A Revolutionary Act
Truth. Honesty. Candor
I have been described as wholly, honestly, and unapologetically me. I have been told I am straight talking, generous, and compassionate.
I have also been called a hard, evil, mean bitch.
Yep, I am all of those things depending on who you talk to.
I like to speak truth to power, and in certain circles that is not welcomed or wanted. I value candor and I cultivate it in my work environment, as well as in my personal life.
Let’s make our lives easier by calling “bullshit” when it’s needed. (Do you hear me politicians in Washington, DC?) People dont like it when I talk about race, gender or class. They don’t always like when I talk of misogyny and racism. They don’t always appreciate when I say the difficult thing.
I do it anyway.
I want to speak truth, and more importantly, I want to hear truth from those around me. Those that I am in the trenches with. Those I love and care for. Those that I donate money to. The communities I support. The CEO’s I coach.
I want them to know that I will always cultivate a space for growth, connection, and ideas to flourish. This place cannot be created without candor.
The kind of truth created in this such places changes a culture. It creates equity and promotes justice within communities.
This kind of truth can only occur in an environment where trust has been built and banked for hard times. When you feel organizationally or emotionally bankrupt, this reserve of trust among your friends, partners, donors, and community will help you through any difficult situation. It will give you the strength to tackle and overcome any obstacle.
Plain-spokenness should never be served alone. Serving it as a solo dish will not build that beautiful space that promotes power and empowerment. It needs some side dishes to help it go down easier- things like respect and kindness, openness and forgiveness.
I actually dont need you to be comfortable, but I do need everyone to be safe.
Let us not confuse telling truth with saying everything we think. This is a powerful tool and should be handled with great care.
You need truth to go down easy so that folks come back for more. So that they are courageous enough to speak truth each and every time it is required. So that they are brave enough to be heard and seen. So they can do the work that needs to be done every day. We can’t learn from our mistakes until they are acknowledged. They can never be acknowledged or defused and given less status until we can look at them straight in the eyes and honor their lessons.
Speaking truth will make our stories richer and transitions a bit less complicated.
When we create this space, we will understand that our mistakes do not define us –are not us. On this day we will see that the truth will not hurt us, it will set us free. It will open us up and strengthen the parts of us that are weak and broken, the parts of us that are small and scared.
Truth brings about real conversations and authentic relationships. It makes our organizations stronger, our leaders more innovative, and keeps our heroes, leaders and activists human. Creating an environment of truth telling helps us in knowing when to avoid conflict, when to address conflict, and when to create conflict for the greater good.
Truth telling atracts truth tellers into your world- more authentic people, people focusing on what matters most.
Speaking the truth is a revolutionary act.