I was in the break room when a coworker from another department walked in. Within seconds we got to the “Hi, how are you” exchange … promptly followed by the obligatory “I’m good, thanks.”
But today was different.
As I was speaking something inside me gave me pause. I finished getting water from the cooler and as if time was suspended—just for a second—I turned around and said,
“Uh, you know … actually … I’m having a really crappy day.”
“As a matter of fact, it’s probably one of the worst days I can remember.”
I then rattled off a few issues that I felt were absolutely suffocating me. Some financial … some family related. I didn’t go into all the gory details as I wasn’t looking for sympathy.
I just had this feeling to correct my dishonesty. I wasn’t being honest when I said “I’m good, thanks.” And as I stood there my coworker just looked at me amazed.
After a brief pause this was the next thing I heard, “Actually I feel the same. It’s not a good day for me either.”
“My mom has Stage IV cancer and I have to repeatedly drive two and three hours to take her for treatment. It’s just a lot … and I feel stressed.”
My decision to be honest—in that split second—made the difference between communicating and connecting. It was a seemingly small thing. I mean how many times have you said, “I’m good” when someone asked “How’s it going?” … For me it’s countless.
And it wasn’t like I was whining about my issues—and nor was my coworker. We were just being brutally honest with where we were at the moment. And you know what? It completely changed my day.
After I made the decision to be honest in a VERY small thing, my entire day started to turn around. Of course, my problems didn’t go away … I still had them … but they didn’t have me. They didn’t have my thinking.
As a matter of fact, I started to think about my coworker and what they must be going through. I then started to think about how many other people are going through the same stresses every day … maybe at work … at school … at church … at home.
And what do they get from most of us? “I’m good, thanks.”
So here’s the deal … get brutally honest. Where can you choose to be more honest with yourself today?
What is an issue or problem that you don’t want to deal with, but if you said something … even to a stranger … it might have less power over your thinking?
Take an opportunity to honestly connect with someone today, instead of just communicating with them. Who knows what inspiration it may bring.
Heck, I’m only writing this now because I was brutally honest … and honesty inspires!