3 Ways Self-Deception Costs Businesses Money

Telling lies and self-deception are subjects I have written a lot about in my career.  Now, I need to be direct. I am here to tell you that you will never achieve the success you desire in life and business unless you stop deceiving yourself.

Just about now I can hear you saying to yourself (BTW, that is what I mean by self-talk), “I don’t deceive myself about anything.  I face my life head-on.”  Yeah, no.  You do not.  Humans are so predictable that I can say that with great authority.  Dr. Cortney Warren’s TEDxTalk  Honest Liars is a great primer to learning the subtle ways we all lie to ourselves.

Pause a moment and think about these 3 small areas of life:

  1. Look at your license. Are your height and weight accurate?
  2. When you speak to others about your physical fitness regimen, do you exaggerate?
  3. When you make inferences about your salary or net worth, do you give the impression it is greater than it is?

Now think of your business — especially if you have a brand to protect or a corporate image to safeguard.  Here are 3 Ways Self-Deception Costs Businesses Money:

  1.  Do you have an executive who underperforms, AND you keep them employed?
  2.  Do you have a TOP performer who violates your codes of conduct AND you keep them employed?
  3.  Do you have a low performer who earns MORE than your average top performer?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you — and your inaction — are costing your business money directly and indirectly.  Directly, in employing people who do not meet your standards.  Indirectly, by potentially losing good performers who find your inaction a sign of weak leadership and demotivating, losing customers and suppliers who don’t want to be associated with an organization whose employees lack character and potential legal action for everything from harassment to hostile work environments to pay disparity.

Now you might say, “Wait, I’m just the good performer having to put up with all this lack of action by top management!”  And to that I would say, “think again.”  It is always your responsibility to make sure you are not in an abusive work environment.  That means you have to be diligent in letting your leadership know — even if it means you should quit.  Never stop demanding to be listened to until you are heard.  What you potentially lose by being quiet is greater than anything you will lose being heard.  That is what I mean when I say do not deny, defy.


Do not deny the reality of what is happening until you are heard and defy the consequences because in so doing you will have created your own freedom from self-deception.

The good news (you know I feel obligated to find some good news…), humans are so predictable that when they choose to learn ways to become aware and change they can and do make progress!

Dr. Warren and I have distinctly different backgrounds and grounding that informs how we work with individuals who seek support on their self-discovery.  Being a renowned clinical psychologist, Cortney seeks to help a client transform presenting pathologies.  I, being a business-focused applied positive psychologist, looks for the fastest way I can get someone from point A to point B.

Read this clearly, there is no one way on the path of self-discovery and a life of flourishing.  At the center of the business of flourishing is the business of self-deception, or to frame in a positive manner, the ability to identify and transform your self-deception.

That is why I opened this piece stating that you will never achieve the success you desire in life and business unless you stop deceiving yourself.  You do have a choice, but you have to make it and take action on that choice.

You know you have something to learn if you stand in astonishment when you look at the choices other people make. If you are like me, you have no problem wondering why does someone smoke, or drink, or eat to excess? Why do they stay in abusive or loveless relationships? Why do they stay in that dead-end job? Why do they keep working that business that stopped working a long time ago?

When we are not pointing fingers, however, we must ask those same questions about ourselves. Why must we wait until circumstances are unbearable to begin to build a new path? The good news is, we don’t!  You don’t have to wait to be brave or for anything else for that matter.

When you stop denying and start defying that is when you step into your power.  Listen in on Dr. Warren and me as we talk about business and self-deception.  Observe carefully as Dr. Warren reminds us all that we are more powerful than we think.

00:15 – A pathology or a path?

00:35 – Top performing = bad behavior?

00:55 – Priorities

01:17 – Are you telling a lie or suffering from reality distortion field?

01:57 – Behaving against policies is accepted through silence

03:19 – Beaten Down; Sad; Being told they are less than; Abusive environment

03:29 – No Support

03:40 – What Do You Want to Be Different?

03:44 – What Would It Take for That to Happen?

04:06 – It Starts with You

04:42 – You have to be aware of the culture

05:20 – “I’ll tolerate it because I have other goals”

05:42 – Dr. Warren:  Superior; Narcissistic; Confident; Pinnacle

             Dr. Goeglein: Wants to do a good job; Wants to impress the boss

06:16 – Contributing to conflict

06:55 – Both parties are equally responsible for a toxic work environment

07:15 – What are you doing to contribute?

What’s not working?

07:30 – What is it in the pattern you’re doing? (What does your pattern say?)

07:34 –  No Shame; No Blame; No rationalization;

How did you get here?

What do you want to do?

Are you willing to do it?

08:50 – How they interact in the current situation is trying to compensate for trauma learned long ago

09:33 – How did I get where I am (so I can stop avoiding myself and get the next thing)?

09:54 – Always start with self-awareness

10:12 – If you learn something about yourself and are not willing to change, psychologically, it will hurt you.

10:28 – Ignorance is Bliss

11:07 – You have more power than you think.

Feel the spirit of the season
About the author

Andrea Goeglein is part organizational psychologist, part entrepreneur, and all about success—your success. She understands both the pressures you face and the dreams that inspire you. Andrea merges her experience as a business owner with her training in Positive Psychology to provide effective, efficient and challenging personal development products and services. She combines an emphasis on objective assessment with an approach that is always powered by your spirit and guided by your goals. Her professional development offerings are based in theory and backed by direct business knowledge.

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