Several years ago, I was asked by one of my mentors if I was rigorously honest. I thought I was honest and said as much. More recently, I was given a challenge by Michael J. Maher, the author of 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication. It was the same challenge I am giving you now.

Start carrying an index card and pencil around with you, or just use the note section on your smart phone. Every time you say anything that is not 100-percent accurate or truthful, give yourself an “X.” Beside each X, write a note on how you bent the truth.

Here are some examples:

Give yourself an X for excuses that are not entirely true.

If you procrastinated about getting ready and were late for an appointment, then said, “I’m sorry I’m late. The traffic was horrible!” that deserves an X. Give yourself an X for exaggerations, such as, “I held an investor meeting last night and there were easily 75 people there,” when the truth is it would be pushing it to say there were 50 in attendance.

Give yourself an X for putting off difficult disclosures.

Have you ever announced at the last minute on a Saturday morning that you have to be gone all day and you’re sorry you forgot to mention it earlier when it hadn’t really slipped your mind at all? The truth was you were just dreading seeing the disappointment on the face of your loved ones so you put it off. That gets an X.

Do you ever try to make a good story better by embellishing the facts?

Give yourself an X for every time you exaggerate, tell a white lie, lie by omission, and just outright lie. If you are the kind of person who is used to justifying your behavior and trying to fly under the radar, you will probably have a card full of X’s and proof that there is room for improvement. As long as there is room for improvement in this area, you are going to live a life that is convoluted, stressful, and not all it can be.

This may sound harsh, but please don’t be discouraged. It is possible to break this habit of not being rigorously honest, even if it is sometimes difficult. You might have to embarrass yourself a few times, saying, “I apologize. Let me set that straight. It was 20, not 30 as I initially said.” Do that to yourself often enough and you’ll learn to leave the lie off rather quickly—I promise!

I’m asking you to do this exercise because most people think of themselves as truthful but have a habit of less-than-rigorous honesty. You may find somewhere along the line you bought into the idea that it is better to tell a little fib than it is to be honest and possibly disappoint someone or lessen their opinion of you.

Enjoyed this Think Realty Magazine article? Don’t miss the next issue! Subscribe now, or sign up for your free Think Realty membership to access a digital copy plus other membership only content, benefits, and stay up to date on our upcoming events.
Categories | Article | Operations
Tags |
  • Julie Ziglar Norman

    Julie Ziglar Norman is a realtor with Prime Properties Realty. She believes in “Investing Simplified,” and may be reached at 817-233-8444 or

Related Posts


Submit a Comment