I have a memory pending substantiation from my childhood friends but it goes something like this….
We are in 7th grade and it’s the end of the school year and my friends and I have been called into a Truth Circle. None of us know exactly what to expect but it’s a sunny day and we gather on the soccer field, about eight of us sitting cross legged. What happens next is hazy but I believe the Leader of the Truth Circle (one of our 7th grade friends) told each of us what no one liked about us. I remember some girls crying and I remember acting stoic as I heard my “truth” and feeling relieved that the only “truth” that no one liked about me was my apparent stealing of everyone’s boyfriends (kind of seemed like a compliment?).
Many months ago on Facebook, I posed the question to my friends, “What if someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself? Would you want to hear it?” The response was mixed. Some said definitively “yes” and some said “no” and some said that they would like to hear it but it would have to be from someone they completely trusted and in a way they could receive.
In theory, this is what we have Managers for at work and Mentors for in our lives. As a Manager in a corporation, I had my share of giving performance reviews to employees as well as receiving them and I always found it challenging. Within a corporate structure, how honest can we be? How do we know that the person giving us feedback really has our best interest in mind? Are they rationalizing my shitty raise because of the company’s profits or was my performance really lacking? How will I ever really know given the legal bindings of corporate America?
There is a mode of career coaching called the 360 I find intruiging. It is usually for Senior Management in corporations. The employee is evaluated and reviewed by everyone around them. Peers, direct reports, colleagues and those above. This feedback is presented for your higher good by a trusted Coach and often reveals blind spots to help make you a better employee, Leader, contributor and peer to your colleagues. My client and friend Erika who shared her 360 experience with me said it truly was a game-changer for her professionally and something that she craves again now many years later. What it taught her by revealing her blind spots helped her become a stronger Leader and also helped her excel as a high performance communicator. Could the 360 be the modern day and helpful version of the Truth Circle?
In the age we live in, we are presenting an image of ourselves in social media at all times. We are creating a perception of ourselves and marketing ourselves every time we tweet, post a picture on Instagram or post a Facebook status update. Those who observe us are making decisions and having feelings about us 100% based on the tone that we use in our pictures, updates and comments.
Recently Gwyneth Paltrow, bless her heart (as the Southern ladies say when they don’t mean it), found herself in a PR shit-storm for stating in an interview that working mothers have it easier than she does because while working mothers have a routine (9-5 job, mornings at home with our kids), she does not. 14-hour movie set days are so difficult! We all, every mother (working or not) collectively vomited a bit and solidified what we suspected about Gwyneth. She’s so deep into Gwyneth-Ville that she does not know HOW she comes across. I call this Gwyneth Syndrome.
As horrible as that 7th grade Truth Circle may have been in the most awkward and uncomfortable stage of life, I wonder if there was a way we could do this for each other in a good way. If someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself, would you want to hear it? Would you tell me if I had Gwyneth Syndrome my friends?
7 years of therapy I paid someone to tell
me my truths . Now that I’m Over 40 I know
My truths and frankly don’t care what others think about me . Most the time when
someone has an issue with you it’s through a reflection upon their own self .
Love the idea that you girls started early with your truths though . And you know how I feel about you . I love you just the way you are .
I think the spirit of the truth circle is a good one in that if we can help each other, as friends, to be our best selves that is a gift. However, left in the hands of junior high girls the potential for hurt is high. And I agree that one of the gifts of age is better self-acceptance and knowing ourselves not through others. Thank you for your feedback and insights Alex!!!!
As a person who love growth I would love to know. Of course I would want my truth circle to consist of friends that have my best interest at heart. My mother would be first on the list. She’s very logical, black and white no gray….except for the gray hair. Ki han who I’ve always looked up to as a friend, salon owner and a wonderful stylist. Mia Kim who you know. Who I have also looked up to as a friend, salon owner, and a wonderful stylist. Last but not least I would love to you as part of circle. I’ve always thought of you as a one in a million type of person. A person with a wonderful soul, a kind and loving heart, and someone with lots of knowledge ready and willing to share it with the world. As stylist and as people I believe the only way for us to got is to constantly reevaluate ourselves and to embrace change. Thank Maya Web for sharing your knowledge!!!!
Thank you for the beautiful words and insights Hana. You are an extraordinary soul and a true talent as well. I agree with you that we must evolve and embrace change both personally and professionally. I can’t imagine life another way, really. This path, the awake path, is a good one to share with you!!!