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When It’s Ok To Lie

We were at brunch when the beautiful blonde took a sip of her mimosa and said, “I don’t get what the big deal is. Everyone lies.”

The other three women shook their heads in agreement and took a bite of their salads. No one seemed shocked or put off by the comment (except me).

I sat there dumbfounded. Lies about what? I don’t lie. Should I be lying? Why wasn’t I lying?

Trying to act like this was normal and I definitely knew what they were talking about, I said, “Everyone lies about what, specifically?”

“Like stuff for work. How much you make. Who said what. Like everything.”

It sounded like she was telling me that you have to lie and cheat to get ahead. So I clarified: “Are you saying you need to lie and cheat to get ahead?”

“Well,” she took another bite of her salad. “I mean it’s the game. That’s how you play. Everyone does it.”

I’d forgotten about this brunch until recently when someone recommended lying in one of my programs. They said it in the same tone you’d say, “cute shirt.” Nonchalant and matter of fact, like it was nothing.

In fairness, it seemed like nothing. No one would get hurt. No one would know. The lie only affected semantics. And it would work. It was backed by science.

Lie a little. Score the sale. No one gets hurt.

Exceptttttttttt if you’re one of us cursed humans, fated to go through life with a conscience, then the whole lying thing isn’t harmless.

Forget the whole ethical dilemma about having deliberately misled someone. Let’s talk about self-efficacy.

It fucks that up.

Self-efficacy is your perception of what you’re capable of.

Without belief in yourself and your abilities (self-efficacy), you’re basically dead in the water. Self-efficacy comes from having overcome adversities, learned from failure, and seeing EVIDENCE that you turn out ok in the end.

When you lie, you rob yourself of the opportunity to learn, to fail, and to get better.

Sure, maybe you get the outcome you want in the short term (you scored the sale!), but in the long term, you’re investing in fodder for your future therapy sessions.

Lying plants the “could-would-shoulda” seed. And that isn’t benign. If you plant that coulda-woulda-shoulda stuff in your brain, it metastases.

You see this a lot in sports. Today, you have to take drugs to win. It’s not really debated, it’s just unspoken. We all know it. We don’t talk about it; unless it becomes really obvious because like…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice your muscles are suddenly huge and disproportionate, your face is weird, and you have anger problems.

I don’t really care about sports, but I do care about people. And when you’re cheating on the court, you never really get the feeling that the victory is yours. The victory belongs to the drug. (Oh, but Margo you were the person smart enough to take the drug so the victory IS yours – shut up. No.) (if you tweet me that I will take roids and come punch you. Not so the victory is mine, but so it hurts you more because I’m little).

Lying erodes your sense of self, your self-worth, and your self-efficacy.

You lie when you’re unsure of whether you have what it takes. And you rationalize it like the blondes I had brunch with, “Everybody does it,” so it’s ok.

Everyone does do it. Let’s not be naive here. But we’re not in 4th grade. That’s not a satisfactory justification for bad behavior.

Find a better way.

And if you need my help I’ll be over here in this course on ethical selling. (COME ON THAT WAS THE PERFECT SET UP)

For real though, you can be good at this stuff without sacrificing your sense of self.

Don’t put yourself in therapy over this. Sales isn’t lying. There are liars who sell things, but that’s on them. That’s not what sales directs you to do.

Be smarter than that.




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