“What upsets me is not that you lied to me, but that from now on I can no longer believe you.”
~Friedrich Nietzsche

It seems harmless when we do it. How can one little lie hurt? You haven’t finished the report that was due to your colleague, and make up a reason as our excuse. You overslept and were late for a meeting, but tell your boss that you had a doctor’s appointment. You blow off your friends one night for dinner because you get a better offer, but tell them you’re sick so their feelings aren’t hurt. These things don’t matter, right?

Well what if they do? What if your colleague finds out the truth about the report, or your boss overhears you telling a friend what really happened, or someone tells your friends that they saw you hanging out at your better offer? What if any one of these people find out that you lied? What then?

The lies seem so simple and harmless and white when we do them. We might not even realize we’re lying in the moment we do. I was once out at a networking lunch with someone I wanted to impress and work for. They asked me if I was certified in Myers Briggs, and without a pause I said, “Yes.” Only I wasn’t. My partner was and therefore my firm was, but I wasn’t. I don’t know why I lied. I guess I didn’t want to let my lunch date down. But I lied.

So I signed up for a Myers Briggs course the next day, and vowed to do my best never to lie again. Because when we lie, we run the risk of ruining our credibility. We run the risk of causing the other person (or people) to never believe us again. And that’s something we can’t risk because it’s something that’s too hard to get beyond.

Don’t lie.

When have you inadvertently (or advertently) lied and what happened?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.


For support in not lying, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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