Once there was a carpenter who decided to retire after a long and storied career. When he told his boss, the builder, of his intentions, the builder asked the carpenter if he would do one last job. The carpenter reluctantly agreed. He approached this project like none other. In the past, he had always given his best. On this job, however, he cut corners, took short cuts and used less than his best effort and materials. When the job was complete, he informed the builder, who in reply, handed him the keys to the house saying, “This is my farewell gift to you.” The carpenter’s surprise turned to shame when he realized his final piece of work was far inferior to all the work he had performed during his career.
When this story is told, often the moral is: when we give less than our best, we end up hurting only ourselves. I think there may be a different lesson for us to learn and that is: speaking our truth and saying what we mean.
All too often, we agree to something and we don’t ask questions about the outcome and gain clarity around expectations. We say yes when we want to say no.
My challenge to you this week is to learn to ask questions for clarification and say no when it is appropriate. Avoid building a house you won’t want to live in.