Why I Lied, Why I'm Telling You, and What I Learned

Last week I lied to you. I lied because I wanted to look good and because I wanted more people to sign up for my Artist’s Way group. I wanted you to think that I am more successful than I actually am.

I sent an email that employed a marketing technique designed to create urgency by using the principal of "scarcity." I used the subject line: "Only 2 spots left in the Artist's Way," when, actually, there were more spots available.

It's just marketing. Everybody does it.

That's what I told myself.

Until a good friend sent an email, excited and congratulatory that my group was nearly full, and I realized what a mistake I’d made: I misled anyone who read the email. I mean, I lied.

I hate marketing that’s sleazy; yet, that’s exactly what I’d done. Because I wanted to look good. wanted people to buy my stuff. I wanted to be liked—or at least for it to look like I'm liked. Sigh.

Why am I telling you?

One, it was wrong to lie. I made an error in judgment with the email subject line, and that’s one kind of mistake—but not telling you would be a deeper violation of my integrity.

Second, I am committed to personal growth and I want to be free. In order to be free, I’ve got to be honest. I don’t want to carry this around and feel guilty every time I write a subject line. It’s a dumb mistake and I won’t do it again, but I can’t be free of it until I clean it up.

I cringe when I do stuff like this, and I realize I’m doing it anytime I’m trying to look good to others or when I’m following someone else’s rules. I did what you’re “supposed” to do in marketing—create a sense of urgency—but that’s not how I want to live, how I want to market or what I want to stand for.

Third, and this is the sticky lesson: It’s better for me to live in the world knowing how to clean up my mistakes than to continue to think I can somehow avoid them – if only I worked harder or were a better person. That’s the real poison: thinking that I can avoid being human. (I know! Crazy!)

I’m writing this for anyone who:

  • Tries to make things look better than they are with little "white lies";

  • Expends enormous effort trying to never say or do anything wrong so that they never have anything to clean up;

  • Secretly believes that they aren’t like other people; if they tried harder, things like "being human" wouldn’t happen.

You don't have to live this way. It's exhausting. Believe me, I know. It’s how I’ve been trying to live and it doesn’t work.

P.S. By the way, it didn’t work, anyway. No one else signed up (just desserts, right?).

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