recall a time in my late teens-to-early twenties when my sister confronted me about my conduct and somewhat wild behavior. At the time, I was extremely annoyed at this intrusion. Looking back, I’m glad she said something. She held me accountable and let me know I was not going through life unnoticed. She loved me, and that’s why she was willing to make things a little uncomfortable. She was willing to ignore the norm of my current behavior and address the truth of my problem.
What my sister did for me so many years ago can be summed up succinctly—speaking truth with love. This critical skill in business and life helps one move forward and mature. It helps a company or organization grow. However, this two-part delivery must have the other half, or it is incomplete. It takes practice, courage, and humility to give and receive.
What deters truth and love
- Laziness – Often, I withhold what should be said or done because I know what will be required, and I’m not willing to go there. My apathy shamefully keeps me from doing what I should
- Fear – I envision the outcome of my actions, and I withhold jumping in because I can not see the end result.
- Pride – My assessment of myself is too grand to get down in the weeds and get a little dirty. Often this can come across as shyness.
- Doubt – I do not trust my experience and remain silent.
What enables truth and love
- Knowing the truth – Sounds obvious but often missing. One can not speak with confidence unless the time has been given to learning what is right.
- Investing time – As you give your time and energy to something, the more you will care for that thing (person, company, product, community).
- Humility – This comes through failure. By getting back up when you fall. By recognizing how others have help and contributed to your life. And finally, by saying so. Out loud. To others.
- Others – A life of isolation will keep us focused on self, and the more we do that, the more we will believe the lies that come from disconnection.
My aim this year is to be more like my sister. See the struggle in another and, with love, share the truth. I find the following statements simple yet powerful guidance on the matter:
Truth aims at love.
Love aims at truth.
Love shapes how to speak the truth.
Truth shapes how to show love.
Don’t accept the norm. Be different. Be one who loves and speaks the truth.