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(How and Why) The Truth Shall Set You Free 

 How the Truth Sets You Free

She: I don’t know if can ever forgive, stop resenting, trust and give you another chance after lying to me.

He: I understand and accept that.

She: How can you understand and accept that?

He: Because you’re being honest about how you feel and where you feel stuck instead of attacking me.  And you telling me how you honestly feel is where we need to start from if we are ever going to fix this and make sure it never happens again.

She: But what if I really can’t ever forgive, trust, stop resenting you and give you another chance?

He: Then we probably won’t fix it or get past it.

She: How can you be so calm about this?

He: Because after looking you directly in the eye and telling you how sorry and wrong I was for lying to you and meaning it, I only have control over what I do now and do from now on. I have no control over whether that will be enough for you to forgive, stop resenting, trust me and give me another chance.  Only you have control over that.

She: I don’t know if I can control that, that’s why I said, “I don't know if I can ever forgive, stop resenting, trust and give you another chance after lying to me.”

He: And you are being honest which is  why I said, “I understand and accept that.”

She: So what do you want to do?

He: What I am planning to do is to never lie to you again and when I am frustrated with you or tempted to lie to you, I will find a different way to talk it through, perhaps like the way we are talking now.  I think the rest is up to you.

She: I understand and accept that.

He: How can you understand and accept that?

She: Because you are being honest.



Why The Truth Sets You Free

In a previous blog I wrote about Authentic (a.k.a. Heartfelt) vs. Inauthentic (a.k.a. Heart Less) Storytelling .  In it I described a presentation I have been making to groups of leaders where I shared a story of someone in medical school who changed and may have saved my life and how I have been paying it forward ever since.  I also modeled telling a story in order to share an experience  (authentic) with the audience as opposed to telling a story to persuade or maneuver them (inauthentic).

I then had the attendees share similar stories at their tables. 

When people were sharing a heartfelt story of a life changing experience where someone changed their life or deeply influenced them, they spontaneously experience their gratitude and in some cases were overcome by emotion.  At the moment they felt deep gratitude and showed emotion, they stopped selling or trying to convince anyone of anything.  Instead it was as if their cup had runneth over and they were honoring those special people by sharing their story of gratitude.

What was even more interesting is that when the person telling the story became 100 % authentic, real and emotionally connected to it, the other people at the table fully leaned into to it as if they couldn’t get enough.

I think what caused that was that when the person telling the story, emotionally attached to it, they completely lowered their guards and just shared their emotional experience freely.

In a reciprocal fashion, the people at the table having no fear of being sold or maneuvered, spontaneously lowered their guards and leaned into the person telling their story.

Why that happens is possibly mediated by the mirror neuron systems in our brains.  Mirror neurons were discovered in Macaque monkeys in the 1980’s and were seen to be activated when one monkey observed another monkey doing something and then imitated them.  In fact they were first referred to as “Monkey see, monkey do neurons.” 

Mirror neurons have been studied intensively since then and are thought to underlie imitation, learning and empathy (which will cause people to yawn when someone else does and to feel compassion when they view another person in pain).  When defective, they are thought to be involved in autism and Asperger’s syndrome where people are unable to connect with others empathically.

My clinical and now coaching, consulting and speaking work for more than thirty years has caused me to hypothesize about the existence of a Mirror Neuron Gap (which in my book, "Just Listen," I referred to as a Mirror Neuron Receptor Deficit).

The notion behind this is that whenever we feel disconnected from others or even worse, attacked by them a neuropsychological gap is created where instead of we and the other person mirroring and feeling each other we feel alienated and estranged from them.  The wider the gap the more disconnected we feel and over time the greater hunger to connect with others to lessen or eliminate the gap.

That may explain why the tear jerker scenes such as Kevin Costner “having a catch” with his dad near the end of the iconic movie Field of Dreams



or the scene where Jack Nicholson says to Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man,”  in another iconic movie, As Good As It Gets



leave nary a dry eye in the audiences watching them.  That is because at those moments a Mirror Neuron Gap which has been building to a near excruciating level of frustration, is suddenly eliminate and in that moment, “you vs. me becomes we,” and in that moment the aloneness viewers feel in themselves disappears as they vicariously live through those scenes of sudden, deep and authentic connection.

I believe that is what happened with my group of CEO’s (who BTW all gave me a 10 rating) and why the dialogue at the beginning of this blog worked.

What “truths” might you and your people begin to share to set your company free to achieve greater performance and results that being untruthful has hurt?

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