Our Part in Truth
Our part in truth
This article was inspired by a post from my friend and colleague, Jon Mertz. Jon is one of the leaders featured in The Future of the Workplace.
In his post, Jon writes:
“Today, truthfulness seems to be more of a vice than a virtue. However, we cannot accept this as an outcome. Instead, we need to understand truthfulness as a necessity in our words and actions.”
Although I don’t write about it very often, I believe truthfulness has been an important underlying theme in my journey from day one.
When I shared my awakening experience with my coach in 2012, she responded in a way that I didn’t quite understand at the time but at the same time seemed profound.
Now looking back at this ten years later, I wonder how did she know this? Her statement seems even more profound today given my own inner transformation and how my work has unfolded since that time.
Indeed it has been a continual breaking down of everything I have ever been told, learned, or observed.
What I learned about truth
Within months after my coach shared her insight about TRUTH, I found myself in a very direct personal experience with TRUTH in a way that was almost beyond imagination.
In 2013, I was co-piloting a small private plane flying from Maui to the big island of Hawaii to fly over an active volcano. It was a flight fraught with danger and moments of truth as we faced numerous challenges and changing weather conditions along the way.
The experience taught me a lot about truth and leadership. I’ve since realized that volcanoes, leadership, and truth have a lot in common.
Here are the key lessons I learned about TRUTH along the way:
One: A volcano creates something visibly new and changes the landscape.
When a volcano erupts, a new creation is brought forth. Lava flows. It flows seemingly naturally and effortlessly. In the case of our trip, we could visibly see new land springing forth in paradise.
When people can freely express their truth, it flows naturally and effortlessly. And it has enormous power to create something new.
Two: A volcano doesn’t worry about what others think.
Let’s face the facts: Volcanos erupt, and there’s not much we can do about it. A volcano doesn’t care what others think. Nothing stands in its way for very long.
Truth must be willing to be expressed even when important values, practices, beliefs, etc., might be challenged.
Three: A volcano is supported by a powerful but unseen structure.
People commonly view a volcano as a tapering mountain, spewing lava and poisonous gases from a crater that’s bubbling with molten lava. But, underneath and unseen is a much more complex and powerful structure. A structure exists that forms and directs hot molten lava under enormous pressure towards the surface.
Your culture is a powerful but unseen structure too — an unseen but very powerful structure of beliefs, convictions, and traditions that forms the foundation of your society or organization.
Four: Passion and purpose fuel your culture just like lava and powerful forces fuel a volcano.
Hawaiian mythology tells of Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. Pele is known for her creative power, passion, purpose, and profound love.
A culture that allows people to speak their truth enables more than just true thought leadership. A culture where everyone can speak their truth allows collaboration and co-creation to flourish at all levels. This creates an atmosphere and environment where everyone can engage more fully to contribute their own unique passion, creativity, and intellect.
Learn more about the flight to the volcano at What I Learned About Thought Leadership from a Volcano.
Doing our part
Going back to where this post started with Peter Senge, “To take part in truth we must see our part in it.”
Today, the TRUTH is under attack from every corner like we’ve never seen before in our lifetimes.
Every day, every hour, every minute, we are witnessing and seeing the lack of TRUTH by our government, our politicians, the news media, and social media. The list goes on and on.
We’ve almost become numb to the daily barrage that’s paraded before us.
We are all part of this.
I believe our part is to make sure we are speaking our TRUTH.
What do you think?