If you actually have the courage to say what you mean, mean what you say, and stand up for your principles, even when that flies in the face of prevailing cultural norms, will it ever come back to haunt you someday?
I really couldn’t say, but if that ever happens to me, you’ll be the first to know.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve shot myself in the foot more times than I care to remember. After all, nobody’s perfect, least of all me. But personality disorders and dysfunctions aside, being genuine and speaking my mind have served me well. I highly recommend it, with certain caveats.
Being comfortable in your own skin and having the courage to be you is a way of being, not a reason for being or raison d’etre, as they say. It’s a way of behaving, not your purpose on Earth. There are higher priorities.
Building your career, relationships and reputation. Growing your business. Being the very best at your job. Finding a purpose so you love what you do and find fulfillment in your work. As long as you don’t compromise your principles to achieve them, those are your priorities, at least from a work standpoint.
I’m not saying you can’t be great at your job while being direct, but there are nuances to keep in mind. For example, I ran marketing and corporate communications for public companies. There were SEC rules of disclosure to follow. Customer commitments and confidentiality to keep. The occasional diplomacy in negotiations. That sort of thing.
Internally, I never held back on my opinion, sugarcoated the truth, told people what I thought they wanted to hear, or kowtowed to anyone. Ever. And I don’t suppose I ever will. But I didn’t run around spouting off about my a-hole CEO, either. I always knew my job was to compliment his weaknesses, not dig his grave and jump in with him.
Besides, when you’re in the business of making decisions and giving advice that affect lots of people’s livelihoods and investment portfolios, those responsibilities always outweigh your personal beliefs. But then, I’ve never found being genuine and direct to conflict with that purpose. As long as you have a little common sense, that is. It also helps if you’re right most of the time.
What got me started on this is the way everyone’s whining about Donald Trump’s rhetoric. That he can’t be president because he’s bombastic, he offends people, and his ideas are impractical, over-the-top, yada yada.
Personally, I think it comes down to his decision-making, not his speech. There are risks and unknowns there, that’s for sure. But in terms of his speech, he’s probably saying what at least half of us are thinking or saying in the privacy of our own homes. He just has the cajones to say it publicly. Kudos for that.
There’s also something to be said for honesty as a way of life. Sam Clemens, aka Mark Twain, said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” It is a far better and simpler way to live, that’s for sure.
And by the way. You’ve all been very quiet lately. Too quiet. How about a little whit and wisdom in the comment section just to let us know you’re still with us? Just do us all a favor and be straightforward about it. I suspect we’ve all had more than enough political correctness and utopian nonsense to last a lifetime.