Brutal Truth

For better or worse, I tend to hire people who give honest opinions.

At times probably too honest.

There’s the videographer, for example, who took the script I’d spent hours writing and unceremoniously threw it in the trash.

The developer who told me I shouldn’t begin a daily blog because it would “spike the unsubscribes and flatten the open rates.”

And then there’s the marketing chief who interrupted a meeting about Grace’s upcoming redesign and said, “No offense, but why would anyone care what you have to say everyday?”

Believe it or not I actually pay them for this. Gladly, in fact because it’s the hard questions that force us to become very clear about why we do what we do.

In other words, it’s the hard questions that sharpen our thinking and create the conviction required to keep going when quitting would be much easier.

Without this conviction, it’s all-too-easy to get lost in a sea of everyone else’s expectations – and this is when we get stuck. 

This is why – assuming it’s coming from a place of respect – being confronted with brutal truth is a gift. It’s because I’ve been forced to defend this blog, for instance, that I’m very clear about the fact that I write because it gets me in the habit of noticing things I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

I write because – in world of information – I believe we need a space for voices.

This isn’t a perspective that comes from constantly bending to the incessant advice of others, regardless of how well-meaning or well-intentioned that advice may be.

It comes from listening to your own small, still voice. 

If I wrote based solely on what other people think, I would be too scared to write anything at all. Likewise, if I demanded perfection, nothing would get published either.

Instead, I believe it’s trying that matters. It’s consistency that matters. And, yes, being open to the feedback of others matters too, as long as you know that – at the end of the day – the determinant of success isn’t whether everyone likes you, but whether you showed up as you best.

And that’s the brutal truth.