I turned my back for one minute. Within those 60 seconds, my 20-month-old toddler had decided to take his creative paint brushing skills to a whole new level. My living room wall was covered in paint, much like my toddler.
“Did you do this?” I asked him. A firm “No” came in response.
Now, this will likely be one of many scenarios that is met with a disapproving look whilst being shrugged, perhaps laughed off until he’s old enough to learn and properly understand the consequences of not being honest.
This does, however, lead me to think more deeply about the fact that in day to day life, I very rarely expect to be lied to by another adult. But shockingly, research suggests that “on any given day, we’re lied to from 10 to 200 times.” So am I just too naive? Too trusting? Perhaps.
So amidst the chaos of Brexit, the “dishonest” politicians, high-flying fraudsters and general negativity littering the news today, I wanted to share with you a few reasons why I feel It’s important to embrace honesty.
Honesty attracts attention
Are you currently sat in a boardroom brainstorming/discussing a design concept or idea. Yes? Are there bigger voices than yours in that room. Probably. Are they more experienced than you? Very likely. Does that mean their opinion counts more than yours? No. Never be scared of sharing an honest opinion. It took me a while to stop saying “this might be a silly question” before every comment I made at work, and occasionally I even have to stop myself from saying it now. But trust me, the rest of the room will thank you and respect you for it. However “silly” it may feel at the time, it’ll likely be something they haven’t thought about and will change the direction of the discussion for the better.
Honesty helps you progress
You’re in the middle of your review at work and you’re given a critique that you don’t feel is entirely fair/accurate. Question it! Don’t nod, smile and say “you’ll work on it”. To improve, you need to better understand the reason behind it. Or even be prepared to disagree with it entirely to get to the root cause. Regardless of the criticism, you’ll benefit significantly from truly understanding the issue and will be able to progress positively in the future because of it.
Honesty boosts your confidence
The CEO asks for your opinion on a thought leadership piece they’ve written on a topic they are passionate about. They’re the CEO of the company and they know that topic inside out. You decide to give it a quick once over for typos and send back explaining they’ve missed a comma here, and a capital letter there. Wrong choice.... They’ve asked for your opinion on the article. Sure they’ll want you to proof it, but they have actively asked for and value your thoughts on the article itself. Read it, spend time immersing yourself in it. Be honest. Is it any good? Does that point make sense? Send it back to them with comments, questions and any additional information which you think could boost it, or where key information could be missing. They’ll be grateful for your opinion. They’ll likely even come back with an email explaining how valuable and helpful your input is, and I’m telling you, that will boost your confidence.
So to wrap up, my challenge to you is to start tomorrow by being as honest as you can with yourself. Be honest about your opinions, actions, and desires. Then think about how you interact with the rest of society, your friendships, relationships. Are people seeing you the real you? If not, what are you so afraid of?
Be bold, brave and honest. Trust me, good things will come from it.