Honesty is being frank, forthright and accurate in presenting reality as you see it. It is being straight forward in revealing what you know or believe. It is being candid in giving out information that is accurate and complete. Honesty is feeling that you have nothing to hide, and that you can say what is in your heart. It is being comfortable in revealing what you know by being upfront and “telling it like it is”. It is being able to say how much you know and how much you don’t know, and includes always being able to say “I don’t know”, when that is the case. Honesty has both a doing side and a knowing side. The doing side is being forthright in saying what you believe.
The knowing side is recognizing honesty, both in you and in others. It knows when someone is being honest with you. It also knows when you are being honest with yourself, so that you don’t delude yourself by refusing to see your own truth. As usual a story from my Nana Scully’s prayer book might shine a little light on what I am trying to say.
The C.E.O. Story
A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives together. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next C.E.O! I have decided to choose one of you.” The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next C.E.O.”
One man, named Gary, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife. She helped him get a pot and soil and he planted the seed. Everyday he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Gary kept checking his seed but nothing ever grew. Three more weeks went by, still nothing. By now others were talking about their plants, but Gary didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by — still nothing in Gary’s pot. Everyone else had plants and flowers. Gary didn’t say anything to his colleagues, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow. A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the C.E.O. for inspection. Gary told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Gary felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the boardroom. When Gary arrived, he was amazed at the beauty and variety of plants grown by the other executives. Gary put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed! When the C.E.O. arrived, he greeted everyone. “My, what great plants and flowers you have grown,” said the C.E.O.
All of a sudden, the C.E.O. spotted Gary at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered Gary to the front. Gary was terrified. He thought, “The C.E.O. knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!” When Gary got to the front, the C.E.O. asked him what had happened to his seed – Gary told him the story. The C.E.O. asked everyone to sit down except Gary. He looked at Gary, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Gary!”
Gary couldn’t believe it. Gary couldn’t even grow his seed. “How could he be the new C.E.O.?” the others said. Then the C.E.O. said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Gary, have brought me plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Gary was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”
Thought for the week
As your thought for the week remember, if you plant honesty, you will reap trust, if you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment. If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine who you will be in the future!