Posted by Todd Smith
One of the little things I learned years ago was to use discretion in what I share with people. While being honest is always paramount, there are times when you need to use good judgment in what you share. This is especially true if it has the potential to hurt feelings and damage relationships. It’s not always necessary to “tell all.”
I can think of 1001 situations that require us to give a reason for our actions. Perhaps it’s an appointment cancellation or rescheduling, the return of merchandise or the need to take a day off.
In most cases, I openly share the reasons for my actions when asked. If however I want to keep my reason private I tell them: It’s for “personal reasons.” You’ll notice that people will NEVER ask about the personal reasons.
Here’s a good example. If my friend Gordon calls today to invite me to go 100 miles offshore fishing for Warsaw Grouper tomorrow, I can’t pass up that invitation. So unless there is something absolutely critical on my “To Do” list that must get accomplished tomorrow, I am going fishing.
If I have a couple non-urgent calls scheduled, I will need to reschedule those calls. Here’s where “it’s personal” comes in. I would say, “Mike, I am sorry but I am going to have to reschedule our call. Here is my availability over the next couple days. What works best for you?” If Mike were to ask the reason, I would tell him: It’s for “personal reasons”.
Unless Mike is a friend who would understand and want me to take the day off to go fishing, he could be offended and conclude that he was not as important to me as fishing. I have learned a lot of people think this way.
This morning I was giving advice to a friend who needed to cancel his apartment lease because he found a place he would rather live. I told him to simply say, “Hi Joe, I’ve had a change of events in my life and for personal reasons I am going to need to cancel my lease early. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. I want to work with you and I will do everything I can to make this transition work for you so that you are not out any money.”
If he called his landlord and said, “Hey Joe, I found a better place to live so I’ll need to cancel my lease.” You can imagine what Joe would say.
I have learned that in most cases in life the less you say, the better.
Please understand I would never use this reason to mislead or deceive someone or cause my integrity to be questioned in any manner. The ONLY time I use it is if I don’t want to disclose my reason.
The next time you don’t to share the reason for your actions, ask yourself if “personal reasons” works.
Your personal and professional success is not only determined by little things you do but also the little things you don’t do.
Things you were never taught
Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.
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