Growing up, my father always told my sisters and I if you tell the truth, you may still get in trouble, but not as much trouble; and if I am going to tell the truth, I will admit I learned this lesson primarily from watching my older sister take one for the team on this topic. Constantly.
I definitely learned the value of calling my dad for a safe ride home if I had too much to drink; or letting him know that he could expect a call from my dean of students before he got to my dad. But upon graduating college, and becoming an adult, life picked up where my dad was able to leave off; and over the years I have learned an even bigger, more valuable lesson – and that is the difference between being someone that tells the truth versus being someone who just is honest. The latter of the two will lead you to more happiness, peace and fulfillment in life than anything else I can imagine.
The cool thing about being an adult, I learned, was getting to do exactly what I wanted, without asking permission and without worrying if I would get grounded. The not-so-cool thing is getting grounded was replaced by things like getting fired or getting dumped. And after some ‘adulting’ I began to miss the consequences of simply being grounded.
So, back to the difference between telling the truth and being an honest person. While telling the truth is always the high road one should take, there are sometimes grey areas. For example, for my first few jobs out of college I commuted into New York City to various clients working in financial consulting. My commute required I drive to the train station, take a 45-minute train ride, catch a cab from the station to wherever my client’s office was (little known truth – it’s okay to be anti-Subway as a female in business professional attire in NYC), all of which took anywhere between one and a half to two hours; so naturally sometimes I was late sometimes. Obviously, this wasn’t professional at all, and to be polite, I would always communicate with my team and/or client if this was going to be more than a cab-stand few minutes of time.
Now, if I were living by the code of I am a truth telling women, I would have e-mailed dozens of times citing that I apologize for the 23-minute delay, I couldn’t find the partner to my left foot, tan, peep toe Kate Spade high heel thus missed the express, so I had a 53-minute local train ride…and so on…you get the point. And with that, I would have sabotaged any effort I made to be taken seriously and probably would have been fired for being a general knucklehead. It didn’t take long for me to trade in my identity as a hard truth telling woman for that of an honest one.
An honest woman is one that tells the truth, but does it with integrity, class and cleverness – as they say, a girl can’t reveal all her secrets. This means that if you are running late, absolutely be professional and even if it means you are getting there at 8:31am instead of 8:30am, let everyone know. Do they need to know it’s because I have a chronic Cinderella syndrome with my work shoes? No. But should I let my team know that I got stuck on the local instead of the express train so they can better anticipate my arrival? Absolutely.
Resolve to live honestly in 2016, and to tell you the truth – it’s the best policy.
By: Kyle Marisa