Friday, September 21, 2012


By Cris Krause, white belt

To me honesty is the most important aspect of the foundation that makes up one’s personality.  It means always interacting with others from a position of integrity which supports trust and openness.  True leaders exemplify this quality when being truthful even when the truth might be uncomfortable or unpopular.

Being honest with one self can often be harder than being honest with others.  This is a significant focus in my daily life and I work hard to keep my focus in this regard.  I maintain this focus by asking myself the following questions:
a.    Have I been the kind of parent that I should be?
** This is the most important focus in my daily life.  I feel a tremendous responsibility to provide my children with consistency, fairness, love, respect, safety, challenges and leadership. **
b.    Did I do my best and work my hardest at my job?
c.    Am I being the most supportive and loving husband that I can be?
d.    Have I led by example when working with others throughout the day?
e.    Did my behavior and interactions with others leave them feeling better about themselves?
5 examples of how I am honest with my family:
a.    There may be no more important place to be 100% honest, 100% of the time than with your immediate family.  (although it’s deceptively easy to be 100% honest in all other interactions) As such I’m honest with my family with each and every conversation.
** Being honest 100% of the time in ALL my interactions has been a significant focus for me over the past few years and is one of the most important aspects of how I now define my sense of self-worth.  This is incredibly important to me!  It wasn’t easy at first.  Human nature lends itself to taking what I consider “integrity shortcuts.”  Even people who consider themselves very honest will tell the proverbial white lie about minor things. (Like why they were late, why they forgot something simple etc.)  In my opinion this is because hearing one’s self admit a flaw or a mistake is uncomfortable.  Thus, a little white lie glazes over the flaw.  It is much the same reason why people don’t like to look in the mirror.  When we do, we have to look at things we don’t like about ourselves.  However, with practice, we can learn to be honest in ALL interactions.  We can’t always change the things we don’t like to see but we can accept what we see.  This makes us humble and we learn to act with greater humility.  If we then focus on changing what we can control, like being honest or losing weight, we will then become more confident and this makes us stronger and more powerful.  We may then work to change the world around us for the better. **
b.    When teaching the boys about the more negative sides to humanity.
c.    When sharing bad news, even when it’s uncomfortable.
d.    When owning up to mistakes that I’ve made!
e.    When discussing the differences between what we want, what we want to do and what we have the time and resources to afford.
Being honest with coworkers and friends is also important.  It affords us respect in the workplace and trust among those with whom we choose to spend our time.
a.    When admitting to missing a deadline.
b.    When having to admit you made a mistake or caused an error.
** This is a big one for me!  It’s not easy or comfortable but I give great respect and have more trust in anyone who doesn't dodge their errors and admits when they were wrong.  It is a fantastic way to lead by example and a surprisingly easy skill to embrace. **
c.    When having to tell someone their performance or behavior is not what it should be.
d.    When observing actions or behaviors that are contrary to a friendship or a business endeavor its critical to address such in a direct and honest fashion.
e.    Admitting that being late was one’s own fault, not blaming traffic, the kids, the weather etc.  
Much of what I’ve said above applies here.  Being honest in everyday life is surprisingly simple in most cases.  I believe it does take practice for most people and the best place to start is to stop lying about the little things. (Being late, missing deadlines etc.)  However, as one focuses on being honest about day to day things that one could easily brush aside with a benign lie, they will find that being honest about more important things is easier too.  The person who has the ability to be honest when it’s uncomfortable or difficult will also have the trust and respect of those around them!

Being honest isn’t always easy.  This is especially true when you know someone is counting on you and for whatever reason you didn’t or couldn’t come through.  In this case it is human nature to avoid disappointing the person to whom you made the commitment by telling a lie.  However, one might find that telling the truth helps to avoid littering their conscience with deceptive details.  Telling the truth liberates a person from having to carry that dishonest baggage around in their head and their heart.  

I have always put some degree of my personal development focus on being honest.  However, in the past 5 years I have made being 100% honest a concerted daily focus.  With that said, I admit that it is only in the past 1-2 years where I feel that I have been truly successful in being completely and transparently honest 100% of the time.  There are still times when I know I can do better but I can comfortably report that I do not recall the last time I was dishonest about something.  To be completely honest about it….it just plain feels good!

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