The Truth Behind Your Guts

I had an awkward moment this week.

We’re all prone to them at certain times in our lives.

blog awkward

Mine happened while meeting with a potential client who wanted me to provide some trainings for his staff. When he asked me if I knew anything about his company, I knew I had to fess up. So I said:

“Yes, I do. In fact, I was brought in for a training once before. And…well…it didn’t go well.”

He paused thoughtfully. “Oh…really?”

“Yes. And actually, I bombed.”

And then I told him the whole story…how I hadn’t asked enough questions about the audience beforehand…how I’d bored them for hours with information that they already knew…how the audience and I clearly hated each other by the end. (I actually left that last part out, but it was true.)

I also told him that, while a HUGE low point in my career, the experience was also critically important. Because I never let it happen again. Because my presentations are so much stronger now as a result.

He chuckled and said, “wow, I’m impressed you told me. That took a lot of guts.”

I almost laughed out loud. Guts? Not really. Wasn’t I just covering my butt in case he found out about the incident elsewhere?

But upon further pondering I realized he was right. After all, I didn’t need to be so honest about it, to be so vulnerable. But I was, because I wanted to go into this professional relationship with absolute transparency, so that I could be who I really am.

And so I decided that yes, I do have guts. And, in fact, having guts encompasses a whole lot more than we think about. They show us who we really are.

blog brave girl

Sure, people show their guts in amazingly grand ways everyday…by persevering through big challenges and climbing to new heights.

But all of us show our guts in smaller, different ways every day.

I invite you to ponder the following list of examples…

What Having Guts Really Means

  1. Having guts means telling everyone else in the room that you disagree with them because you have a different perspective and you believe it matters.
  2. Having guts means letting other people win an argument when you’re not especially invested in the discussion.
  3. Having guts means eating a pizza when everyone else orders a salad.
  4. Having guts means eating a salad when everyone else orders a pizza.
  5. Having guts means showing up at a new workout or a new networking dinner or a new golf course when everyone else already knows how it all works…and fumbling around until you’ve figured it out.
  6. Having guts means throwing away the clothes, tools, gadgets and toys that you haven’t used in years.
  7. Having guts means shutting down email and Facebook for a whole day, knowing that the discussions and jokes will go on without you.
  8. Having guts means wearing your favorite jeans out to lunch with friends on a Saturday, when you know everyone else will be all dressed up.
  9. Having guts means using chopsticks for the first time in public.
  10. Having guts means asking someone who gives you energy to have lunch, even if you’ve never had lunch with them before.
  11. Having guts means telling someone who brings you down that you can’t have lunch, even if you have lunch with them all the time.

Having guts means putting out your blog on a Thursday, even though everyone is used to getting it on a Tuesday. And hoping that people will read it anyway.

In the end, really, having guts means having the courage to be the you that you like best. To be the you who you really are.

Sometimes being the real you is as vulnerable as it gets. Because it means by definition that you’re not like everybody else. That you’re different. Sometimes it means showing that you don’t know everything.

But, in the end, it’s when we have guts that we get the gold. It’s when we have the courage to be who we really are that our lives truly belong to us.

And, as a bonus, that’s when others figure out that we’re pretty great, too. Which is what leads to all kinds of new opportunities.

Like returning to the scene of the lowest point in your career so you can kick some major butt.


blog brave me

This week…

Recognize that you’ve got guts. Figure out how to get some more.

Have the courage to be who you really are.

And make this life count.

Now go do good…and do it well.

PS – got other examples of guts? Please post a comment and share it with us!

PPS – thanks to Matt Mechtley for use of the prom photo and Steven Depolo for the pic of the cute little girl. Oh, and thanks to Hubbie for the picture of me.



14 responses to “The Truth Behind Your Guts”

  1. Laura Avatar

    This post is great! Hopefully that client will rehire you. None of us is perfect, and candidly sharing insights from our moments of growth is beautiful.

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Thanks Laura – so appreciate it. And I’m happy to report that the client and I are back in business. Thank goodness the guy appreciated my straightforward style. 🙂

  2. Jon Avatar

    Guts is doing what you’re doing. Also raising twins is gutsy.
    Great read.

  3. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
    Deirdre Maloney

    Raising twins might just be gutsier than anything I’ve ever done or ever will do. Thanks Jon!

  4. jackie Avatar

    really enjoyed reading this, im ready to get some guts and conquer the world with Gods help! 🙂 thanks for posting

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      I’m guessing you’ve already got plenty of guts, Jackie. Now it’s just time to recognize them and use them more…and then onto conquering! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  5. Patty Avatar

    Thank you Deirdre. A great deal of wisdom. It reminds me of Frank Sinatra’s song, “I gotta be me.” I used to be a people pleaser and said only what I thought others wanted me to say. Today I try to be honest and I like myself better. I know others also appreciate that.

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      I’m sure they do, Patty! I think being honest and liking yourself in the process is ALL about guts. Thanks for your comment, and here’s to Old Blue Eyes!

  6. Sue Avatar

    Just now getting a chance to read this Thanks for sharing your experience. I think we all need to celebrate those times in our lives when we make small steps forward to authenticity. My most recent “brave” was to invite a colleague to lunch. The reason it was so brave is that she has ALWAYS been rude to me whenever we ran into each other in public at any kind of nonprofit event. She’s fairly arrogant about her role within the nonprofit sector and “unfortunately” she’s well-respected here. She’s been doing this about 8 years longer than I have in this community but I’ve been doing it 30+ years longer than she has overall. The classic young vs. old :). But I DID it … invited her to lunch and to her credit, she accepted. It was a tad bit weird and awkward, but a right step anyway. As Lincoln said, “I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend”. Thanks again for highlighting the need to be brave!!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Sue…and congrats on your gutsy move! I wish you all the best with it…and know you’ve got the guts to continue to be the best, authentic you all the way through to the end of the lunch 🙂

  7. Dr Bill Vetter Avatar
    Dr Bill Vetter

    Having guts –> being ok to being wrong and making mistakes.

  8. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
    Deirdre Maloney

    Well said Doctor! Thanks for sharing your thoughts…

  9. Samantha Goldstein Avatar
    Samantha Goldstein

    Love this and love you. I needed this today! I’m about to chant from the Torah and I’m so scared I’ll blow it. But I have guts because I could have just said no and I didn’t!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      OHMYGOSH Sam you’re totally gutsy – and absolutely going to shine!!! 🙂