All of a sudden Sam had that ‘I think I forgot something feeling’, the feeling that makes some of us feel just a little bit sick to our stomachs or perhaps brings on a cold sweat. Then he realized what it was, he had completely forgotten to tell his project steering committee about the change request that the branch office had given to him when he visited their facility two weeks ago. The branch manager’s administrative assistant had handed him a hardcopy as he was leaving for the airport. Sam had placed the change request into a folder full of papers, jumped into a cab and promptly forgotten about it.

The problem Sam now faced was that the steering committee had just met yesterday to review all open issues and change requests. Now quite a few of the members were leaving town for a lengthy business trip and he would not have enough members present to approve or reject changes. Of course he could get them together in a virtual meeting, but most of them hated virtual meetings and only used them for emergency sessions. This was not an emergency session. Unless….. Sam realized there was no paper trail or email trail that proved that he had received the change request. He could in fact pretend that he JUST received it and that the branch was making a big fuss about it, so he HAD to treat it like an emergency. He could always feign ignorance when the branch manager asked what happened to the copy her assistant had provided to Sam on his visit.

Although Sam felt a bit uneasy, he decided that pretending he never received the change request was the best approach. That way he would save face with his steering committee and the branch manager would still get a decision on her change request. The administrative assistant might get reprimanded and would know that Sam was being dishonest, but that was a price Sam was willing to pay. Sam sat back and waited for the branch manager to call or email about her change request. Then Sam could spring into action and call an emergency virtual steering committee meeting.

Sam felt much better after he had spoken with the branch manager. She was a bit annoyed and did not seem to believe that her assistant had neglected to give Sam the change request. But she seemed pleased with Sam’s plan to call the emergency meeting and she appreciated his sense of urgency. Sam felt that he had been convincing and almost believed himself when he stated that he had never received a copy of the change request.

By the time that Sam contacted the steering committee members and shared the story of the last minute change request with them and thanked them for helping to keep the branch manager happy by participating in the emergency meeting, he never even paused to feel guilty, he had started to believe the story himself.

Sam’s behavior really helps to highlight some of the many problems that come along with lying. When you lie to others, you are damaging your relationship with them. Even if they do not know you are lying, YOU know that you are lying. One lie leads to another and then to another. Soon you are uncomfortable being around that person because you are worried that you will ‘accidentally’ tell the truth. What a minute, ‘accidentally’ tell the truth? So much for trusting and transparent relationships.

Another area of concern, Sam began to believe his own lie. His dishonesty is not just with others, it is with himself. When you tell a lie and you begin to treat your lie as the truth you are damaging your most important relationship; your relationship with yourself. And that lie becomes part of you, next time it is easier to lie (that is not a good thing) and instead of learning from your mistakes you cover them up. Would it have been awkward for Sam to admit that he had forgotten about the change request? Absolutely. And if he forgot important documents on a regular basis, it would damage his career. This would be true even if every time he forgot something he told a lie. Sooner or later it would catch up with him. If he had told the truth, he would have grown from the experience and probably would have earned the respect of some of the steering committee, most definitely the administrative assistant and the branch manager and again most importantly himself.

Author's Bio: 

Margaret developed a passionate belief that it takes courage and skill to be human at work and that all individuals have a responsibility to treat each other with dignity, respect and compassion.

Motivated by her beliefs and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others, Margaret acted on her vision by founding Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc. Her vision is to create a group of successful individuals who are at peace with their authentic selves; a group of people who help and support others; a group who bring humanity to the office and thrive because of it. Margaret sees a world where achieving peace and achieving success go hand-in-hand.

Margaret’s students and clients often find that what she really brings them is freedom to bring their authentic selves to the office. As a former Information Technology Executive, Margaret always knew her preference was for the people behind the technology. Now Margaret brings those beliefs to individuals from many professional backgrounds. The common thread across her client base is the desire to experience peace at work and the recognition that peace is not absence of conflict, peace is the ability to cope with conflict. For these people, Margaret Meloni is truly ‘A Path to Peace’. ™

You can learn more about Margaret and her courses, programs, and products at: