Integrity and too much information, where is the line?
Where is the fine line with sharing what you really feel and think and giving too much information? Over the years I have often wondered about this and with integrity as one of my core values, I have often been told that I am too open and share too much information. I am not ashamed of my past experiences, so why can’t I speak about them freely or when I am having a particularly difficult time share that side too, as well as my quirky ideas of the way the world should ideally function for good measure.
With social networks like facebook and twitter and the very fact of having a blog is sharing a good or a bad thing?To be honest I am a little on the fence on this one. I have often shared openly in what should have been a protected and safe environment and it has been leaked out and made public, occassionally I have held back on my true thoughts or kept them very private. Either way wasn’t comfortable.
Fundamentally, I don’t see how sharing my true thoughs and feelings is damaging, I would obviously not recommend to go slating another person, but I would often openly disagree with what people say or do. Equally people disagree with me and I find that stimulating and good that we have differences of opinions and different life stories that shape us and our action, thoughts, behaviours, etc..
My story has been interesting, so far with lots of good experiences and some horribly bad ones too, to only express the good would be to pretend the bad didn’t happen and to only express the bad would equally suggest the good didn’t exist. So why is it wrong in society to mention the bad stuff as soon as you are associated with the coaching industry?
Then my next question really is are we just socially conditioned to only share what is reasonable to share, so that you don’t taint the squeaky clean image people may have of you as an ‘expert’? Or can you fully be yourself and be respected for it? Or should an expert be manufactured and cleaned up to suit the PR glossy perspective?
Actually as I wrote this paragraph two people jumped to mind Richard Branson and Jordan. Both don’t seem to care much what other people think, only one uses PR blatantly for self-promotion no matter how bad or ugly she is portrayed and the other is more strategic with quirky pr stunts and whilst he has an air of not caring, a lot of the persona is private and again that could also be a strategy.
I had an interesting conversation about this with a friend at the weekend. I am known for my rather direct style and I do have strong opinions, more and more I let them out, but he felt I didn’t really show that side strongly enough in most of my marketing for business. I found that fascinating. I am prone to ranting on about things, sometimes very relevant and sometimes just hobby horse topics. I do self-censor what goes up on blogs and social media quite a bit, the real ranty, off the wall stuff goes in my journals instead, but occassionally something slips through particularly on facebook and I have received comments from people on it.
As an expert on work/life balance I do sometimes deal with stress in my life, the balance goes out of control and my time management can at times be improved. As long as I am aware of it and do my best to counteract or recover from it, then this is only a reflection of the human condition. The day I am perfect, is the day they put me 6 feet under because nothing will improve from there. The best I can give as a human being is the best any given moment of any given day has to offer (sometimes that is not a lot nor always positive).
I do find it testing to read and hear updates of the self-help industry, which are always perfect and if they are not having a good day then they resort to quotes on their twitter or facebook updates. Come on! If I wanted a quote, I would look it up, thank you. What is a wrong with being a human being warts and all? It isn’t because you are in self-development or other that all of a sudden all your challenges disappeared, they may have given you a different perspective on life and I am glad to hear yours, but to only send positive, cheery squeaky clean messages all of the time would make me question your integrity (and that could be just me).
Sometimes the shiny happy perfect image is a marketing ploy, to make you feel all the less perfect and to encourage you to hire them as a trainer, coach or other? I enjoy learning from people that are ahead of me in business either in terms of knowledge or results, I will remain a loyal supporter as long as there is a level honesty and integrity about them. When I discover that it is a pretend strategy used for selling, then I lose respect, I may still like your teachings and theory, but will make up my own mind whether I like you as a person (sometimes I like the person, just not the theory too).
I have worked for companies that managed their messaging so much that the bad would be liable for immediate dismissal and in the extreme court cases even, that to me is going too far. If you have to go that far to create a particular image, then what are your truly trying to hide???
I am grateful for the happy clappy cheerful brigade and grateful for the doom and gloomers, somewhere between those two I believe is human and where I live. What about you?