Sunday, January 23, 2011

'Fess Up

I've been learning the hard lesson recently that "the truth will out," no matter what it is. Even if you'd like to avoid the truth, or pretend things aren't as they actually are, or you think it will be less painful to gloss over the truth - it's really not. Better to 'fess up and confront the truth, as early and as often as possible.

For instance - this year I am helping organize a conference. The same one I helped organize last year, actually. I am in charge of getting four panelists for my assigned panel, and a case study speaker. I was supposed to be researching potential panelists, and sending out invitations, in November of 2010. If the conference is in March, you want to start early.

But I wasn't on my game.

I got distracted, I wasn't motivated, and I just plain didn't get it done. I did SOME work, but a pretty pathetic amount.

And suddenly I had the conference organizers on my tail, wondering what was going on, and where are my panelists?

At first I brushed it off, saying, I'm working on it, it's December and the holidays slowed me down - but don't worry! I'm on top of it! Things are coming together! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

But now it's January. And I'm applying the painful lesson that the truth is always better than avoidance.

I sent an email to the conference organizers. I said, I'm sorry, I've been slacking off my work. Here's what I've done, it's not much, and here is where I honestly am. I asked for help. I outlined what I needed, and asked for some assistance. And I offered to volunteer extra time during the "calling" phase, where we contact people in the database to see if they want to register this year.

And you know what? It was worth it. My conscience felt so much better after I had laid out exactly where I stood. I felt a little sad that I didn't keep up with what I had promised, but at least nobody was being mislead, and everybody was on the same page with the real situation.

So here's hoping that this inspires you this week - stick to the truth, in personal and professional life. No varnishing, no avoidance, just reality. 'Fess up. It's always the right choice.

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