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truth telling — Windsor Castle — welcome

Feb 11, 2024

Me — If I ever say anything that starts to feel like too much you have full permission to tell me to stop.

PLT — Thank you. I know. But that's why I come to you.

Me —I try and say things that I know no one else will tell you.

PLT— That's why I come to you, you tell me the truth. Everyone needs to hear the full truth every once in a while.

For me, there is something important about telling the truth — I suppose its a value of mine. 'Truth telling' can be difficult for all involved — there are often elephants in the room that no one has the courage to name, see, or talk about. 

One of the things I am known for is 'truth telling' whether it be in my research, my leadership advisory or coaching work, or to friends and family. I don't always get it right, however, the framing of it helps. 

So how do I do it? 

The first thing when it comes to me is the intention. Why is it that something has come to my mind, why do I want to share? Is it to score points or to be of service to the person I am with. If it is the former then that points to something I need to work on. If it is of service to the person I am with then I consider how to share what I want to say in a 'sledgehammer marsh mellow' kind of way. 

Side note  My husband described me a a 'sledgehammer made of marsh mellows' and I like that. I do want to open things up in a gentle way. This is something that people often shy away from. 

Further side note — I gave a leadership and theology seminar to a group of Church leaders in training at the start of the week and at the start they said 'we've been stalking you... we want to know why and how you got the name sledgehammer marsh mellow...' It clearly creates some curiosity. 

Having the intention to care about the person and be gentle and kind when you 'truth tell' enables the process to be easier for you, and also for the person you are sharing with. 

The second thing is that I don't engineer it. i.e. I don't think 'I will tell that person the next time I see them.' I allow the right time and place to emerge naturally. 

Third, I realize and acknowledge that some things do not need to be said — it might create tension, open the door to several other elephants in the room, or just be generally unhelpful. 

Part of the reason why I am reflecting on this on this particular Sunday is because last week I had several conversations which might be called 'difficult, vital, challenging'.... I think they happened because of:

  • The right intention
  • It emerged naturally
  • It was the right time

Is there a truth you want to say to someone next week? Is it the right time? 

Spend a minute or two thinking about it... 

Now to Windsor Castle. I was super blessed to be part of a College of St George, Windsor Castle, consultation on freedom of speech and democracy in universities. We got to experience some incredible things — like a private tour, led by a Military Knight, of St George's Chapel (where Queen Elizabeth II is buried), and a church services in the Chapel. My primary contribution to the debate was some truth telling, and also to advocate for coaching skills and lived experience to be shared. These are golden threads in my work and my research

Another piece of truth telling was me being very clear with the staff, everyone I encountered from the Police at the gates of Windsor Castle to the waiting staff, how welcoming they were. This is more than just being externally polite — it is being prepared for the arrival of someone, being generous, and listening attentively to their needs, as well as your own. A simple example of this is the prayer mat. When we asked for a space to pray not only did the staff offer us towels to use for ablutions, they also presented one of the most luxurious carpets I have ever prayed on. They made us feel welcome. 

As we go into the new week, new experience, new day... I invite you to ask yourself how can you make others feel more welcome... and how can you welcome more of yourself in? 

Until next week, all my best,


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