Everyone has their own individual truth; what they believe, what they feel and what they value. I’m interested only in the truth inside. My life is about finding the truth of a character, the truth of a relationship, the truth of God, the truth of health. That’s all I’m interested in.
Being a visionary—in the workplace, our own businesses, our families, our communities, the world—means, in part, having presence.
Having presence requires standing in your own shoes and walking your talk—in other words, being a truth teller.
Visionaries don’t waste time worrying about what other people think. They speak up about what matters to them, when it matters—both in the words they choose and the actions they take.
Sometimes, this truth is brutal. People don’t want to hear it, and often there’s backlash. With every major social movement in the history of the world, we’ve seen this backlash when visionaries have spoken the truth—abolition, civil rights, women’s rights, . . . the list goes on. But once that truth is out there, it cannot be put back in its cage. It has a way of unlocking the truth from more and more people, until it reaches a critical mass, leading to profound transformation—the end of slavery and major strides in equality for all races and for women.
The saying is true: The truth will set you free. But that’s only part of the story. The truth will set others free as well.
Rosa Parks acted her truth when she refused to sit at the back of the bus. Sherron Watkins, Enron vice president, acted her truth when she called out Kenneth Lay on the company’s fraudulent accounting. Eleanor Roosevelt acted her truth by not only supporting women’s organizations, but holding weekly press conferences that were for women journalists only, forcing media organizations to add female reporters to their staff. Retired Army Lt. General Claudia J. Kennedy, the highest-ranking female officer, acted her truth when she spoke out about sexual harassment in the U.S. military. This list could go on and on.
But truth telling isn’t just about speaking out on big issues. It’s about embodying our truth, big and small. It starts by being honest with ourselves, with who we really are, inside and out, then stepping into that truth in our roles as visionary leaders—at the helm of companies, in our families and communities, ultimately leading and inspiring change in our world. Every day is your moment of truth.
What is your truth—about yourself, your work, your relationships, your world?