When someone lies to me, it really hurts. No one likes being lied to, but I especially hate it. I think it’s because I lied so much in the years after high school, trying to appear as something I was not. I had no family around and no accountability, so I lied any time I thought it would give me an advantage in life. Soon I realized that I didn’t like who I was and I needed to change my foolish ways. So the pendulum swung all the way to the other side. Now, I don’t lie—even about the little things. When I give my word to someone, it’s my bond and I’m going to honor it–I don’t care if we “signed something” or not. I won’t lie to others to get them to like me or to make them (or me) feel better. So my advice is…
Don’t say something unless you mean it.
So why is it that I won’t lie to others, but I will lie to myself? Part of it is that I truly value honesty but I don’t slow down long enough to think about where I’m being dishonest with myself. But the even bigger problem is falling for the most popular self-deception that leaders embrace. The biggest lie that we tell ourselves is this:
If I know the right thing to do, then I’ll do it.
Our experience proves that this is false. Need evidence? Most of us only need to look in the mirror after our shower to see empirical proof between knowing that we should lose 15 pounds and actually doing it. And then there’s the fact that we fall behind on some of our commitments; we forgo the discipline we had at the beginning of a project; we just didn’t “have the time” or “make the time” to work on a project that we promised ourselves to do. We knew the right thing…
But we are leaders, so we are probably better than most in this area. The people who are perpetually on welfare of other government assistance perplex us. “Why don’t they just get a job? Why do they make such poor spending decisions?” And the big unspoken question: “Why can’t they delay their gratification by saving a little money, and being more responsible?”
It becomes very powerful when you say what you mean and mean what you say. CLICK TO TWEET
Researchers call this The Knowing/Doing Gap. Some Stanford researchers have done the best work in this area. I’m planning to focus on this super important area in the coming weeks. Just think, if we can make progress in this space, we will grow as leaders, as friends, as husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends and best friends. It becomes very powerful when you say what you mean and mean what you say.
Will you please take step in that direction? Choose a problem, a personal challenge that is before you. You KNOW it, but will you DO something about it? The small step for this week comes from the research: What get’s measured tends to get done. So I’m asking you to pick a better measurement than you have in the past.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Start small by taking this micro step: Identify a problem, and then come up with a new measurement that helps you solve it. For example, if you want to lose 5 pounds by the end of summer, you could ask these two simple questions: 1) Did I make a shopping list and stick to it? Did I walk/exercise for at least 20 minutes 5 days this week? That’s it. Stop there. They are both easy to answer and they will both help you accomplish your goal.
Me? I want to write for an hour every day this week. Here are my two questions: 1) Did you put it on your calendar? 2) Did you protect your schedule and get it done?
Now you KNOW what to do. Will you DO it? I believe you will—I can’t wait to hear about it.
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