Break Free from Your Lies

by Alli Polin on June 13, 2014

Break Free from Your Lies It feels easier to lie sometimes than tell the truth, doesn’t it?  After all, you’re being kind, sparing someone’s feelings.  You don’t want anyone to think you’re a bad person or someone that isn’t thoughtful.  The interesting thing is that when you lie, you’re not being kind or thoughtful or anything else other than someone who is covering their behind.  Make today the day you answer the wake up call to break free from your lies and create a life and leadership legacy built on integrity, honesty and vulnerability.

Remember, any action, hard or soft, can be done with you seeing another person as equal to you, or someone who is less of a worthy human than you.  Somehow, if they’re not human, but just another obstacle in your day, lying doesn’t seem so bad.  Now, the biggest lie you’re telling is that you’re lying for them, not you.  Get over it.  You can learn to speak even the hardest of truths with love, respect and compassion.

Start by telling yourself the truth instead of buying into your excuses

 Break Free From Your Lies You Tell Yourself

Quote: I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me. You Say: I’m not ready.

You Think: I’m not enough.

You Say: I’m too inexperienced.

You Think: I’m afraid I’ll fail.

You Say: I’m too experienced.

You Think: I’m afraid they won’t want me.

When I first started my coach training, I told myself that everyone in the class was more skilled than me.  I better not raise my hand for any of the demos so I won’t be found out.  However, in my program, hiding in the back of the room wasn’t an option and I had to get over my lies quickly as I walked to the middle of the room for my first of many demos. Was I masterful?  Amazing?  Wowza?  Of course not.  Did I survive?  Make an impact?  Add value?  Yes on all counts.  My courage enabled me to shine the light on my lies and let the truth come through.

Shining a light on lies is a powerful tactic to see things in a whole new way.  If you truly want to break free from you lies, instead of believing your stories, take a beat to ask yourself:

  • What’s underneath?
  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • What’s the price of my lie?

You can write a new story when you see that the old one is just fiction.  It’s within you to change the ending.

Break Free From Your Lies You Tell at Work

Quote: It's better to offer no excuse than a bad one.You Say: I didn’t see your email.

You Think:  I saw the 32 emails you sent.  Seriously?

You Say: I really do want to help but I’m slammed.

You Think: I don’t want to get roped into this one.

You Say: It was an honest mistake.

You Think: Please believe me.  You can’t find out I did it on purpose.

Jane’s boss apologized for not briefing her program at the senior meeting.  She told Jane that she didn’t have all of the details in time, but she made a plug for her.  She promised that she would try to get her on the leadership team agenda next month to cover her program in more depth.  Not only was Jane let down, but also really hurt; she sent all of her highlights to her boss twice in the past few weeks.  Was it really possible that the emails never went through?  Jane really tried to believe all of the excuses for why she wasn’t getting recognized for her great work.  Ultimately, the excuses were discovered as lies and within a year, Jane was happily working for a competitor.

Consider, who are you pushing out the door with your lies?  Ultimately, most lies are uncovered and do much more damage than starting with the truth ever could.  There is no foundation for trust, innovation or risk in a culture that is built on lies, half-truths and empty promises. Ask yourself:

  • What’s stopping me from giving an honest “no”?
  • How would the truth forward the work and our relationship?
  • Why do I always feel like I need to cover myself?

Step into your personal leadership by showing you’re real.  You can’t do it all, you make mistakes, you are human.  Break with the idea you have to be super-human at work or at home.

Break Free From Your Lies You Tell to Friends and Family

Quote: I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.You Say: Everything’s great.  Totally.  Completely.

You Think: I can’t let anyone see that I’m struggling.

You Say: I’m so sorry I forgot about our call.  I was late at the office – again.

You Think: Thank goodness for caller ID!

You Say: You make it so hard to be nice.

You Think: I don’t feel like being kind or compassionate right now.

When I was a teen, I used to sneak around and tell my parents I was sleeping over at my friend’s house.  Most of the time, I remembered to tell my friend what I was doing so when my mother inevitably called, she’d cover my lie for me.  Yes, there were times I forgot to give her the heads up and got caught on more than one occasion in a deep, deep web of lies that I had been weaving.  Giving my mother the impression that she could trust me, and living a lie, wasn’t building trust at all (I know, Mom!)

If you can’t let your hair down with your friends and family, you probably don’t share your truth with anyone, even yourself. Ask yourself:

  • What am I missing out on by building walls of lies?
  • Why am I holding back?
  • What’s stopping me from owning the truth?

Friends and family love you, and don’t need or want to be impressed by your perfection… Especially when it’s all just a thin veneer of lies.

Embrace Your Truth

Quote: There is only one sin. And that is theft... When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. If you made a mistake, own it.

If you’re afraid, accept it.

If you’re unsure, question it.

If you need time, space or silence, ask for it.

Embrace your truth.  You’re the only one who can.

What’s your advice to help someone break free from a web of lies and own their truth with confidence?

For coaching, consulting or speaking Let’s Connect!


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

John Thurlbeck June 13, 2014 at 6:39 am

Hi Alli

I really loved your analysis and the counterpoint approach in the blog! I think you got it spot on! I also think that sometimes people are impervious to the harm they do to themselves. In this respect, positive self-talk becomes critical, especially as individual actions can be powerful and they matter.

I’m reading an excellent book at the moment called Yoga Wisdom At Work by Maren and Jamie Showkeir. They discuss the notion of truth and talk about the three elements of truth as: telling the truth as you know it; being willing to hear another’s truth as they know it; and understanding that many things can be true at the same time. They also recognize that truth – in terms of honesty, transparency, engagement and respect – can be a rare commodity in the workplace.

One thing I’ve personally found over time is that lying is often done to lessen the impact on another’s emotional reactions, which is impossible. My beloved mother had a great saying, “What goes around, comes around!” I have lost count of the number of times that homily has come to pass! The other thing that also comes into play here is when lying is used because of a fear of having to deal with an emotional reaction, which should not be the way of leaders.

The Showkeirs’ describe lying as a horrible business practice, no matter what your intentions. I’d go further … it is just a horrible practice … period!


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 3:39 am


That sounds like a fantastic book! Also, I’m with them (and you!) There is no room for lies despite best intentions. The more “white lies” we tell we create more isolation and our integrity takes a big hit.

PS – Your Mum must know mine! What goes around comes around is a truth that’s been passed down generation to generation for a good reason.

Thank you for adding your insights here!


Tom Rhodes June 13, 2014 at 7:33 am

Having difficult honest conversations is an incredible difficult skill because know matter how “not personal” you want to make it, for the other person they are. Unfortunately our lack of honesty hurts them and our own credibility.
One of the challenges in s job search is definitely overcoming the self doubt. Asking myself if I have lied to myself about my sbikities, since no one seems to want them. We most know our own truths. We must have confidence in what we say and we must be honest with ourselves and those around us.

Great post.


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 3:43 am


I used to do training on difficult conversations and how to bravely have them with honesty, integrity and a heavy dose of compassion. However, the hardest are often the internal conversations when we just don’t want to open to the truth.

Job search is like a magnet for self doubt. You have so much to offer!! Where you land, the organization will surely quickly realize that they’ve found a gem.

I know that for myself, I most often need confidence telling myself the truth and I’m more willing to speak it to others as a coach than I am to hear it in my own heart.

Thank you for sharing your experience too.


Terri Klass June 13, 2014 at 8:35 am

Loved your post, Alli and the honesty it evokes!

When we live and work in a world of lies we can’t share and produce our best because we are constantly belittling ourselves. For me, coming to terms with both my gifts and my blind spots has been so helpful. We can’t be great at everything and we don’t fall short with everything. Embrace who you are and honor your whole being.

We also need to recognize the greatness in others and support them without feeling it is diminishing ourselves. When we tell others what we value about them it brings energy and truth right back to us.

I applaud you Alli for being able to share things we all think about but can’t easily express! Your points are excellent!


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 3:46 am

Powerful, Terri! “Embrace who you are and honor your whole being.”

It’s funny what happens when we start comparing… we act as if success only looks one way. A much better path is nurturing our uniqueness and using it to an advantage.

I sincerely appreciate all that you’ve added here! You truly do shine a light on people’s gifts and the truth.


John Bennett June 13, 2014 at 9:35 am

Trust between educator and students is so very important. When an educator says “That’s a good question but it’s beyond the level of your capability to understand” but really means “I have no clue what the answer is,” the students will quickly figure that out and the trust (and course engagement) is gone!!! Better to say “I don’t know the answer to that great question; does anyone else know about it? Let’s all look into it as an extra option and maybe we can discuss it in class later on a later date.” NOT a failure as an educator when you don’t know EVERYTHING!!! No one does – reminding us all that we can all gain from every discussion if we’re open to such possibilities.


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 3:48 am

What an excellent example, John! It’s tempting to appear be a leader or an educator who “know it all” and is “masterful.” But from where I sit, I appreciate truth and some vulnerability so much more. Not only does it build trust but also shows how human all of us really are.

The critical piece is being open to honesty and learning and letting go of that piece of our ego that just wants to keep us protected.

Appreciate your wisdom!


Samantha Hall June 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

What more is there to say on this one? Excellent post Alli. Great job! xo


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 3:48 am

Your feedback means the world to me! Thank you, Samantha!


Joy Guthrie June 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Deeply profound and powerful post, Alli. Well done on the point-counterpoint. Many will say it’s not a lie, just a matter of perspective; but, as you lay it out here, it’s clear much of it is indeed a lie. Time for truth telling. Well done.


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 8:07 am

The biggest lies are often the ones we tell ourselves… or is it just me? 🙂

It’s hard to lie when we stop looking at other people as obstacles in our way and as people – just like us. We all deserve the truth.

Many thanks, Joy!


LaRae Quy June 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm

One of your best posts, Alli!

We do lie to ourselves as much, if not more, than we lie to others.

I think it’s our old friend, the ego, that interferes with our ability to remain honest a great deal of the time. We don’t want to be seen as a coward, incompetent, lazy, etc. so we lie about what’s really going on.

I also lie when I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings—but again, that is ego. I want people to like to me so I would sometimes rather lie to them than tell them the truth…

Thanks for a great article 🙂


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

It’s definitely the ego and the way it lets us, even encourages us, to deceive ourselves to justify our behaviors and thoughts.

I’m totally with you!

Thanks, LaRae!


Susan Bowen June 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Thank you for the reminder to be honest with ourselves in thoughts and words. This is a timely post. I have some “truth telling” to do.


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 9:20 am

Many thanks for your comment, Susan! Honestly, I have some truth telling to do too.


Ryan Biddulph June 14, 2014 at 8:58 am

Tuning into your self talk through meditating, and observing, marks a changing point in your life. Thanks Alli!


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 9:21 am

When we can hear our negative self-talk and CHANGE it – things really do start to happen.

Thanks, Ryan!


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ June 15, 2014 at 6:39 pm

This is a tremendous post! Punchy and deep. It inspires others to reflect.

One of your best yet. I will be tweeting this with #peopleskills hashtag and posting it in the online community G+.

Warmest regards,


Alli Polin June 16, 2014 at 9:23 am

Many thanks, Kate! When we tell lies to deceive others and tell ourselves it’s OK… we’re deceiving ourselves. We have to see it to stop it.

Appreciate you!


Lolly Daskal June 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm

To be honest with oneself is the best truth.

Thanks for this great post.

Honestly loved it.



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