Vail Chamber: Being different is OK; be honest and stand tall in who you are (column)
The old cliche “honesty is the best policy” really is a truth-filled directive. I try to hold to this standard, placing a high value on being honest and upfront in my professional and personal life. In fact, this is a core virtue for me, one that is sometimes easier said than done, but always the best rule.
For me, this means being honest with others and especially being honest with myself right from the start, no matter how hard it seems. Standing tall in who I am means keeping my ethics in check. In your life, if you sense something bothering you, if your conscience is telling you things are off kilter, then do a careful critique of your activities. Strive to stand upright in your dealings with others. Never be afraid to be who you are and be forthright about it. It’s liberating, and people worth their salt and your time respect you for it.
Too many times, tiptoeing around trying not to slight anyone ends up becoming a huge mess. Why do we do that when being honest invariably solves issues before they become huge problems? Many times we keep quiet or tell that little white lie for fear of upsetting others, when in reality we upset them more by not being upfront.
As Sir Walter Scott wrote; “Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Dishonesty leads to mistrust and puts you on a downward slippery slope, destroying your reputation along the way.
Don’t read this wrong, honesty is not an open door to being rude or obnoxious. If you are being a bully, then knock it off. Never be a jerk as part of inventing your true self; all you end up being is a jerk. Be sensitive in every situation. Good manners are always good policy; use them. Treat everyone with the same respect you would want.
Try problem solving with an uplifting scenario. Utilize your intuition. If you sense conversations are not heading in a viable direction, or agendas are reeling off course, then don’t hem and haw about it, speak up. Give your honest opinion. You will probably save yourself and others a lot of wasted time. When situations are challenging, hold to honest dialogue. Your integrity is at stake.
I am not saying honesty is always difficult or we should not compromise in certain areas. At times we can agree to disagree and move on. I am saying when you feel your core beliefs are susceptible, beware, and don’t make pointless excuses. Be who you are by being what you value.
Not everyone is going to like you and that’s all right. I would rather someone not associate with me than for me to compromise important aspects of who I am. We may want to have everyone like us, but take a reality check. Our diverse world shows us this is virtually impossible. We have differences; some people are just not compatible. The sooner we realize this, the better. It is hard living a life of lies and facades; it will eventually catch up and wreak havoc with you. It is better by far to stick with truth and be proud of the person you look at in the mirror every morning.
Truth leads to authentic, trustworthy relationships. For instance, God and family are very important in my life. This might not sit well with those who do not believe in God, but I feel kinship and trust in friendships with like-minded people. It may irk others when I place my relationship with my wife before things they would like me to do. I make no excuse for prioritizing my marriage. Striving to build quality and closeness with my wife is a top core value for me.
This does not mean I don’t respect others. I value and respect many friends and associates who do not, and should not, share all the values that suit me. Different lives determine different situations. Many times we hide who we are for fear of ridicule or upsetting the apple cart. Apologize when you are wrong. In the long run, when we put on false fronts or ridiculously defend lies or incorrect actions, we needlessly hurt those closest to us and, in the end, hurt ourselves. Examine motives; make sure you are not losing your values over things that do not matter.
To sum things up, we all come from different places, backgrounds and upbringings. Being different is OK. What is not OK is tiptoeing around, being dishonest or, worse, being a bully throwing your prestige or so-called superior intellect in someone’s face. Work on your shortcomings. No one has the right to intimidate others.
Be humble and honest, we are all unique human beings with unique talents. Take time to listen to others and learn from them. Improve your shortcomings. You might even find more common ground then you expect. Life is a journey full of diversity and wonders; be genuine. Stand tall in who you are.
Cabal Yarne is the owner of Arriesgado Clothing Co. in Lionshead Village and Keystone, Decade in Denver and Republic of Colorado Apparel. He is a Vail Chamber & Business Association board member. The Vail Chamber is a business advocacy group in Vail and a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. For more information, call 970-477-0075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.