How’s your summer going?
I’m enjoying the new vegetarian lifestyle.
To be honest, I’m not perfect. I had one hot dog at my friend Joe’s house on the Fourth of July. Several hours after eating the frank, I wanted to lie down and go to sleep. (Plug for Joe. If you have computer problems or need a quality desktop built, he’s your man.)
As usual, each week, I have no clue what I’m going to write. A hike in the woods and a viewing of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee converged to create this week’s post.
This essay is about truth.
Last week, I scheduled a Meetup hike for Saturday at Highland Forest in beautiful Fabius, NY. Only a few, and their dogs, signed up for the nine mile hike. The other members of the Syracuse Area Outdoor Adventure Club were probably sitting at the pool sipping their favorite drink: iced coffee, a cold Coke, or an ice cold beer.
As host of the hike, I asked everyone to meet at the Lodge on top of the hill at Noon sharp.
I sensed I was running behind. I don’t like being late. Ever!
I raced down Route 81 in my black 2009 Honda Accord, moonroof open, sunshine hitting my face, doing 75-79 mph most of the way.
I pulled into the mostly empty hot asphalt parking lot at 12:18 PM. I assumed either nobody came or they started without me. I was hoping the latter, confident my 6’5” frame and long legs would eventually catch up to the rest of the group.
As I stepped through the entrance of the trail, I threw on my iPod to listen to Wayne Dyer’s abridged version of “The Power of Intention.”
After about a mile, I peered through the opening of the trees and saw a head bobbing up and down several hundred feet ahead. I picked up the pace to get a closer look. “Are you with the Meetup group?” I shouted. “You Steve?” she replied. Yup, yup. Sure enough, it was Heidi, an acquaintance I met on a snowshoe excursion I hosted at Beaver Lake last winter.
Around 2:30pm, about halfway through the four hour trek, I thought “Steve, what will your blog post be about this week?” I put Dyer’s power of intention into play thinking, “your blog post is on its way.”
Then, out of the blue (or maybe my intention,) Heidi told me about a car accident she had several years ago. She was driving a half dozen or so kids to an event when her mind became distracted and she rear ended a stationary automobile at a light. The car she hit was pushed into the intersection causing damage to two other moving vehicles.
After the dust settled, the drivers, all male, stepped out of their cars and slowly approached Heidi. Her description made it sound like a scene in one of those old western movies. She sensed the invisible steam coming out of their ears, looking to give her a piece of their one track male minds.
Before they could yell their first expletive “I’m sorry. I got distracted and this is completely my fault” she said in a calm diplomatic voice.
The mood of the bumper cars trio completely changed. “You mean to say you’re admitting you caused the whole thing?” one of the them said. “Yes, that’s right” she replied. Heidi took the wind out of their sails. By stating the truth, she cooled everyone’s jets and neutralized the situation.
Shortly after the wrinkling of the cars took place, police arrived on the scene and asked what happened. Again, Heidi told her side of the story and owned up to her mistake. The officer must have been appreciative of her candor “OK, I’m not going to give you a ticket” he said.
After the nine mile trek, I hopped in the car, headed north driving the speed limit, and thought about the post I was going to write. My power of intention was still in play and knew there was another piece waiting to materialize.
After I got home, I cleaned up my sweaty grimy body, sat down to relax with a modest plate of nacho chips, melted cheddar cheese, salsa, guacamole, and a cold ginger ale.
I watched Jerry Seinfeld’s latest episode of “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” It’s a brilliantly produced show. Jerry picks up a comedian in a car that matches the personality of the guest. He then chauffeurs them to have a cup of Joe and chew the fat. This weeks guest was Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live.
Jerry tells Seth a story he recently heard from someone who was driving in the city. They saw a car, ahead of them, driving in a reckless manner; speeding, swerving from one side of the three lane highway to the other, making weird turns, etc.
“What’s going on with this person?” the guy was thinking to himself.
At the next light, he pulls up besides the crazy driver and it’s a middle aged Asian woman. “What are you doing?” he says to her. “I don’t know” she says. Seth Meyers, breaks out in laughter in the passenger seat.
Jerry ends the story saying:
“She just told him the truth. The truth ends every conversation.”
Whenever I make a mistake, say something at the inappropriate time, or whatever, I quickly own up as soon as possible and make it right.
Do you know what happens? It, whatever -it- is, goes away. Your constituents cut you some slack. They understand you’re human. They’re forgiving.
Conversely, what happens when you as a leader try to cover up? Make excuses. Try to sweep it under the rug. -IT- gets BIGGER. People become more curious and start asking questions. They dig for more. They trust less.
The next time you have an accident, tell the truth. IT will go away a lot quicker.
Please, share your last faux pas. How did you handle the situation?
p.s. It’s been a long time since I had an iced coffee. Hm. Starbucks or Tim Hortons?