I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, his name is Tompkins (100% fake name use to protect the innocent and ensue hilarity). Tompkins, like many of my friends mentioned in this blog (cool Randy!) has inspired this post by being a great man whom I respect a ton. Let me tell you about Tompkins…
He is a brilliant musician. Man-oh-man, he can create music on an out-of-tune guitar whilst half-in-the-bag that, if I were given 10 years of formal training by Andrés Segovia and 6 months off to write, still puts my G-C-D progressions to shame. In addition to being a musical phenom, he’s got a razor-sharp sense of humor, a gigantic knowledge of fishing, and the ability to make a sub that will – literally – make you cry the kind of tears usually reserved for new mothers or Butterfly Kisses. In short, Tompkins is a great dude.
But you know what’s most impressive about Tompkins? Well, probably the sub thing. But you know what else is blog-inspiring about him? The fact that he is well-known for meaning what he says. For instance, if Tompkins says, “Yeah, I’ll be there” – he’s there. If he knows he can’t fulfill your request, he says no. In short, his yes is a yes and his no is a no.
A man’s ability to be able to say something and be fully trusted is paramount. And one of the ways we earn that trust is through the normal, day-to-day, interactions with people. For instance, if a buddy calls and says, “Hey, wanna get the families together this weekend?” and you say, “Yeah, that might be nice” (knowing full well that Saturday is already booked and that you’re going to call him on Friday and give the brush off), what is that saying? Well, it’s saying that a) you’re now, officially, an adult who does things like “get the families together” and b) your “yeah” can’t really be taken seriously. What if, in that same situation, you replied, “You know, we’d like to (a little lie is okay), but we just can’t.” While saying no may be initially disappointing to your house-arrested friend and unpleasant for you to express, in the long run, that no will speak louder than a retracted yes.
Grown Men, it’s not always easy to say what’s true. In fact, it’s typically easier to give someone a soft answer or, if we’re being really honest with each other, flat-out lie when you have to say something that may be perceived by them as unpleasant. All of us, to some degree, want to avoid conflict and maximize pleasure in our own lives and the lives of those we interact with. In the Dr. Phil arena, it’s called being a “people pleaser”. In reality though, a great lie we tell ourselves is that we please people more if we placate them in the short-run instead of being upfront and honest. It’s just not true.
In your life, you’re going to want people to trust you and, not for a second, hesitate when you give a response. Because really, and here’s the secret, if you can be trusted with little things like “Yes, I’ll pick you up from the airport”, you’ll earn the respect, privilege, and honor of being believed when you say big things like “I’d like to work for you” and “I do.”
If you say yes to something — follow through. Do what you said you’d do. Be where you said you’d be. And affirm that you are someone that can be counted on. If you’ve got to say no, say it and don’t look back. At the end of the day, a man of his word is valued more than a man of pleasantries. No? Yes.
Take it from the sub-machine, Tompkins…