We need to be extra careful as leaders. One of the biggest pitfalls we can fall into is to deceive ourselves or draw wrong conclusions. 

It’s deadly for a business, and the scary thing is this: 

You likely won’t notice you’re engaging in self-deception until it’s too late. 

Unless you go looking for it and know how to avoid it, which is exactly what I want to talk about today. 

So let’s get real, honest, and look at truth and self-deception in leadership to avoid problems and step into our greatness. 

truth and self-deception in leadership

Raising Awareness Of Self-Deception In Leadership

I’m super pumped to talk to you today about self-deception in leadership and as home service leaders. 

I come from the trades and spend my time, energy, focus, and purpose in the trades. 

I feel like we have a little different reality than a lot of people have. 

This is a reality, but it’s also something we need to watch. 

I’ve had many coaches and business consultants in the past working with huge teams and a lot of capital and some with much smaller but equally impactful businesses.

And the thing is, I’ve seen this same problem across the board. There is no difference; we all need to be aware of this problem. 

Still, as home service leaders, and I’ll just speak for myself in some of what I’ve experienced, but some of us don’t come up with the silver spoon in our mouths. 

We just had to grind it out all day. Every day. 

A lot of us ended up in the trades because we weren’t good at college, or we didn’t have other options and different things.

Maybe that was how it started. 

But I want to remind you that how things start isn’t how they finish. 

That’s critical for us. Wherever you are in your walk, as a leader, in your home service company, or whatever situation, you’re just at this moment in time. 

In 1994 when I started as a dead-broke drain cleaner by myself in a truck, I had a reality then, and I had to do everything. 

I had to create everything, and I had to sell everything. 

I had to install everything, make the phone ring, and answer the phone. 

That was a reality. But it’s not my reality now. 

We’re all in different places. 

Everyone’s Reality Is Different, But It’s Still Real

The reality is we all have a history, and we come from these different places. 

Today I just want to honor your truth about where you’re at and really what’s really going on right now. 

There’s probably been books written and certainly blogs and different things prior to this about truth and deception. 

But the reality that I want to speak to you about is your situation, my friend. It is what it is. 

We hear that a lot, and I say it a lot. 

My coaches say it a lot, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.

Here’s where I want to go a little deeper today. 

No matter what you tell yourself, you can frame it, you can label it, you can blame it, you can feel guilt, you can feel regret, you can feel shame, and you can feel pain, but at the end of the day, no matter what, what you’re left with is reality. 


There’s a certain level of truth to that that I’m encouraging you to step into rather than away from it. 

Take me as an example: 

Many times in my life, I stepped away from the truth, and I had defense mechanisms built through my subconscious that wouldn’t allow me to face truth based on certain trauma and drama and relationships and certain things that happened throughout my life. 

Yours is no different. 

Here’s the thing: wherever you are, that’s your truth. 

You can choose everything about what you do about it, but you cannot choose to change what has happened to this point.

All Progress Begins With Telling The Truth

I believe in the phrase, and I don’t know who said it first.

My mentor, Dan Sullivan, is the one that hammers it into me a lot. 

All progress begins with telling the truth. 

Whatever you feel you need to do to progress, from fixing your processes to updating technology to hiring the right people, it all starts with the cold, honest truth. 

(By the way, those are the three elements of change. Click the link to read more.)

My friend, there’s truth right now. 

And then there’s your reality about how you perceive it. 

The biggest danger in the world is self-deception. 

My job as your coach and your friend and your mentor, and your peer in the home service space is to push you.

That’s not going to happen if I don’t ask you to get a little uncomfortable at first. 

I would love to love to have you at Blue Collar working with us, but I recorded this for anybody and everybody in the trades. 

We’re all having an individual experience with a global circumstance, and the same is true with the trades. 

We’re not in this together. 

You may be in the same industry but a different area or a different size with different people.

That means you have an individual challenge. 

You have individual pain, you have individual history, and you have individual confidence. 

It also means you have a unique individual ability. 

You’ll never be able to step into your greatness or lead your business as effectively and powerfully if you don’t look at yourself and your team with reality. 

The Truth May Be Painful

My friends, I know it has been many, many times in my life, but what’s even more painful is deceiving myself, yourself, anybody, and that’s going to lead to more pain. 

That’s what causes breakdowns. 

That’s what causes what the world calls midlife crises. 

The key to any changes to have the change before the pain is too great before the trigger is too great. 

That’s where the self-deception comes in.

The deception feels good. It lets us off the hook. 

But if you’ve been a leader for any amount of time, you know you’re never “off the hook.”

Guess what? It lasts about 20 seconds. 

As you realize the deception isn’t going to happen, you take your quality of life down. 

You take your quality of relationship down. 

And you take your quality of self-worth and self-image, and it starts to crumble. 

Here’s what my coach taught me: 

All addiction is rooted in our inability to deal with reality in our lives. 

Only you can deal with life. But so many people don’t want to deal; they want to hide.

That’s why we have an addicted society, and I’m not talking about just drugs and alcohol. 

I’m talking, talking about shopping. 

I’m talking about addiction to working out, workaholism, social media, debt, or whatever.

There are all kinds of different ways that you don’t deal with the reality of your life.

And that’s okay. I’m not beating you up for that. 

I spent many years beating myself up for that, so I’m not going to beat anybody else up over it. But what I want you to realize as a leader, when you start with the truth, and then you stick with it and work through that challenge, working through that pain, a real difference can be made.

The Pain Is Short-Term Compared To The Long-Term Deception

You need to realize: 

Man, I’ve got to make some major changes here. I might have to change up some team or retrain some team. 

You know, I might have to get another level of coaching myself and go a little bit deeper. 

I might have to own some insecurities that I’ve got. 

My friend, whatever the cost, whatever the challenge, it’s all short-term. 

The return on investment for the challenge is so much. You’ll be shocked. 

I want you to be mindful of this. 

As we think through together here today, I was involved in a partnership a couple of years ago, and we ended up needing to part ways. 

He’s a good dude. 

I’m a good dude. 

We just had different beliefs around important things in business and life.

But I think we both knew that it wasn’t going to be a good long-term fit. 

I could have lied to myself about the situation. 

Maybe it will get better. Maybe it’s not as bad as I think. 

I shudder to think about what would have happened if we stuck it out. 

And like I said, he’s a great guy. It’s nothing against him. 

And it hurt to have that conversation and part ways, but for both of us, it was much better in the long run.

The Antidote To Self-Deception Is Reflection

When we think about truth and deception in leadership, I think that is it’s important to realize when you make decisions and how you make decisions. 

Think about when there were times that you might have deceived yourself, even subconsciously. 

Remember: all self-sabotage is subconscious. 

You don’t get up in the morning and decide you’re going to go wreck your day or challenge your team or yell at a technician or tell off a vendor.

Those things happen subconsciously, right? 

And so, be easy with yourself as you go through this. 

During the whole situation where my business partner and I parted ways, I went to one of my mentors, Sean Stephenson. 

Look him up on YouTube. He’s just a phenomenal individual that had a tragic accident and left the world too soon. I am blessed to know him. 

He helped raise my understanding of leadership and self-deception to a whole new level. 

I went to him during this time and said to him: “Sean, I messed up. I’m messed up.”

To be honest, I didn’t use the word “messed.” I used another one starting with the letter F, but let’s leave it at that today. 

He listened, and then he looked at me and asked: 

“When did you know?”

Woah. That’s weird. At first, I couldn’t pin it down, and it’s always hard to. 

But he honored the decision-making process. He knew it wasn’t a single moment but a whole slew of self-deception and blind decisions leading up to this point. 

Honor Your Truth: 3 Questions To Destroy Deception

I would leave you with that kind of thought today, a friend. 

I’m going to give you three questions to ask yourself, but I just really want you to think about in your own business today, any of the things that you need to be aware of where that little fluorescent light is buzzing in the back of your mind of awareness. 

You say:

I know I’m going to need to deal with this. 

We all have it. 

And the self-deception says: 

Don’t deal with it. 

It’ll get better on its own. 

It’s not a big deal. 

You know, this isn’t on me. 

I started in the home service field 27 years ago, and I can’t count how many times I’ve implemented self-deception techniques as defense mechanisms. 

Learn from my mistakes, friends, and rise into your own greatness. I want that for you!

Let me leave you with a few questions: 

1. What do I know that I’m pretending not to know about my current situation? 

2. What will be the cost socially, financially, physically, and perhaps relationally if I don’t honor the truth within? 

3. What is the first action step that I can take to begin owning this truth? 

All progress begins with the truth.

Now that’s just where the progress begins. 

Take this and go make it a better-than-fantastic day, my friends. Until next time! 

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