The Truth Test: Staying True to Your Ethics


Sometimes the hardest person to stand up to, is yourself. As a small business owner, there most often is no other option. With no manager to keep you in check, no HR department to run a question by, and no corporate attorney to question your methods, most days the only person you have is yourself. You get to play good cop (Woo! We beat our sales goal – high five). But, you also get to play bad cop (who the heck made that decision? Oh wait … me). And when it comes to acting ethically, it feels most important to be pulling out that bad cop hat at times, and to always be questioning yourself. To always ask yourself, am I doing the right thing – for my company? For my environment? For me?

Earlier this year I was faced with not only standing up to myself, but to also completing a really deep, soul searching dive into what it meant to me to run a small business. What was most important? What exactly was the point?

Earlier in the year my husband and I had committed to running Print Therapy in accordance with what we had dubbed our “Truth” – living our life, and running our business, in total alignment with our values, morals, and dreams. Now, it’s easy to get on your pedestal and shout this from the rooftop. Look at how amazing we are! Living our Truth! It feels so good! Of course, it’s easy to live your Truth when it’s never questioned. When the choices are easy. When you don’t have to choose between what feels like a business loss versus an ethical gain.

Just several days into 2014, my Truth was challenged. My very own decisions, that I and I alone made, resulted in some consequences that made me realize just how far off I had sometimes been from my Truth. Even worse, it took an outside source to remind me of that – we had used a quote without permission, and the author had found it, and then very nicely requested we take our work down. At the start of the year, we made a commitment to go forward with our Truth. What I didn’t realize, yet should have known, is that to go forward with a life that feels good, and is good to you, you often have to go backwards, as your pieces of your past can’t help but travel with you. So we did just that. We righted our wrongs. We apologized. We admitted our shortcomings. And most importantly, we learned our lesson, and then forgave ourselves.

Doing the right thing can be hard. It can be unequivocally challenging. Having to chose between two paths can sometimes make you question how strong you are. How committed you are. How sure you are of your abilities. But I will tell you this. You will never regret doing the right thing. Even if it’s hard. Even if it’s challenging. And you will never, ever regret facing your mistakes, acknowledging your fears, and, on your second chance at making the right choice, following your Truth.

Meet Melissa

A project manager by day, and a small business owner by nights (and weekends!), Melissa is the creative force behind Print Therapy, a husband and wife run stationery business. Living in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, with her husband Nick and their puppy love Sawyer, she finds nothing to be more happiness-inspiring than a snuggly blanket cuddle fest, a bowl of ice cream, and a perfectly crafted Excel spreadsheet.