#ShowingUp with Anese Cavanaugh

Are you telling the truth? Creating space for truth.

The "truth" can be a slippery slope.

Working with teams and partners I get to see a lot of conflicting truths. The "he said, she said" kind. The "this is right, this is wrong" kind. And the flat out "we live in two worlds, your sky is green, my sky is blue" kind. There are all kinds. And I shouldn't limit this just to teams and partners, I'd include individuals in this dilemma as well (anyone else out there have conflicting internal truths?)

The truth is important because it lends itself to creating more trust, to creating intimacy, to building alignment, to getting things done. But sometimes it's just not black and white. As much as we'd love it to be (especially on Mondays), it's just not that simple. Sometimes "our truth" together as a team is different than "my truth" as an individual. And I think this is not only okay, but actually powerful - if it's engaged in a healthy way. It's a huge opportunity for intimacy, connection, spirit, health...

What occurs to me is that there is often no way that everyone is going to see "the truth" in the same light. (What is the truth after all?) We all have our variations of the truth through the lens we look through. The challenge is when the truths are so different, we can't find alignment. So what then? (This is where the healthy part comes in.) The magic comes in creating the space and the safety for each person in the system (on the team, in the partnership, in the family) to share their truth. Without judgement. Without repercussion. Without disdain. Even without argument. The truth is vulnerable. The truth has truth.

The art of truth telling is in honoring each person's truth, for exactly what it is. To witness them in their truth. To create space for intimacy. The truth teller's job is to do just that, tell the truth - and to assume good in the witness. The witness' job is to listen, to be present - and to assume good in the truth teller.

And when alignment is needed? A "help-things-go-right" path can be to find the shared intentions behind each person's truth to find some alignment. To speak to what's happening. To name the conflicts. And ultimately to then put the issue at hand out in front of the system to decide which truth, collaborative or not, will best serve the system.

And, of course, to be truthful, thoughtful, respectful, and present throughout the process.

Food for thought: Do you create space for truth telling in your life and organization? Do you tell the truth? If not, to either, what's missing? What would you need to be present in order to engage from this place?

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