Let’s get real here

It’s hard to be honest. Not always. Sometimes it’s easy because the honesty aligns with what others want to hear. But at other times honesty comes with consequences; for you, for those you love, and for those who you depend on.

Think about your boss at work. How easy is it to be 100% honest with him or her? I once had a boss who would ask three questions during appraisal time:

  1. How do you feel about how you’re doing?
  2. How do you feel about how the department is doing?
  3. How do you feel about how I’m doing?

I admired this choice. He invited us to be honest about his performance. But even at the time I knew it wasn’t real. I knew I couldn’t be 100% honest. How could I? This man had the power to end my employment. Did I have such power over him? No. So it was an uneven and, therefore, inherently tricky relationship. I think, deep down, he knew that too.

Running Sabre Tooth Panda for these past five years I’ve come to see that a lack of honesty need not be inherent in the dynamic of the workplace. In fact, part of why I designed Freestyle Learning & Performance is to begin to chip away at what causes dishonesty.

We don’t like to lie. When we lie to ourselves or to others it is usually out of some kind of fear. I fear that I might lose your respect if I tell you I’m afraid. I fear that I might lose a friend if I tell him I think he’s wrong. I fear I might lose my self esteem if I admit to myself that I’m wrong.

This is attachment at work. We are afraid to lose things that, in the final reckoning, aren’t really ours anyway. The dishonesty is already a wedge between what we want to keep and the person we want to be. Ironically it’s a sure way to lose what you’re grasping onto.

Yes, this might all sound a little hippyish. I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a stereotype in that regard. Vegan, yoga and meditation loving, reader of stoic and eastern philosophy. I have and frequently play an acoustic guitar. But if you can forgive all these things I hope you’ll find that there is some truth in these ideas. Grasping, attachment, and dishonesty are connected.

What has this got to do with Sabre Tooth Panda and Freestyle Learning & Performance? Well, I believe that we can begin to more easily let go of what we grasp if we become more self confident. We’ve all seen the newbie ice skater clinging to the edge of the rink as the confident skater wizzes by, gliding with ease on the same ice that our novice sees as more threat than opportunity.

I think we’re all a lot like this when it comes to our careers. Job hunting suuucks! We fear that we can’t adapt to new situations, learn to cope with new work norms or colleagues. What we want is to keep things from changing because we fear we cannot change.

Freestyle, I hope, will help you prove to yourself that you can do what you think you can’t. I don’t believe in positive thinking. I believe in proof. And the only way you can prove to yourself that you can learn and adapt your performance profile to anything that comes your way is to do it. Just as the only way you become confident on your skates is by letting go.

Be honest with yourself. Are you grasping on to something for fear of change?

Freestyle is a free framework with optional paid services. If you think you could do with a greater sense of confidence in your life I hope you’ll try it out.

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