“Just be yourself” – how often have we been given this advice, or given it to our children, our friends, our colleagues? Sure, it sounds good, no argument there, but in reality how may of us are actually strong enough to adhere to this statement? Because, let’s get this straight, if you really are going to be yourself, and be authentic with your own opinions, speaking your own mind regardless of what the fallout may be, there will be people you piss off. Big time. There will be people who can’t deal with it.
The first question to ask is do you care? Don’t take it lightly. It’s easy to be flippant and spout off on how strong you are, and how confident you are, but this world of ours gets smaller every day, and in the paradoxical world of social media anything can happen. A throwaway comment can have a reach of thousands without much effort, and with those thousands come the trolls. Just be aware that with success comes visibility and with visibility comes opinions – requested or not. Usually not.
So something (or someone) has got your goat and your inherent injustice meter is just about to boil over. You want to stick your head above the parapet. This is commendable, and if what you are doing or saying is ethically right, then surely it’s the right thing to do?
But my advice would always be to give it five. Take a retort hiatus for a few minutes. Make a cup of tea. I’ve been there and it is SO tempting to let rip with what’s on your mind, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. If after this ruminating it’s clear that what you want to say is appropriate, it is it for the right reasons and not just for effect then you can be confident to speak.
Now just ask yourself these two questions :
- Are you 100% sure that you have done the right thing?
- Would you do or say the same thing again?
If the answer to these to questions is yes, then I assure you that you are not the problem.
It goes without saying that we all make mistakes – I know I have on numerous occasions but making a mistake is different to making a choice that you know is wrong on purpose. Nothing is worth this.
I love this quote from Potter Stewart :
“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do”.
Now you’ve said your piece, you’ll undoubtedly feel good initially because you’ve taken the two question challenge and passed with flying colours, but this is when it gets tricky. There will be those who speak up and don’t agree with you. (We like these people because opinions are great, and you can discuss further with them, you know, like grown ups). But then there will be those who block you, or ignore you, or sulk, or gang up on you. Listen – they are not your problem!
I have learnt so much on my journey to success, and am still learning every day. The one shining truth that is regularly reiterated to me by my friends and clients is that they trust me because I am authentic. I tell it like it is. Sure, I’ve lost some people along the way, but I have gained way more than I have lost. People want honesty, they want integrity and they want someone who is ethical.
I will always be these things and I will not put money over ethics.
You may not always agree with me…… but you can always trust me.