There are two forms of honesty.
There is honesty that breaks someone down that is mean and belittling. It is displayed as superficial judgement.
Then there is honesty that helps people break through their limitations by guiding them to be honest with themselves. This way asks someone the hard questions. It is done with compassion leading them to an end result. I utilize the 5 why strategy with focused questions.
Anytime a friend asks me for advice or a new client is seeking coaching, I 100% of the time tell them what they need to hear. Sometimes it isn’t pretty and there is the risk of them going into a cave. My clients never retreat because I show them what they want before we even dive into the hard stuff. I do this to remind them why they hired me in the first place. It’s important not pander to a persons fears and coddle them. You only reinforce the cement they are standing in.
I’ve had “friends” write me off and never talk to me again because it was too real for them. Every single time this happens, one of two things occurs; A year later they come back finally willing to accept the truth or they fade off as an acquaintance. They played the civility game avoiding me. It was just easier for them.
Being right or wrong is a game where points add up to zero no matter how many times you’re right.
People get caught up because it’s hard for them to stomach the fact they are wrong or sabotaging their own progress. It makes them feel inferior or that you judged them from some superiority position. It can also make someone feel like they failed and that has been largely looked at as a very bad thing in a persons life. This happens when a person has trouble accepting their faults with the opportunity to learn and grow from it.
I have coached fortune 100 company executives on breaking past their performance barriers. I have helped multiple entrepreneurs lead struggling companies back from going under. I sit on the board of various media agencies finding ways to improve a brands creative communication. I work with advocacy groups to help better position their messaging.
My job is to find a better way of doing something, whether it being design, mindset mapping or communication. If we don’t ask ourselves the hard questions, we won’t break past our own limitations. But it’s important to remember that your friends will always react differently than clients. Honesty takes a skillset of communication with the understanding to not take something personal.
Out of everything I have done, I know that my friends won’t always support me. I know that my friends won’t always accept my expertise or constructive criticism as my clients will. I know that no matter my successes, my friends will more times than not see me as a friend. Your friends will judge you more harshly based on their assessment of you as someone they grew up with as opposed to the person you have become and grown into.
People are going to judge you and no one more than the people that claim to know you the most and the complete stranger. You can get caught up in the noise because you misplaced the opinions you value. The form of “honesty” runs rampant with judgement in these circles. You have to determine what kind of honesty is valuable to you.
When someone is being honest with you, ask yourself did they say that honestly to make me feel bad with no help to find a solution or did they reveal something I already know about myself? Am I just avoiding it and did I get hurt because they were right, but I don’t want to admit it.
We are responsible for our own growth. But it takes honesty with yourself first. Show yourself compassion and forgive yourself. Take it easy on yourself and be kind in your struggles. Be honest with yourself and while you do it, tell yourself it’s going to be ok. Honesty takes courage. Identify what healthy honesty looks like and then go out there are crush it.
If you can accept be honest with yourself, you’ve already started to win.