Every now and then, an article from LinkedIn catches my eye; mostly purely business-related. However, today, perhaps having had a pleasant start of the day despite the usual morning rush that would normally get me all flustered, I came across a powerful piece written by Subir Chowdhury, author of the book, ‘The Difference [When Good Enough Isn’t Enough]‘.
Fine, maybe on another day the title of his book would have sent me running the opposite direction of his article because someone with an inadequacy issue cannot buy into the “When Good Enough Isn’t Enough” philosophy. I would be on a downward spiral in a flash. The title of the article hooked me; and it delivered, unlike many of those misleading titles that get you to the page only to realize that it’s bogus and the content, if any, is BS.
I believe in honesty. I believe that being straightforward matters a lot. I may not always be on track but I do my best.
I have heard of people like Nick. I probably even worked with some of these Nicks. I am NOT a Nick. I may be strict, even harsher than others, and I might be bitchy and callous at times. The job calls for that me. Outside of what needs to be done, I am nice; just nice. I’m not an easy person. I have my quirks and idiosyncrasies. I had to learn, and I did, to be this person that I am in order to survive and thrive in my world. I still cry. In fact, I easily cry. But I can fight.
I am like many; I just want to live my life well and to the fullest, preferably with more successes than failures, more joy than sadness, more peace than anger, and more love than hatred. Basically, like you!
We have countless choices presented to us on a daily basis and we must make decisions. We hope we are making the right ones.
We are responsible for the decisions we make, including the choice to embrace a caring mindset. In addition to being straightforward, a caring mindset requires us to be thoughtful, accountable, and to have resolve. Being straightforward needs to happen with every conversation and interaction that we have—with colleagues, bosses, and customers, friends and family. Without the ability and intent to be straightforward and honest, we cannot create and sustain a caring mindset, or achieve a healthy organization, family, or community.
Our ability to be straightforward suffers when we are afraid. This is true not only in business but in our schools and within our families. When we are afraid, openness and transparency decrease exponentially. We hide the truth, or fake our emotions. We strive to give a false impression to cover up the truth—about how good-looking we are, about how clever or competent we believe ourselves to be, about how much money we make. The result is that we live in a world of deceit and lose sight of the importance of being straightforward and honest.
Pride can cause people to be less straightforward. Ego is a serious problem in a lot of organizations. Too often, senior leaders don’t acknowledge their problems. And when they do, they hide them. “How can I tell others that I have a problem with that? They won’t respect me. They will think I’m weak.” Nick’s pride drove Audrey from the organization, and made a lot of other people around him miserable.
So often it is pride that discourages us from saying, “I don’t know.” When I am asked a difficult question about quality, and I don’t have an answer, it is incumbent on me to admit, “I don’t know.” I can imagine people thinking, “What the heck? You are supposed to be the quality expert.” And I am. But I am not omniscient. I am not a genius with all the answers. I’m confident enough to admit when I don’t know something. When I do, I work three times as hard to get the answer.
In my experience the most successful people are not afraid to say, “I don’t know.” They are not trapped by their pride.
When you are authentic, candid, and straightforward, not only will you be more successful, but you will be more fulfilled—and so will everyone around you. When you are afraid to admit to your failings, you live in fear. The counter to living in fear is to boldly and honestly say what you think—in other words, be straightforward. And the feeling of freedom that comes with that is exhilarating and liberating.
I agree with the author!
What he wrote about his daughter also made me think about my relationship with my son. It could be that it is our business personas that demand that our children be like us, or even be better than us. I don’t expect my children to be perfect as I am not perfect but I might have expectations that do not match their unique personalities and capabilities.
My 21-year old son seems to have found something he is passionate about. He shoots, edits and publishes YouTube videos as “Skeye“. He’s a YouTuber. He thinks of ideas for his content. I can’t relate much to his videos but I accept that I belong to another generation and I have not been really “normal” or average. Our generation gap and the implications of the same shouldn’t stop me from giving him my full support, even if it means, sharing his videos and asking my people to subscribe and watch.
But I veered off topic there slightly, didn’t I? 🙂
I just really wanted to share the article. I hope you read it.