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Can I Be Honest With You?

Episode #599

Do you feel like people around you tell you what you want to hear?

Do you want to know the two reasons why people aren’t honest with you?

One of the reasons they do it is to avoid any conflict that may arise in telling the truth that could ruin your relationship with them. However, being honest is a sign of respect.

In this episode, you will learn the importance of surrounding yourself with honest people and what you can do right now to embrace the real YOU.

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Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man. 

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Doug Holt: Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of TPM show. Tim, how are you doing, brother?

Tim Matthews: I’m doing very well. It’s nice to be back here. What about you?

Doug Holt: I’m doing well also. Laughing because we had some technical difficulties. As every guy here knows, we all went through the pandemic where everybody went to online work. Clearly, you and I have been doing this for a long time, Tim. But it’s been about a half an hour for Tim to get his microphone, camera and internet set up. If you guys can imagine, you’re just kind of staring at somebody always going, ‘can you hear me now?’ Here in the States, we have a cell phone carrier called Verizon, and there’s a commercial where a guy walks around like, ‘can you hear me now?’ It reminded me of that a little bit.

But Tim, the topic for today that I want to throw on the table is, ‘can I be honest with you?’. And the reason this comes up is for a variety of reasons. One is, we sent this email out to the entire list, as I’m sure you’re aware, and I got a lot of great responses. But I also had an old friend reach out to me. This is a guy that’s been through our program, completely changed his life. And as he and I were talking, one of the things he said is- And he and I haven’t talked for about six months. He said, You know what, one of the things that I’ve noticed is, now that I’m making my way through the world after the TPM program, It’s really hard for me to have other men that I can have honest conversations with, guys that will actually shoot it straight, Just tell you what it is.

I use the same analogy over and over again, because I really like it. There’s this old adage where a woman walks over to her husband and says, ‘Baby, do I look fat in these jeans?’ And of course, the guy is supposed to say, ‘Well, no, not at all. You look amazing.’ And I always say my coaching style is, when a man comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, Doug, do I look fat in these jeans?’ My job is to shoot it straight. Just be honest. And you know, it’s kind of like, ‘Ah, no, bro, it’s not the jeans. The problem is you’re fat, you’ve gained weight.’ And just be honest. Now there’s different kinds of honesty, right? There’s just bluntness. You’ve seen the Jerry Maguire movies, where he talks about- his fiancee says, you know, brutally honest, and he’s like, I don’t think we ever said brutal was part of that. We said, just be honest to each other.

But you can also do this in a loving way. And I know you’re really good at this Tim, in your management style with the team, but also in your coaching. So I want to talk a little bit about that. One is the importance of having people around you that will shoot it to you straight, just be honest with you. And also ways that we can do that within our business, within our marriage, with our friends, and with other loved ones.

Tim Matthews: I think it’s a great topic. Yeah, let’s do it.

Doug Holt: We’re already on it. As we talk about it, when we look at it as coaches, guys, if you ever enter the program, whether it be the AM, or one of our other programs, you’re going to be sat across, virtually at first, and sometimes in person, with an expert coach with a lot of experience. And part of what they’re tasked to do is be engaged, yet indifferent. And what I mean by that is they’re going to be indifferent to the emotional status. Their job is to reflect back to you a truth. Now that truth sometimes is pretty, and sometimes it’s not.

Sometimes we get to tell the guys hey, look, you’re being too hard on yourself. Life isn’t that bad. And we get to teach them to recall their greatness. But sometimes there’s guys that are delusional. They’re delusional about how bad their marriage or their business is, really. They’re delusional about the fact that things aren’t working out, and they’re just surviving on hopium. Right? They’re just surviving there. And I always say, it’s a sign of respect, when you’re honest with another person. And the reason that is, guys, when you think about it, most of the people around you are going to tell you what they think you want to hear. And the reason they’re doing this is for two reasons.

One, if they work for you, they’re worried you’re at the top of the chain, you control their paycheck, that’s a big thing. Right? And for business owners, they don’t really get how important that is, I’m going to touch on that in a little bit. But also, right, if I tell you the truth, and it’s going to be hard, in other words, it could hurt your feelings, then you could not like me, right? Thus, I could get rejected, our friendship could be on the line, I could be worried about that. So, it’s just safer for me to lie to you, and tell you the nice things that are going to make you feel good. And this is where most men end up in their friendships, and this is where a lot of guys get in trouble.

Tim Matthews: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, because I’ve had many conversations about this today. All day. In fact, the theme of my conversations is kind of about this. It started early in the morning, speaking with one of the people in our leadership team. We were actually talking about the importance of being honest and open. And they were asking for advice. How do you suggest that I’m able to do this? He was kind of fired up, as you are. I remember when I first started, when the switch first flicked in me. And I’m like, right, I’m gonna be honest. I don’t care. I’m just going to be honest, I’m going to be honest, I’m going to be honest.

And one of the first conversations, or one of the most important conversations I had that leveraged this authenticity, because that’s really what I started to discover in myself, was the need for me to be authentic, and the need for me to live in alignment. Because for so long I didn’t. For so long, I wore a mask. For so long, I postured, which led to a lot of misalignment. and quite frankly, a lot of struggle. And that’s where the whole five agonies came from. I was living from the outside in. One of the most meaningful conversations I had was with my father, and that was when I asked him if he was proud of me.

So at that point, he said, ‘Of course I am. Why?’ I mean, I won’t go into the whole context of the conversation. I’ve discussed it many, many times. But after I asked him, and he said, of course, and why? Well, I said, well, because you’ve never told me. At which point, he was at the counter cooking, and he just dropped the knife, came from around the counter side of the table with me, a very honest conversation, and I shared with him in that conversation, honestly, what I had chosen to believe, for most of my adult life. I didn’t blame him. I didn’t explain all the reasons how, why I had chosen to think those things and feel those things. Again, I just shared honestly, ‘hey, I know you did your best. I know you love me. I know you’ve probably had a tough upbringing. And at the same time, what you don’t remember, what you may not realize, is in childhood, X, Y and Z happened. And from that I chose to believe a series of things, and this is how it impacted me growing up.’

And it was an amazing, amazing conversation that created a lot of freedom for us both. It set him free and set me free. Now, the reason why I tell that story is because the advice that I gave this particular person today was to assume the best in the other person. If you’re feeling fired up about being honest, and speaking your truth, and aligning your actions with your feelings- sorry, your words with how you feel, then always assume the best in the other person. Because when you assume the best in the other person, like I did with my dad, ‘I know you love me, I know you’ve tried your best, I know you’ve always looked out for me,’ then it lowers that guard. Whereas if you choose to become honest all of a sudden, and you’ve never done it before, it’s gonna be a shock to other people. But if you come at it from a place of victimhood, ‘hey, you did this to me or you said this and you said that and I felt this way because of you’, then you’re going to the energy of that will be one of condemnation.

Essentially, you’re going to be attacking that person, and you’re not going to get the response that you might be looking for. Their walls are going to come up, they’re more than likely going to react, and your honesty, though it’s more than likely with good intentions, just isn’t going to land in a way that you want it to land.

Doug Holt: That’s very true. When we think about this in the air of work – you were talking to someone on the leadership team as well – I think what a lot of guys forget at times, is when you’re having this conversation with somebody, and you could be seen as the authoritative figure- Now, this may be in your marriage, guys, this may be with your kids. This also is most definitely if you’re a business owner with all of your staff. No matter how close you are to those people, there can be an element, an element of them having fear, conscious or unconscious, about the power that you wield over them. And this can prevent people from being honest with you, from actually saying what they really want to say.

Now, I know this conversation, it can be an eye opening thing, because we all think, ‘Well, geez, I’m so open, and there’s no way that I would ever threaten somebody’s livelihood over having a conversation, a tough conversation. Because you and I, Tim, encourage tough conversations. We like to be surrounded by people with a contrarian point of view. However, the reality for a lot of people is, that is their paycheck, that is their job. They do live under your house, if it’s your family, there are other things that you could do.

And maybe there’s just been simply you being angry at them in the past, or upset at them, or disappointed. And they’re worried that’s going to happen again. And so, this is where it’s also really important, guys, to surround yourself with other men- it could be women, but typically, it’s going to be other men who have your best interest in mind, who are willing to tell you it’s not the jeans, it’s you. Because they have no skin in the game. Right? There’s nothing that you can do to them. There’s nothing they can do to you but be honest, and but be right.

And this is why our groups, when we do the coaching programs, we have very small groups of men, right? They’re very close knit. In fact, Tim, I did what we call The Office Hours yesterday, I subbed in for that. And one of the things- a guy in there, I won’t mention his name, but one of our Canadian brothers had mentioned, ‘Hey, look, I’m in week seven, and I am so close to these guys that are in my pack. I have their back and they have mine. And I know that that is without a shadow of a doubt.’ There were two other guys on the call with him, And they were just shaking their heads. And you can tell how honest and raw these men had gotten with each other. Totally different cultures, different walks of life, different nationalities. But they had the same common thread. And that thread was, these were powerful men who were there to help themselves, for themselves, first and foremost, for their families, for their marriage, for their business. But also, iron sharpens iron, and all these other things we’ve heard. There are other great men who want them to succeed. And that’s where it really comes in.

Now, when I sent this email out to him, and the subject was ‘Can I be honest with you?’ I got a lot of responses from men. And the overwhelming number of responses that I got were positive. I got a few negative ones, and that’s always very telling to me when we send out something. And what I mean by telling, for those guys listening, is when we get negative responses from something we send out, it’s an emotional response. Right? That means the guys know it’s true for them. And basically what I’m saying is like, look, hey, my job is to tell you like it is, the good and the bad. And the truth, is you’re screwing up. This is a sign of respect. I’m just gonna be honest with you. You’re screwing up, and your marriage isn’t where you want it to be, yet you’re not taking action. You’re not doing anything about it. You’re reading emails, you’re listening to podcasts, but you’re not really taking massive action. The kind of action that’s going to move the needle and actually change things in your life.

And most of the replies I got from guys were like, ‘gosh, thanks so much this woke me up. This shook me, this rattled me a bit. And you’re 100% right.’ But I got some other ones. And the reason I want to share this is because I want other men to realize that when you get, rattled when you get shooken up, and it causes a negative reaction, that tells me that you believe it’s true. Right? You believe that what was said is true. Because otherwise, you wouldn’t have taken it on.

So the analogy I use in coaching, and this is what I want to get guys listening to this, is, if I was sitting across from you right now, and I looked you in the eyes and said you’re purple, you would look at me with a blank stare, maybe laugh because you’re like, ‘this dude’s crazy.’ But there’ll be no emotional charge for you because you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you are not purple. Right? You’re not. However, for some of these men, I sat across from them, they happen to be reading this on their phone or at work, and I said, look, I’m gonna be honest with you. Your marriage isn’t where it needs to be and your wife is dying for you to step up. Now, for most of these men, they’re like crap, you’re right. And they jumped in. We had a ton of guys go to apply for the AM. Right? And look, guys, you know, I’m biased. I think the AM is the best program out there for married businessmen.

However, go do something. Just don’t jump from one podcast, or email, or book to another. Do something that has a proven methodology. But there were some guys, a very small percentage, 0.1%, that replied – and I looked at the stats because I wanted to see – that were upset. How dare you say that? I had one guy tell me, you’re not a man of God. Right. And there were tons of grammar and spelling errors in this message, so I’m gonna guess this guy was pretty inebriated when he sent it, or something was going on. But he was fired up about the email that I sent him. And the email was about being honest. Really speaking my truth.

Now, had this guy not believed it to be true to himself, he would have just deleted the email and moved on. It’s like Doug calling you purple, you just delete and move on. But when it fires you up, guys, when it fires you up and you know there’s a stinging element to it, that’s telling you there’s a truism in there for you. There’s a truism. The same thing is when a co-worker or somebody tells you something, or your wife says something to you. You react, you go into DEER mode, an acronym for defend, excuse, explain, react, you go into that DEER mode, that reaction, because you partially believe it’s true.

Tim Matthews: Yeah, the trigger is never about the other person. Is it? It’s always about you. If you’re triggered, then it’s something that’s going on inside of you. And just like I did with my dad. When I sat him down, if I had said to him, hey, you did this, and you did that. And I felt this way. And you, you, you, you you – that conversation probably wouldn’t have been one of the most empowering, connected conversations I’ve ever had in my life, because I would have put it all on him. And not only that, I would have missed out on learning so many lessons about myself, so many lessons about myself, because it’s in the journey of me, or you, or anyone becoming triggered, and having the open-mindedness and open-heartedness, quite frankly, the courage to look at themselves and look at what the trigger is, and do the work on themselves to understand how to dissolve that trigger, how to lessen its impact.

And, you know, guys, when we talk about DEER, that all comes when you’re triggered. So if you’re listening to this, and you find yourself falling into DEER often, well, that means you’re getting triggered often. And the more you want to look at somebody else and point a finger at them for being the reason for your falling into the DEER or getting triggered, you’re just missing the point, you’re completely missing the point of the game. Your triggers are there to serve you, to guide you in the direction of where you get to grow.

So whether it’s an email, whether it’s a conversation with your wife, whether it’s a conversation with a team member, if there’s a trigger that comes up because the honesty is too much to take, and if it were me, I’d be leaning into that. And look, there was a long time in my life when I didn’t, there was a long time in my life when I did react. When people said things, I would get angry. What do they know? They don’t know me. But equally, if I looked across the field of play of my life, I definitely wasn’t playing a game that I was proud of, and the scoreboard wasn’t in my favor.

So, you know, I think there was something to be said. But the catch 22 in this is, the more honest you get with yourself, the more honesty you invite from others, and the more honest you can be with the people you love. And in the process, the less you have to prove as well. So you’ll often find yourself talking a lot less, but a lot more precise, and allowing things to unfold in front of you, rather than feel the need to get sucked in and serve people. The kids, your wife, your staff, whoever it may be. Just getting real with yourself and being an honest man, there’s so many benefits to it, so many benefits.

Doug Holt: Yeah, there really are. So guys, I’m going to invite you right now to get clear with yourself. So Tim said something very, very poignant, which is, the first person to be honest with is yourself. And the more honest you are with yourself, the more honest other people will be with you, because they feel more comfortable with you. First thing I want you to do is write down the five territories. Now, if you’re driving, I’m gonna recommend you bookmark this and come back to it. But you can think about it too, right? If you’re at the gym or what have you, I know a lot of guys will be out walking the dog or something while you’re listening to this podcast.

But look at the five territories, and those are the territories of self, right? You’re filling your cup. How fulfilled do you feel? Health, how healthy are you? Wealth, that could be abundance, spirituality or finances. Relationships, your wife, your kids, your friends. How many really close friends? And I’m not talking about friends from high school, I’m talking about really close men in your life, and business. How close is your business? Now, rate yourself on a scale of one to 10 in each of those areas. I’ll choose relationships. I know a lot of you guys are here for that.

But where is your relationship on a scale of one to 10? Let’s just do your marriage right now. Where’s your marriage on a scale one to 10? And here’s another question I’m gonna ask you. If I was sat across from your wife, what number would she give the marriage? Now, guys, if you are not above a seven, okay, with both those questions in the marriage, if you are not above a seven, you need to hastily take action, right? This is your life. You need to take action today. Not tomorrow, today. Stop what you’re doing and take some friggin massive action. Now this can go into other areas of your life. Health is a really important one. All the areas are really important.

That’s why they’re called the five territories, you need them all. But relationships, we have found, over the years, to be the cornerstone for businessmen. because when the relationships are not working, everything else is falling apart. At least the critical components. you might have a grasp on one or two, but you definitely don’t have a grasp on all five territories, right? Because one is relationships. So, where are you? Be honest with yourself. If you’re below a seven, that’s a 70%, right? That’s a C grade. That’s just passing. It’s not worth it, guys. You need to be above a C.

Now, for me, when I did this, mine and my wife’s are always a nine, a nine or above. Now we fall down periodically, we check in. But we do something massively to get it back to a nine or a 10. Right? We’re obviously shooting for a 10. But there’s a gap. Right? There’s a gap. My wife and I recently did this, and it wasn’t a nine. So we took massive action. So that’s what you want to do.

Now, I also want you to take inventory. Right? Do you have at least five men, five men around you who will be open, honest, tell it like it is, and that you respect? Okay? So, are these men going to be open and honest with you, no matter what, and you respect them? If you don’t have that, you need to change that as well, hastily. Take massive action there too.

Because guys, here’s the deal. I’m going to be honest with you, Tim’s going to be honest with you, any great coach will be. Unfortunately, those great coaches are fewer and farther between. That’s why it’s so hard for us to find coaches at TPM. Right? We want somebody who’s going to be honest with you, regardless of the consequences, right? Because guys, without data, without a view of your life, you cannot make changes. You cannot make changes. If you’re walking around 50 pounds overweight and everybody’s telling you no, no, you look great, everything’s fine, until you hit a heart attack, or something else happens to you, that doesn’t do you any service.

This doesn’t mean people either walk around telling everybody they’re fat, right? That’s not the point of this. Right? You need to be honest with people at the right time and have the right skill sets, right? But you need to be honest with yourself. And it doesn’t mean judging yourself. That’s totally different. I’m just saying, being honest. Right? So if you go, ‘I talked to my wife, she says our relationship is a three.’ I hear this all the time. Okay, don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel shame. Just take action. It’s time to correct the problem. And the time is now, guys. It’s time to make sure you have men around you that are honest with you. It’s time to make sure you’re being honest with yourself, and it’s time for you to take some massive action. Tim, anything you want to leave these guys in closing?

Tim Matthews: Yeah, Every day that goes by that you lie to yourself, you take a step further away from who you are, and who you know you’re capable of being. You might sit here and pretend like you can lie to yourself, but you can’t. It’s impossible to lie to yourself. You can lie to your head, but you cannot lie to your heart. You know the truth. You know what you do behind closed doors. You know when you break promises to yourself. You know, when you don’t step into the line.

Nobody else might know, but you know it . And that, for a high achiever, for a guy that sees himself as a player, kills you. Because all that does is, you walk into the office posturing, pretending to be some version of you, pretending to be some kind of leader. And then, you know the truth. And then, you become worried, which is the fifth agony of uncertainty. You become worried as to when people are going to find out. When is the rug going to be pulled from beneath me? Be it at home, be it at work, be it in the community, wherever it may be.

And you could have avoided all of that, just by choosing to be honest with yourself. Now it doesn’t mean what you find out about yourself is easy to confront. But equally, you’re not special in that regard, I’m afraid to say. It’s never easy for us when we learn things about ourselves, through being honest and real. It’s always, Ah, shit, crap. Ah, how did I not know that sooner? I’ve done that again. So you’re not alone if those stories come up. As Doug said, don’t entertain them. There’s no point; there’s no need. If you want to unpack them further, then cool, do that with a coach and do it alongside taking action. Don’t allow yourself to make up stories, and get trapped and stuck in processing the story and the excuse for so long that you never actually take any action because that’s just an intellectual excuse that you’ve learned to mask over the fact that really, you’re just afraid.

Because the reality is, when you get real with yourself about where your marriage is, whether it’s a three or five or six, wherever it may be, you will know one thing to do today that would change that dramatically. You know it. Your wife’s probably been telling you  for weeks. You’ve thought about it for weeks, you know it. Just get to do it today. Not tomorrow, not the day after, but today. Is it going to be uncomfortable? Probably. Is it going to be worth it? Absolutely. It all starts with you getting real with yourself.

Doug Holt: Love it. Well said. Gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action, especially when you find out a truth within yourself that you know is true, guys. This is your one shot in the game we call life. And we’ll see you next time.