Is Wilson Your Only Truth-teller?
In the movie Castaway, Tom Hanks played the character Chuck (spoiler warning!) who was in a plane crash over water and eventually floats up to an uninhabited island. Soon realizing he’s the only survivor and that rescue isn’t imminent, he begins searching for food and trying to build a shelter. Several items from the plane wash up on the shore, including a Wilson Sporting Goods volleyball. He draws a face on “Wilson” and then has regular conversations with his only island friend. Their solitude and friendship continues for several years until eventually Chuck decides to try to build a raft and escape the island. In deciding on the timing of his escape and in building the raft, he has several discussions that turn into arguments with Wilson. With his voice rising in frustration he counters Wilson’s imaginary comments with, “It was what a year ago, so let’s just forget it! What is your point?” before continuing, “We might just make it—did that thought ever cross your brain!!!” and then angrily grabbing Wilson and kicking him out of the cave.
Fascinating to see someone in an argument with a volleyball, right? But I would argue that you (and I!) have done the same thing many times. We have brief internal dialogues with ourselves only to reinforce our existing perspective. So my question to you is: Is Wilson your only truth-teller? Do you have someone other than a volleyball / your internal dialogue to challenge your existing perspectives?
As you move up in leadership it becomes especially challenging to find a truth-teller, but don’t give up. Reflect for a minute on who in your life can boldly speak truth to you and who can candidly disagree when necessary, and if that list is short (or blank!) then ask someone today to be on the lookout.