How many readers out there have ever found themselves at a dinner with some professional colleagues? Probably quite a few of you. I had dinner with some SEs from various other resellers and some vendor representatives tonight. It’s a fairly common occurrence, right?
Well, in how many of those situations did you feel you had to mask or withhold your beliefs or your opinions? This could be on any level; perhaps you couldn’t speak your mind about a particular product because you were having dinner with the vendor that makes that product. (No, this doesn’t have anything to do with any recent events.) More to my interest, for those readers who are also Christians, how many of you felt like you couldn’t fully express your Christian values or beliefs at one of these functions?
Now, this may not have been due to any person in particular, or because anyone said anything out loud. But in today’s society, where people are encouraged to be “politically correct” so as not to offend someone, it’s become increasingly rare to see people willing to show their beliefs, their values, their faith in public. It’s increasingly rare to see people willing to “nail their colours to the mast.”
That saying dates from English maritime history (more information here), basically meaning to openly display one’s beliefs. It can also mean a refusal to surrender or submit. My interest lies primarily with the first meaning, although both meanings can be helpful.
I think its time that we put political correctness aside and started taking a stand for our beliefs. And I say that not just from a Christian perspective, but from a professional perspective as well because these two perspectives are connected. They are linked. How? Being honest about who we are and what we believe—again, in a way that is courteous and professional—builds integrity. Integrity creates respect. Your colleagues won’t respect you if you aren’t honest, and if you aren’t being honest about who you are or what you believe then you aren’t being honest at all, IMHO.
Some might say that “transparency” is a good word to use here—we should be transparent and allow our character to be seen by others. Continuing the maritime flag theme, your true colors will come out sooner or later anyway.
If we don’t like a particular product because we don’t agree with the way it works, let’s just say so. We should be honest, because honesty is a Christian trait. Of course, we can do so in a way that is not offensive or rude, but we can and should be honest.
When we’re out at dinner with vendors or colleagues, we shouldn’t be afraid to say a prayer over our meal before eating. Again, we’re allowing the truth of who we are to be seen, and that honesty will generate respect. I believe people will respect you for not being afraid to be who you are.
Personally, I would rather see someone take a stand for something, even if it’s something I don’t agree with, then be wishy-washy and variable. Wouldn’t you? Maybe it’s time we nail our colours to the mast.