Crack The Behavior Code


Are you telling the 5 types of truth?

Season 1, Ep. 16

How much truth do you tell? The whole truth? The partial truth? The preferred truth?

I’ve been noticing how uncomfortable truth can be for people to hear, and I’m getting really curious as to why we lie so often. When did it become “not ok” to say what was really going on?

When did we start dancing around our needs, our truth, our beliefs?

Did it really make us more safe? Enable us to belong? Enable us to matter?

I read Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God – Part 2 recently and liked the way he laid out the 5 levels of truth telling (you’ll see them below).

Take The Truth Challenge

So I invite you to take the Truth Challenge. I think if you spend one week telling only the truth you’ll find it so liberating that you’ll want to do it for another week, and another, and maybe even the rest of your life.

I’ve been experimenting with this and have found it tremendously freeing. First, though, a disclaimer: we don’t tell a truth the intentionally hurts another. So if a friend says “do I look fat in these jeans?” you have a choice. If you think it’s true you can say “Yep, sure do” or you can say “The black pants are far more flattering on you” or “You look awesome in skirts” or whatever will be honest but not crush your pal’s self-image.

Here are some ways you can tell the truth, ranked from easiest to more challenging:

  • Tell the truth to yourself about yourself. This is where we really admit what is or isn’t working for us, who we really are, what we really need, what is crushing our soul, what changes we need to make, what we truly believe and are willing to stand up for, even to live and die for. I recently told myself that I need more vacations and down time. I love my work so much that I can overdo it. Then I get tired, crabby, not as much fun to be around. So I told my team. They were jubilant and are now holding me to this truth—even when I try to be superwoman—then they say “that’s not how it’s going to be…” They are honoring my truth. I love it.

  • Tell the truth to yourself about another. This is where we cop to who a person really is, what they are and aren’t capable of or comfortable with, where they can and cannot show up for us, whether we feel connected to them or not, whether they have our back or not, you get the idea. I recently re-decided to accept people exactly as they are. I had decided this on August 15, 2005 but I had back-slided (to tell the truth J). Now I’ve recommitted. People get to be who they are, and I get to accept them fully or not hang out with them. Ahh. So much simpler than wishing they would change!

  • Tell the truth about yourself to another. This is about being seen, standing in who you are, being ok not being perfect (whatever that means!). I once had a hospice patient that was struggling with letting go and accepting her dying process. This was surprising to me, as she was the wife of a minister and I had assumed she was at peace with her creator and dying. She wasn’t. So I created a subtle opening one day for her to share her experience (she was a very “together” woman who didn’t speak about feelings much). After some talking around the topic she looked me in the eye, and said she had neither peace about how she had lived her life nor about her rapidly approaching death. That’s when everything changed for her. We worked through this together, and when she did die 5 weeks later she was ready. She was grateful, peaceful, complete.

  • Tell the truth about another to another. This is where I want to stress kindness and acceptance of another’s humanity (read: blind spots) so we can be both truthful and sensitive. We don’t need to tell a truth that doesn’t add value… this “truth telling” can decline rapidly into gossip. Rather when I realized that I had been expecting a junior team member to take on huge challenges that he wasn’t capable of, that weren’t appropriate for him to take on, that were too risky I simply told his leader this. Previously I had been encouraging his leader to stretch him… but once I really looked at him I saw this was a disservice. He wasn’t ready.

  • Tell the truth to everyone about everything. This involves being straightforward, kind, and giving yourself a moment to gather your thoughts before speaking if need be (not entirely popular, especially in the talk-or-be-talked-over cultures). Pausing is a gift to yourself, just like saying “let me think about that and get back to you” is.

What would it be like for you to tell the truth—all 5 types–for a week?


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More Episodes


12 Stress-Busters Happy Healthy People Know

Season 2, Ep. 8
Email. Texting. Voicemail. We’re constantly connecting with others, so why do so many people feel so disconnected–which is a key factor in excessive stress?According to Dr. Edward Hallowell, an expert on anxiety and stress, there are twelve ways in which people need to connect in order to have full, rich, healthy, long lives. I had no idea how much more connected I could feel until I read his outstanding book, Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul. I learned more about connecting in that book than I have from any shrink or at any seminar.Here’s his list of 12 Stress-Busters of where we should all be connecting. Ask yourself these questions:1. Family of Origin:Do I have strong bonds and clear communication with my parents, siblings, relatives? Do I connect with them regularly?What are some ways I might increase connection?2. Immediate Family:Do I treat them with love and respect?Are we emotionally close?What are some ways I might increase connection?3. Friends and Community:Do I see friends and neighbors on a regular basis?Do I share my life with them frequently?Do I make time to enjoy their company?Am I involved in community groups and projects?Do I identify with and support the community I live in?What are some ways I might increase connection?4. Work:Do I have emotional equity and a sense of mission at work?Do I share a connection with my co-workers and company?What are some ways I might increase connection?5. Beauty:Do I enjoy beauty regularly, do I appreciate it and pay attention to it and savor it?Do I take time to enjoy a favorite art form?What are some ways I might increase connection?6. History:Do I feel part of the history of humankind?Do I learn about it, feel the power of it, and cherish the history of my country, town, culture?What are some ways I might increase connection?7. Nature:Do I connect with nature on a weekly basis?Do I spend time outdoors or indoors caring for plants or appreciating nature?Do I have special places that are healing to me?What are some ways I might increase connection?8. Pets/Animals:Do I enjoy playing with and having a relationship with a pet?Do I value animals and enjoy seeing them, listening to them, interacting with them?What are some ways I might increase connection?9. Ideas and Information:Do I learn new things often?Am I interested in new ideas and perspectives?Am I getting the most out of my brain power?What are some ways I might increase connection?10. Organizations and Institutions:Am I a member of any organizations?Do I contribute to their growth and welfare?What are some ways I might increase connection?11. Greater Truth/Spirituality:Do I have a spiritual practice?Do I make time to read spiritual, uplifting books or listen to CDs or podcasts?Do I continue to seek meaning and truth in whatever way resonates with me?What are some ways I might increase connection?12. Myself:Do I meditate, have quiet time alone, know what matters most to me and live according to it?Am I comfortable being who I am?What are some ways I might increase connection?Years after reading Ned’s book I’ve maintained these connections, to varying degrees, in all 12 areas. And my life is richer and more fulfilling than it has ever been. Email? Texting? Voicemail? Helpful, yes. And now I use them to better connect with others.How connected are you? How connected would you like to be?Additional resources:Connect More Deeply With Others infographic:

Guarantee Work-Life Balance With These 3 Daily Actions

Season 2, Ep. 7
What is your life experience when the work day is complete? Are you spending time doing things that you love or are you too drained to do anything other than recoup before the next workday begins?We spend a lot of time at work and the brain-based tools that I teach my executive coaching clients show them how to maximize their efforts, stand in their energetic weight and master executive presence. If you aren’t having fun when you aren’t at work, it may be time to reflect.Life is a balancing act, and work will become less fulfilling if your downtime is void of ease, grace, joy, and fun.These are the three actions that leaders can do each and every day that will put them on the path towards guaranteeing work-life balance.Action 1: Move The Needle: Focus 70% + of your time on HVAs. There will always be a parade of bright shiny objects trying to distract you. Keep those beasts at bay by tracking your high-value activities (HVAs) and low-value activities (LVAs). Resolve to get to 70%+ of HVAs in the next 60 days. Effective delegation increases the amount of time that you will have to focus on the items that will move the needle. [see below for our HVA/LVA Tutorial -- and share it with your team!] Action 2: Honor Your Boundaries: Are you honoring your personal life commitments? We all avoid uncomfortable human relations issues sometimes, but what is the cost? It’s exorbitant. As we give our power away and compromise our integrity, we inadvertently teach our brain that not honoring our personal life is acceptable. Set up a new system with healthy boundaries and behaviors that will anchor the fact that a commitment in your personal life is equally as important as a commitment at work. [See below for our energetic weight infographic--you can test your energetic weight with it!] Action 3: Embrace Mindfulness Practices: Do you have a mindfulness practice? If not, it may be time to start incorporating at least one mindfulness practice into your daily routine. One of the biggest causes of stress is ruminating, or repeating a certain stressful thought. The brain sets off down an old thinking pattern and stays there. Mindfulness practices teach our brain to pop up out of that old pattern and recognize it for what it is: a default and well-worn groove that we have a choice to step out of. Mindfulness meditation re-grooves the brain and builds a new neurological network. Do it enough and, like the studies show, you can train your brain like a muscle to stay calm and present in the face of adversity or good old daily stresses of life. [See below for our Beyond Your Brain infographic -- this will help you determine the ROI on mindfulness/meditation]Leaders learn how to manage their energy. They focus on the actions that only they can do to move the needle in their organization, they honor their boundaries and personal life commitments, and they know how to stop the world and stop their thoughts on command.Try the three above actions and you’ll find your personal life will be as fun and fulfilling as your work life!Resources mentioned:HVA/LVA Tutorial: Anchoring infographic: Weight infographic: Your Brain infographic:

Become A More Emotionally Intelligent Leader in 4 Simple Steps

Season 2, Ep. 6
The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate he’d hire her if she lost 20 pounds. She’s “too fat to represent our company.”The VP Operations tells her team if they were competent they would’ve achieved their quarterly goals.The CFO sends the Controller an angry email saying his budget “sucks and is pathetic.”The VP Product Development says “deal with it” when the favorite lead engineer and keeper of the culture quits.What do all these leaders have in common?They aren’t emotionally intelligent. They are sending “nasty-grams” to their teams and causing emotional disengagement and shutdown in others. They have low EQ.And EQ = money, according to Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (see resources below).“The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ equals $1,300 to an annual salary. If that’s not enough, EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs”.All. Wow.So let’s figure this out in a straightforward way. 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Many components factor into a person’s map of the world, such as education, where they grew up, socio-economics, religion, childhood experiences, adult experience—which is why we misunderstand one another so often: we all have different maps.This consideration is Social Awareness.4. Focus on the outcome. What is the outcome you’d actually like to achieve? How would you like to make someone feel in order to empower them and move the ball forward? It’s time to craft a message that will get the result you want and make the person feel powerful, effective, enrolled, engaged, whatever positive emotion you want. This is Relationship Management.Let’s revisit the above real-world scenarios. When I was asked to come in and coach these leaders to become more Emotionally Intelligent they had team members ready to quit, some were totally checked out and no longer cared, some were downright hostile due to prolonged mistreatment. So I had my work cut out for me.Once the leaders were in touch with their feelings and had boosted their Self-Management and Self-Awareness, we then worked on Social Awareness and Relationship Management. This transformation took 4-6 months (based on the leader) to become an automatic response.When I asked each of them how they would’ve navigated the scenarios above were they able to turn back time, here’s how the communications were edited (yes, after the fact, but better than repeating the mistake!).The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate she has great skills and he’d like to explore how she can best represent the company.The VP Operations asks her team what they need to achieve their goals next time. Did she set the bar too high? Were they all too ambitious? Do they need more/different resources? Were there cross-functional dependencies that we all missed considering?The CFO meets with the Controller and works through expectations for the budget, filling in any gaps so what defines “success” is super clear. The Controller feels safe to ask questions and push back on things they disagree with.The VP Product Development sits down with the team and lets them express their grief without judging them. Then she asks what the team needs to heal and move forward, noting that they’ll tackle this together, as a team, all for one, and one for all.How emotionally intelligent are you? Where would you like to increase your emotional intelligence?Resources mentioned:EQ Research: Wheel: