One of the more challenging aspects of being in relationship with others is navigating the different truths that exist.

As individuals, we each have a way of seeing and experiencing the world. Your way of looking at things is different than your neighbor’s or mine.

There are certainly some common truths. Most of us can agree about things that are more objective, like the weather. “Raining” or “not raining” is a fairly simple truth that people share if they’re in the same location. But other more personal or subjective truths are tougher for us to navigate.

The problem with different truths is that we aren’t necessarily aware of the truths of others until we stumble upon them. Often, we believe that our truth and the other person’s truth are the same, then are surprised that their truth is so unlike our own—and initially assume they must be wrong. These differences can be as simple as how early to arrive at a friend’s house for dinner to how one experienced the safety of the world as a child.

As a leader, your job is to understand that there are many different truths in the world and your truth is but one of them. Their truth is no more right or less right than your truth, yet each will influence how the other shows up. We often expect work settings to be more objective and yet there are personal truths and subjectivity there all the time as well.

You may be surprised to see how often even members of the same family have dramatically different truths about the family they grew up in. Birth order determines your outlook on lots of things because the family has changed, often significantly, with the addition of each child.

So much of human struggle erupts when, because we use the same words like “clean up after yourself” we assume we share the same truth. All you have to do is look at a kitchen after a kid or co-worker “cleans up after themselves” to see the differences in truths.

This week, spend some time thinking about your truth. What you believe is factual. Start small; for example, watch your assumptions about how you should behave when given a compliment or when asked for help. Then observe how others handle getting a compliment or asking for help. Notice when you seem to have shared truths and where they vary. Understanding other perspectives is an important part of stepping into your leadership. See what you can discover!