Learning to drop false pretenses

March 31, 2016 By    

Someone once asked Dolly Parton how long it takes her to do her hair. She responded, “I don’t know. I’m never there.” She may not look it, but the popular singer and actress recently turned 70. Her wig (or “pretend” hair) makes her look much younger.

Like Dolly Parton’s pretend hair, business people also pretend from time to time. When a local university sponsored a seminar, several prominent business people were invited to explain how they became successful. Each presenter was impressive, but some audience members began to grow uneasy. The levels of success the presenters described they had experienced seemed to be well beyond the reach of the average person.

The last executive to speak was well known for owning and operating many successful businesses. He began by saying, “I’m going to share with you the 12 biggest mistakes I have made over my career.” The entire audience turned their attention to him. One by one, he listed mistakes in judgment, timing and occasionally getting in over his head in businesses that he didn’t understand. No pretending.

The embellished presentations of success from the first speakers were disheartening. But making mistakes is within anyone’s grasp. We can all do that!

Stop pretending and tell it like it is. Once pretense is dropped, others will be able to depend on you and benefit from your knowledge and experience.

Oh, and happy birthday, Dolly Parton. I love the hair.


Ken Albrecht is president of Reliable Propane in Clarence Center, N.Y.

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