some parents even tell us that it’s okay to tell white lies (a harmless or trivial lie, esp. one told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.)

Something I heard early in my sales career that proved to be true on many occasions is, “People think it’s okay lie to a sales person and still get to heaven.”

But what is the point? Have you ever thought about how much easier it would be to just tell the truth? Wouldn’t you rather tell the sales person, “No thank you,” so they don’t contact you again? From the sales persons perspective, they would rather know you really aren’t interested so they can move on to the next prospect and not waste your time—or theirs.

If you’re a teen wouldn’t it feel better to tell your boyfriend or girlfriend that you’re just not interested in hanging out any more vs. ignoring them and making up some excuse for why you’ve disappeared? (Many teen girls spend hours, days and weeks trying to figure out what they did, when it typically isn’t anything they did.) Remember how much it sucks when you get caught?

Telling the truth doesn’t mean you have to be brutal either. There are nice ways to share your opinion and move beyond an uncomfortable situation.

I’ve often said “If humans had tails there wouldn’t be any politics,” (or lying). Think about it, you can always tell what your dog is focused on, and what their mood is. They don’t play games or have hidden agendas. They don’t toy with your emotions or try to let you down easy.

Dogs show their emotions, are openly affectionate and overly protective when they sense danger. They aren’t embarrassed to let you know they care.

I’ve written about canine loyalty before, and in the past week I’ve seen three new stories of dogs exemplifying what seems to us to be extraordinary behavior:

  • A German Shepherd in Italy that has attended mass every day for two months since his owner’s funeral. (He attended mass with her daily before she died and was there at her funeral.)
  • A Labrador who laid in front of his owner’s casket at the funeral and wouldn’t leave.
  • A dog who paced on the side of a river like a nervous parent after his owner fell into the ice—until help arrived.

There’s a great book I read years ago, titled “Work Like Your Dog.” One of the things that still resonates with me from reading that book is to be adaptable. Dogs love their routines, but they will also adapt if the plan changes. They know how to go with the flow. Humans…not so much because our focus is often mis-guided to ourselves vs. thinking about the impact on the other person(s). And this is where the white lies, or not-so-white lies surface.

What if you incorporated more genuine emotion and communication in your life?

What if you spent the next seven days observing and evaluating how you communicate with other people?

How many times do you spew bullshit when in fact the truth would make the situation easier?

What could you say to soften the message? (If you’re in a bind, there’s always the “it’s me, not you,” approach.)

For the next week as you prepare for your day, make a commitment to add more truth, expression, and loyalty in your interaction with your fellow humans. See what it feels like to keep it real.


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