On Transparency – Life’s Arena
I’ve discovered transparency has two sides. One one side, it sounds so authentic. We all want transparency from others. Transparency from your boss. Transparency in your relationships. Tell me the truth – even if it hurts I’d rather have #Truth than something else. What reality TV and America Idol tryouts had in common is that they are/were REAL. We have so little real authenticity in our culture today that we are drawn to those who demonstrate it.
On the other side though, transparency can be tough. Most especially when you are the one trying to be transparent. And, authentic. It takes courage to be authentic.
Being transparent often means showing you are scared or vulnerable. It means letting someone in to that little tiny corner of your heart that you KNOW you should keep protected and walled up so it doesn’t get hurt.
And yet, if I’m not willing to be real, authentic, and transparent, what’s the point? Life is too short to just go through the motions.
There is a full spectrum of transparency. Being transparent, for me, ranges all the way from “Yes, I had a brownie for dessert after dinner last night and it was fabulous!” (Totally true story – even though it was Monday and I usually don’t do a lot of sugar Monday – Friday afternoon) to “Yes, I was a victim of sexual abuse for more than 7 years and yes it continues to affect me today.”
So, here’s the thing about being transparent – and being brave. There never is, and there never will be, a perfect time. You won’t be any braver tomorrow than you are today. It won’t get easier the longer you wait. And, you will be able to find just as many excuses tomorrow as you can today. I talk to many people – all of whom have dreams. Some want to write a book. Some want to speak on stage. Some want to find a different job, a more rewarding personal relationship, or create a better life for themselves. But, to do any of those things requires being transparent. It takes transparency to admit that life isn’t perfect or that YOU aren’t perfect. It takes transparency to admit there are dreams as yet unfulfilled, and while you are grateful, you are also filled with yearning to do more. Have more. BE more. Yes, maybe we are afraid to try and fail, but if we never try, we will never succeed.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
God gives us a stewardship. He equips us with talents and abilities. He refines us with our experiences. And, then He waits expectantly for us to enter the arena of life. If we fail to do so, we fail to honor our stewardship.
Write your book. Start a blog. Pick up the phone and call someone. If you come up short, don’t let it be because you didn’t try to begin with. Spend yourself in a worthy cause. Get dusty, sweaty, and strive again and again. I don’t know your story. But, I know that to live life like it was meant to be lived requires us to be transparent, brave, and dare greatly.
About the author: Like many, Ria faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. She was forced to play the role of a wife and even shared with other men due to her father’s perversions. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma.
Ria co-founded Top Story Leadership, a consulting company offering keynote speaking, leadership training, and coaching. Ria also works with aspiring authors and speakers to help them learn to tell their own stories.