A long while ago a friend gave me some solid life advice: TYBT – To Yourself Be True. At the time the advice was given in the context of a relationship which went sideways (which I couldn’t see).
TYBT means that you don’t bullshit yourself. That you don’t believe your own stories but rather take a hard, realistic look from a neutral perspective. That you seek the truth – even if it conflicts with the image of yourself in the moment.
I sadly see too many entrepreneurs and leaders fall into the trap of whole-heartedly believing their own stories. It is a fine line to walk – on one hand you need to be able to tell your story and tell it well, on the other hand you need to keep the ability to take a step back and assess a situation with clarity.
Here’s an example: Telling your employees that your funding will come in the next weeks, despite knowing that it will more likely be months, might be something you need to do to keep up morale. Not being able to step back from this story and assessing the situation neutrally often makes the difference between making it to the point of funding or not.
Make no mistake – It is hard and painful to be completely true with yourself without losing the enthusiasm you need to push forward. But it is damn necessary – who else will tell you the truth, if not you yourself?