Are You Being Honest with Yourself?

Yesterday I spoke on a panel to some 450 women attending a leadership event put on by CWNC Organization with the theme of Reinventing Yourself. I had one goal in mind: To inspire at least one woman in the audience to take a leap of faith and trust into her own self and to stop seeking approval and guidance from the world around her. Oh and there was this one non-negotiable rule about everything that came out of my mouth on the panel: “Farnoosh, you gotta be 100% honest and transparent!”

Being honest with yourself is not so common as it turns out we are blatant liars. Just listen to that inner dialogue without filtering for once.

My turning point not just in my career but in my life came when I got uncomfortably honest with myself. In other words, when I was telling all the truth. Ahem!

It does not matter that I did not do anything about it for a little while. I had taken that first step. I had stopped lying and started telling the truth to myself – not to the outside world, forget them for a minute please – but to YOURSELF!! I did absolutely nothing about all that honesty and clarity until years later when I had what I called my final “snap point”, and as our keynote speaker so beautifully put it, that’s because my courage had not yet caught up with the rest of me.

On the panel, I talked about my story of rising to a corporate darling and finding nothing but misery and emptiness waiting for me there. Then I looked these beautiful people in the eye and told them in raw honesty how I found my way back to me again. Or maybe not again but for the first time.

Do you know what it’s like to have that inner dialogue with your ego, to give up the pursuit of the only thing that you thought would make you “successful” after all the years of investment and sacrifice? Not a pretty day, yet it liberates you from the sham and drudgery of lying to your beautiful soul. I say that’s worth it.

So what if I didn’t want to become a Senior Vice President at a Fortune 500 company anymore? So what if I didn’t want to be a Corporate hotshot anymore? It was all so absurd anyway now that I have clarity and grounding in my life. It was so far removed from my true essence that it is now laughable. I mean quite literally; I laugh out loud at my stupidity and naiveté at least once a day!

In those first moments of allowing the honesty and letting your heart whisper, “Honey, this nonsense isn’t for you! It’s OK. You can start over. Enough betraying your heart!”, it’s all you can do to keep breathing and not hyperventilate.

This stuff is not easy, but let me tell you a secret: Easy plain sucks. Easy is over-rated. Easy for the lazy part of you that you need to eradicate. Easy gives your soul a virus. Easy is the pits. Easy is the road to misery. You need to forget about easy versus hard and stop whining about it.

Your job, after you get honest with yourself, is to ask how and start figuring it out one step at a time. If you get discouraged, listen to the maestro of it all, my hero at conquering life and laughing at it in the face with the success he has achieved. Mr. Stephen King and his fantastic work “On Writing”. Get it on audio!

Honesty comes with other issues too. Honesty brings you face to face with some ugly resistance first. I could not separate my identity from the corporate dream; I am my job, I am my career, I am my company. I am meant to go down this path. I am not meant to go down the path of uncertainty. Complete resistance. So stop resisting. Yes, that’s as simple as it is. I am not trying to be cute or clever. Just stop resisting. Have you even tried? Stop resisting and go with the flow of that honesty. You won’t die, I promise!

There is a good side to honesty, and this might comfort you.

Changing what you know to be the only “truth” to listen to your soul is terrifying, and that’s all you want to focus on because your mind wants you to resist the change, but if you pay attention, in all that fear and commotion, you will feel a little peace.

I could feel this quiet place that was starting to emerge in all this unknown when I first had an honest conversation with moi. I imagined there was a tiny version of me pushing out this enormous ugly monster , the ‘corporate dream’, out the door, maybe even off the edge of a cliff. And I was finally rooting for little me!

In the end of your life, whoever you are, you won’t give a damn anymore anyway and then you will be utterly honest with yourself. Why not start sooner and actually do something about the divine message of honesty?

Honesty liberates you from your rules. It lifts heavy ugly weight off your shoulders and maybe in that weight, you also store some good stuff, that’s OK. Let them come off. Maybe you stored your security and comfort and predictable days and weeks and schedules. Let them go. Maybe you told yourself that life is supposed to be this way – miserable at times so you can be happy at other times – and you married that theory in a match made in hell. Let that go too.

In those honest dialogues when you are really scared, truly vulnerable, and even clueless in some ways, you will know that you are willing to start over if only it means to stop the lying – I know I did.

So, are you being honest with yourself? How honest – all the way?

What do you want in life? What do you want to be, do, have? And what, if anything, are you doing about it?

Leave those honest thoughts in the comments and let’s start a conversation.

If you enjoyed this blog post, hop on the list below where I help you get really honest with your life’s work and career, and send you your FREE Career Email course here or below:

  • Dan Garner

    “To inspire at least one woman in the audience to take a leap of faith and trust into her own self and to stop seeking approval and guidance from the world around her”
    I hope that I am wrong, but you will probably be lucky to get more than one person to apply your lesson here. Most of us don’t even realize that we’re lying to ourselves. Our true selves are buried so deeply under the roles that we assume and false identities that we wear that we don’t even realize who we truly are. I didn’t. I’m on the road though.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

    • Farnoosh

      I hope you are wrong too, Dan! Where’s that usual optimism you bring here? :)! I know we don’t realize the lying but at least, but that’s the whole point of writing these articles – to raise awareness!

  • YG

    Hi Farnoosh,

    your blog is one of the most interesting and realist blog on the web about personal development. So thanks for that you’re doing.

    I think i’m one of the most dishonest against myself.

    I want just one thing to be self-sufficient, independent financially and professionally. i know that i want, i have the skills to reach it and . . . i do nothing, i’m stuck in mu situation where i complain about it in my head all the days.

    • Farnoosh

      Hi YG, why that’s a huge compliment, thank you so much.
      I know how you feel – I do – I have gone through every lousy form of self-sabotage and become quite the master at it until I found my way out of that place. Stop the complaining or that’s all you will ever have. Change your perspective by telling yourself a different story. Stop with the sob stories you are probably telling yourself and pick a different reality – you create your own reality so pick a good one. Start there! Hope this helps!

  • Vidya Sury

    Farnoosh, what a powerful post! And may everyone who reads this go away feeling stronger, better and ready to be more honest with self.

    The route to honesty was a little different, and luckily, not so difficult for me. I enjoyed my corporate career as a regional head of a multinational company based in the UK. And when I decided to marry at the ripe old age of 33, I quit my job. Just like that. Of course, the first three months of being at home with time on my hands felt slightly crazy, but then soon we had to move and got busy. Then my son came along and that was a glorious time.

    Of course, just being pregnant and managing the home wasn’t enough and I enrolled into a course, thinking that with my background in sales and training, I would slowly look for freelance work in training, and in the meantime, equip myself with extra qualifications. I still remember the course notes I would read, with Vidur breastfeeding. Comic memories.

    As it happened, we moved cities again, to settle down, bought a home, and then Vidur started school. Now that was the moment of truth for me. Can you believe I couldn’t find a job? A hotshot successful exec? Well, the job market was down. There was more firing than hiring happening, and 36 was considered too old!

    That’s when I took stock of my priorities as to what I wanted to do, and what I could do. Cash was important as we had home loans, Mom’s health bills and a growing kid. The best thing we did was sitting together (Mom, Sury and I) and strategize. I tell you, nothing beats the joy of closeness in a family.

    Realizing I could wait for a long time before I could get the ideal job as I knew it, I took up part time work that paid peanuts. I also thought about what I would really like to do. It would be perfect if I could work from home. And I manifested that, I think, because soon a friend invited me to join him as a editor for a business magazine. I never looked back. Not only did I have a part time job, I was also writing freelance, earning money while spending lots of time at home with my family. Granted we had tough times, and life was not always perfect. But I am glad I had the courage to explore my abilities and take it forward from there.

    Would you say I was lucky? I would πŸ˜€

    And I am very grateful to be connected to you. Um… I apologize for the post-length comment. πŸ˜€ Hugs!

    Thank you for a fantastic post.

    Love, Vidya

    • Farnoosh

      36 is old? Gasp! πŸ˜‰ Who makes those rules anyway? I want to show them what I think of them ;)!
      Hi sweet brave and very smart Vidya, I loved this story – I read it twice. There is so much raw truth – no covering it up – And I am a wee bit envious of that wonderful dynamic with your family – Mine have come around but the support to do the crazy stuff I am doing was covered with a lot of doubts…
      Glad to see you have found your way in a place that makes you happy. Are you doing free lancing now? What is your main focus these days?
      Love the long comments – bring them on and THANK YOU for sharing the love.

      • Vidya Sury

        :-) Yes -I started working from home as a freelance writer and business blogger in 2004 and continue to do so. And love it. All types of content.

        And by the way, 36 was considered old only because the interviewer felt that a 30-year old CEO would feel bad about having someone older reporting to him πŸ˜€ I am really glad I am out of that rat race! I traded tension, being away from home and stress for the joy of being with family, even if my income went down…and enjoyed happiness πŸ˜‰ – all very worth it!

  • Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy

    Hi Farnoosh! Been awhile since I’ve left a comment. Loved this post! To me the honesty is a needle pointing in a particular direction. It tells me where to look to take the steps to doing what I love to do. Sometimes I have to take baby steps to get to the point of doing what I love. Sometimes I’m not ready or good enough to support myself. But it always tells me where I need to head. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Ken, nice to see you here. Glad to meet another honest soul on this journey! And love how you use your own honesty as a compass to tell the way. Beautifully said. Hope you’ve been well. Thanks for dropping by!

  • Sandra / Always Well Within

    I so much appreciate this aspiration, Farnoosh: ” To inspire at least one woman in the audience to take a leap of faith and trust into her own self and to stop seeking approval and guidance from the world around her.”

    Self-honesty is such an important topic! It helps to hear the process you went through and how self-honesty was the first crucial step. I think I’m quite honest with myself. But, I also see that we cannot see what we cannot see until we see it. If that makes sense! When we are ready, life has a way of unfolding so we see more.

    • Farnoosh

      Hi lovely Sandra, your comments are always so thoughtful. I am still working on the self-honesty too but it’s coming easier now that I know what I am looking for and how to stop lying to myself and I can’t imagine you any other way – truly honest with yourself. Thank you for the sweet words of encouragement, dear Sandra.

  • Fred

    Great article Farnoosh, especially now that I was beginning to question my move to plunge into the uncertain with my online business. The resistance nearly suffocated my dream to become the best writer I could ever be. But thanks to this post, I just found my mojo…

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Fred, welcome here. Glad you have found some of your mojo back. Having your own online business can’t be easy – I know that first-hand – so congratulations and keep at it. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  • Glynis Jolly

    It took me long enough to get to this particular post. I am subscribed to your posts through email, and yet somehow I never did read this one when it first was published.

    It have only been quite recently that I have been wondering about how honest I am with myself. Being in my late 50s, you would think that I would have come to terms with this. Oh well. At least I am getting to it now. After reading this post, it dawned on me that I am one of those people who store their feelings of yesterday. You have made me realize that storing them is idiotic.

    Thanks for the awakening.

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Glynis, I am sorry I don’t send out my posts in email … my email list is to get you the confidence series course plus updates with highlights from the blog …. RSS may be the best way to get these posts and I am so glad that you are here and that this post has been useful to you. It’s never too late, Glynis and you are most welcome!

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