Last week saw the NBA free agency period come to a close. While most of the signings were expected, one in particular drew significant media attention.
Deandre Jordan (the center for the Los Angeles Clippers) had, earlier in the week, verbally agreed to leave the Clippers and play for the Dallas Mavericks. However, things abruptly changed on the last day of free agency when Deandre chose to stay with the Clippers, leaving the Mavericks with no time to sign another player before free agency ended.
Now, the intent of this post is not to go into the fairness (or lack thereof) of the NBA’s free agency rules. This situation got me thinking about the value of what we say. What we say impacts how we are perceived by others -- including friends, family, and employers. What we say has a direct impact on our reputation. What we say affects others. We may not think so, but in Deandre’s case his words will affect the Maverick’s franchise for years to come. Our words have meaning to them. They do not simply float off our lips into the atmosphere with no ramifications. In today’s culture, too many times has dishonesty become the norm instead of the exception. As young men who are trying to be a cut above the rest of our culture, we can separate ourselves from the pack by following these simple guidelines.
Don’t lead people on: While not the same as lying, leading people on or letting them arrive at a false conclusion is still a form of deception. It can make others wary of you. Leading people on is often a tactic we use when we want to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation. This is unfair to the person with whom you are dealing. While confrontations are rarely easy, they are necessary to bring clarity to a relationship. Learn to handle confrontation instead of running from it.
Don’t lie: White lies (and lying in general) have become the norm in most situations. In the business world, we often expect people to lie to us. While it may seem prudent to lie in uncomfortable situations, it will usually find a way to come back to burn you. Lying never solves a problem -- it only kicks it down the road to be dealt with later. Sometimes we lie to protect someone's feelings. While this may be a noble attempt, in the long run it really hurts the person you are wanting to protect. The truth will come out eventually. Learn to constructively confront the situation so you can deliver the truth in an appropriate way.
Be honest: The bottom line is that your word is more valuable than any material possession. Even if you lose everything you own you will still have your reputation. The Bible says this: "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches," and one of the ways you get a good name is by keeping your word. The next time you are in an uncomfortable situation, do not take the easy way out. Be honest, confront constructively, and bolster your reputation by telling the truth. Even though the Clippers got Deandre back like they wanted do you think that they trust him? No way! They know that when the time comes, he will most likely turn on them as he did the Mavericks. The night he signed the contract with the Clippers, the coach and some of his teammates refused to leave his house until he signed the contract, out of fear that he might change his mind again. Don’t be that kind of man. Work to have the reputation that you will do what you say, and people will trust you and not have to babysit you. Being trustworthy will build your relationship with anyone -- whether it is a friend, a spouse, or an employer.
- Matthew King, Co-founder