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How do we lie honestly? Stating opinion as fact, misremembering things, detail avoidance and more are all of the ways we lie without intending to deceive. Confabulation is the fancy word for it. In psychological terms, it is often associated with memory disorders and a variety of conditions. Brene Brown talks about confabulation in Dare to Lead using examples like stating opinions as facts, leaving out salient details to make the storyteller more appealing, and ‘spinning’ information to not be the bearer of bad news. 

In a relationship, confabulation can have many impacts. But eroding trust is something to watch for on working teams. Listen as JoyGenea and Michelle tell the truth about all of the daily lies we tell ourselves and others. 



0:24 What is Confabulation?

1:05 Definition of Confabulation

3:26 Emotions sends message to brain to fabricate reasons

4:38 Must practice effective communication

7:04 How to teach your someone to say something directly 

7:42 Telling actual and confirmed information is ethically right  

8:24 Sharing accurate information helps decision making fast and saves you a lot of time and energy

10:26 Straight and honest conversation is refreshing

12:03 Guiding your staffs toward positive responses no matter what kind of client they are facing

13:21 Do not allow frustrations to taint working relationships with clients

14:11 Confabulation is misleading information 

17:45 Observe and do self introspection 

18:21 Acknowledge and reward bold truth facts







Welcome everybody to If These Heels Could Talk. My name is Michele with Bad Cat Digital and this is JoyGenea with Solutions by JoyGenea. And today we’re talking about confabulation.  Do you know what that means?  Gazuntite.


0:24 What is Confabulation?

Yesterday, JoyGenea just sent me a picture of a page from Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead. Yes, that was last month’s book of the month. It was great. On page 261 if you’re like me, I’ve got this book and where did you find it? It’s okay and it says confabulation is really great and a subtle definition and she goes into explaining that the confabulation definition is a lie told honestly. Okay.


1:05 Definition of Confabulation

That we believe to be true okay so I of course being the doors and I am that the only Wiki. On I look who’s up in the week he’s so fabulous crowd source that is Wikipedia and they define confabulation is a psychological term memory error defined as a production of fabricated distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself for the world and I started like really into this and I started thinking well this is who do this this is obviously some sort of like cuz I was reading the Wikipedia article and it’s talking about all of the different you know illnesses or condition in tabulation is a symptom yes spray it talk about things like Alzheimer’s and things like right but what struck me about the difference between the Wikipedia psychological definition. Browse definition for name Brown talks about it and everyday life something that everybody does and It’s absolutely true that everybody.



Absolutely and I think the number one person we liked, you and I said it before is ourselves. It is.So the example that she gives. She gives two examples of one example is people who are asked to select from among I don’t know six pairs of socks or something and every single person who picked a pair of socks kids asked why did you pick that particular pair and every single one has some sort of story it reminded me of this or the it was softer or silky ear or the thread count or blah blah blah blah blah whatever man whatever else matters to them the thing is that all of the socks were identical.



But not one person said I don’t know I just picked I just picked you told me to take a sack I picked to suck but that’s exactly what it was right we all have to make up and in what I like in this to is when and a lot of times people think that they make rational decisions about the things that they’re going to buy but when we want something or we see something that we want we.


3:26 Emotions sends message to brain to fabricate reasons

It’s like a it’s like our emotions wanted but our brain needs to rationalize why we want it and so we come up with all of these reasons we’re friends analyze the same thing happens I watch the same thing happened when I just want something done in a particular way and I’m trying to communicate that to somebody and it’s not enough for me to just stay that’s how I want it will you please do it that way and why isn’t it like I don’t know if that’s what happens if what happens if I just say I don’t know why I wanted that way it’s the way it makes sense to me and it’s how I want it done could you please do it that way.



But instead we make up all of these things about why we want it that way which are increasingly stupid oh yes and here in the great Midwest or Minnesota nice rain you will also hear this happen when somebody gets asked to do something they don’t want to do and they come up with all these dumb reasons why they can’t do it. Yes. You know like you ask somebody to go to something and all of a sudden they’re like shampooing their Grandma’s cat’s yes dolls and avocado peel that’s a drawing and so all of these dumb reasons what it they just can’t say I don’t want to.


4:38 Must practice effective communication

It is okay and it’s okay that they don’t want to. So that’s what Britney Brown was talking about when she talks about confabulation. I also, it was great we had a local club meeting and I came up with another scenario where we totally use confabulation. Not meaning to way but I think I really need to grasp that and that is in communication with our clients or totally or in the halo effect in a meeting with the boss.



Whatever. That table is telling the boss what they ,what the boss wants to hear. Right and not what the boss needs to know.



I thought about this. You know it’s so funny because I was watching for some random reason. I evidently wanted this feeling on Sunday and I was watching Saving Private Ryan off the movie if you haven’t seen it occur to you that just realized that all of those movies that I love from the late 90s and early 2000s young people who have never heard of her haven’t seen but anyway. But I was watching Saving Private Ryan and there’s this moment at the beginning you know the beginning when they’re storming the beach and they have to call in to command and tell them go to give them the status and which is holy heck there’s no good news they’re simply saying this is the status of the thing I was thinking of that in the context of a modern workplace nobody would do that right would not just say this is the status of the project and the status of the project is nowhere okay then the status of the project is nowhere right instead try to kind of like make it seem better than it is. Right, and we don’t have this and we don’t have that.



And everybody wants the information because I didn’t see the information we can take the next step so they can’t. They can’t confabulate. They have to in that life or death situation they have to say that the bold fact and nobody who’s reported what is happening is thinking.



Well then this means that my commander is going to think that I failed because we didn’t take the beach no thinking that because they are small pieces of a large planet can see that and they’re in the middle of a war like it is what it is what it is but you told us to do something we went and did it it didn’t have the impact any of us wanted here is what’s happening and that.


7:04 How to teach your someone to say something directly 

Without that kind of concept to me was so interesting it’s almost in that happened from a leadership perspective it was refreshing I’m looking at that face I’m like oh she liked the idea that I’d really like to do that I just want this isn’t a blame thing we help our staff understand it’s not a blame thing how do you know how do we help people step into that because I think so often I called somebody on it yesterday we were in a meeting and somebody halo the boss.



I think you told him what you think he wants to hear. And I said okay but I said I’m pretty sure he was going to make a bunch of decisions out of that. 


7:42 Telling actual and confirmed information is ethically right  

Let’s do a do-over on that. Like let’s pretend you didn’t say that. And hit us with the truth bomb on this one. And they were like okay,so the truth is, this is delayed. We can’t get a hold of, this subcontractor went down with covid and so we’re behind. And so I’m like, okay knowing that, what do you think the new expectation date is. Realistically, he threw out a number. Truly stared at the poor man. He goes right. I need two more weeks. He added that on and then I’m like okay now he can make decisions. And like I would have made decisions of what you said and everybody was sitting it was there were enough people everyone sitting there I could tell,


8:24 Sharing accurate information helps decision making fast and saves you a lot of time and energy

Oh it’s okay like that’s what that might that’s what that might feel like and it is and what it might feel like it’s just us working together to come to something it’s not a blame thing it’s on her performance thing it’s not a it’s a just I need the information thing and I need accurate information cuz I’m going to make a bunch more decisions on what this year’s here’s what I think I think this has a severe impact on teamwork I think it has a severe impact on collaboration and I think it unknowingly unwittingly and without intending to set up an adversarial relationship between the person providing information and the person needs the information and what a waste of time and energy again what a waste of energy downed it just slows everything down so right before the new year like a literally New Year’s Eve.



One heck of a digital disaster hijacked website couldn’t find domain name like oh my gosh the whole nine yards that’s like you only have two more days before they show my gosh the whole thing for the holidays can’t get ahold of anybody and so I could just hear all this panic and I don’t know what it was but in the moment I’m like you’re just going to be my Hail Mary thing at the end of the year like I am going to give you an hour I told him that I said I got to make dinner in 1 hour to like get this all on the table.



And what was really refreshing is because. I had no skin in the game but understood his frustration. It was really being apathetic to him. I wasted no time with confabulation with him like none. I’m like oh wow, you screwed this up really bad, 



yeah and when he gave me a hotmail email address I said are you using this for your business he goes yeah and i’m like that ends in 2021 if that is not moving forward, you need an official email nobody has the courage to tell me that. And I said well, you’re talking to me and you already gave me your credit card you’re paying me cuz I’m not even you know we didn’t even move forward from that point and I was like.  Having a conversation without any of them.


10:26 Straight and honest conversation is refreshing

It was really like it was very busy,  super refreshing, really refreshing it was a great way to end this year.  Literally an hour and a half we fixed most of his problems. That’s okay and now moving forward is going to happen and I’ve just I’ve been able to continue that type of conversation it’s been really refreshing yeah and if it’s uncomfortable for people we can either work through it or we’re not moving forward we have a new client that is intensive is a lot of work we knew I knew moving into the client that the work was going to be about 60% administrative at least at the beginning.



That the administrative part of the work would reduce overtime and then that it was going to take. A great deal of planning in order to execute what we needed to execute for this client the team I told them that over and over again you know. Told them what to expect.



They’re not, they hadn’t experienced it before so this is a new, so. After our meeting this week. We get off the we get off the meeting and they’re super frustrated and they’re frustrated because of clients are you know they’re talking about the decisions they need to make they’re not making the decisions and they’re not moving okay fine yes and and the team is really trying to push them like there’s a difference between driving and being annoying yep you can drive the bus direct to the bus without.


12:03 Guiding your staffs toward positive responses no matter what kind of client they are facing

Telling them that they’re stupid and kicking them off the bus no shame blame no shame blame no none of it and first of all nobody on my team would ever tell somebody that they’re stupid  and kick them off the bus. absolutely not but they do it with actions and behavior and tone of voice, and putting things on the agenda that people aren’t that’s a shame thing.  just had to tread lightly in some of these scenarios and there’s a difference between driving and pushing and they’re learning that the fine arts of the difference between driving and pushing and I stayed on a previous call to check in with the head of the clients team and say how’s this going for you but this is great we’re you know where we’re good spot we’re getting this work flow down this is really really good this is you know all of this prep work and I said I’m with you I hear you all this prep work is going to pay off in the end it’s what we always want to do we always want to do a ton of prep work. Yeah we don’t usually have the luxury of doing it.



And so when we get off some of the meeting and everyone is frustrated I reminded them that clients that are super deliberate clients that are thoughtful about the decisions they make plans that are you know.


13:21 Do not allow frustrations to taint working relationships with clients

They’re going to move things forward but they’re also going to do so carefully and intentionally and they’re going to articulate every expectation along the way and I said that’s what this looks like yes this is what that is so if you keep asking for it this is what you’re asking for in addition to that. This was my expectation walking in. We are not in a bad spot, we’re in a good spot for doing good. The only way we’re going to get into a bad spot is if your frustration allows you to create this adversarial relationship and it cannot know this is a contract until something.

Take a breath and not create that and so when I think about this confabulation and kind of trying to like.



Again there’s a difference between driving and pushing trying to direct somebody only to see what you want them to see is pushing.


14:11 Confabulation is misleading information 

Saying hear all the facts and this is what I think about them is driving but you have to state all of the facts not just the ones that support what you want misleading without misleading information that’s that’s giving information and we see this all the time right now this is the this is what we see in the media when people talk about the lies and when people talk about you do gaslighting in the media when they talk about all of this when they talk about gas lighting in general it’s confabulation it’s not providing all of the information it’s directing people to only the things that fill one person’s goals and that’s it’s super dangerous is super dangerous personally and interpersonal relationships but in a workplace it’s really toxic it’s not healthy so another way that we do this I’m talking about before it was to ourselves yes and that that appears.



So I have this weekly health check and call. That’s why I want to find the nutritional sure I would did that with a couple of girlfriends are never would have stuck with it anyways, teamwork and we all are aware of and check in about what we’re supposed to be like literally what our leader. Identify it throughout the year.



How we morph that fact that we share with two other people. How we more fit in our head into a whole new life.



Like two weeks later I’ll call some people call me out and I’m like well you were supposed to start taking this particular supplement have you started taking it well no ‘cause I did a little research and dig up some more and then it has one side effect and I’m just not sure and I’m like to know why you were supposed to take that supplement oh yeah because I need you to look at your sheet again like we really have to call each other on that level she’d be like oh that’s not even what it’s for I typed in the wrong thing.



That’s not even what I’m supposed to take. I’m actually it’s b o o my gosh I’m amazed like I am and how much we deceive ourselves we were told a story in a specific way so many times that you think it’s the truth. Absolutely this happens a lot in business. You know we hear about our business story right like you have to be able to tell the story of your business.



You know it’s not going to be a lie but it’s going to be an elevator pitch version of the truth that leaves out all of the crying in the shower right now and all them and all are missteps and all the doubts and all of the fears and all of that and you know it’s going to be a positive spin yes on this story.



And then you tell it over and over and over and over again and all kinds of different ways yes.

And then you start to think that is the true story. But it’s not but it’s not it’s not and that’s it it’s really as dangerous when you start to buy it you’ll make decisions based on your, when my grammy says it’s dangerous when you buy your own bull-hunky. call hunky monkey..

If you say it faster maybe and then country it probably is.


17:45 Observe and do self introspection 

We really want you to start to take this opportunity now that you’ve learned about confabulation start to notice it in yourself in yourself my friends that way but also if you’re in a role of leadership start to identify it and do start to call it out in polite appropriate way because it’s the difference of surrounding yourself with yes people and surround yourself with people and still supporting understanding and you know.


18:21 Acknowledge and reward bold truth facts

Acknowledging and I would say rewarding somehow the truth of situations. Bold face facts like the guys over the story about why that becomes incredibly important and this is an incredibly important conversation I have I would say especially in the leadership team because I think that people are prone to confabulation when they’re feeling anxious when they’re feeling threatened when they’re feeling insecure.



When they feel like they’ve let you down as it right because that’s just the nature of high performers over and over and over in a bunch of different ways to draw their life so this is what they do and they don’t even know that they’re doing it so it’s up to you to understand when you’re doing it so then you can point it out in yourself and then model differ behavior for them.



Use up all my whole beautiful said for the day, everything else I will stumble over. Passing on to you some information getting you thinking about some new things and hopefully inspiring you in just a little way and I have a feeling that in six months we’re going to listen back on this like I think I can try to be later than that yeah we both have a great rest of your week.