I listened to an interview with Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn who is on the circuit promoting her new book. She freely discussed her failures, injuries, and challenges with depression but when it came to commenting on her relationship with Tiger Woods or more current beaus, she politely demurred. Lindsey smiled but firmly said that she believes there should be a boundary between her personal and professional life and her dating partners were something she did not feel were in the scope of the interview or even to be discussed in her book. Smile again and sit silently.
I admired her for what she did not say as much as I did for anything else in the interview. It would make juicy fodder for her book and her promotion of it, but Vonn chose to keep private matters private — something that I’ll guess is challenging to do in this era of social media and the quest to receive coverage. She didn’t make a big deal out of it, but it was clear she was not going to respond further.
All of us could take a lesson from her and make a conscious choice not to capitalize on every opportunity to garner attention or even to answer every question that is asked. Whether about personal or organizational matters, know where your line is and stick to it. Your most powerful communication may simply be a quiet smile.