True Up

The definition of ‘true up’ is to make level, square, or balanced with the help of an adjustment. To certify what was formerly an estimate. To reconcile any skewed perception. In accounting, this type of journal entry is called ‘true-up entry.’

Lately, this term has become common and significant for me as my new company is re-evaluating our pricing and monetization structure. Truing up with a major client once a quarter is more effective than an overabundance of smaller invoices that each take time and effort to process; sometimes interrupting the workflow that produces results.

During high school I was hired as extra help as part of a department store’s inventory reconciliation team. I would come in twice a year on a Sunday morning at 6AM and do a wall-to-wall physical inventory. That count would be compared against the store’s general ledger and then they would true-up with an inventory adjustment.

When I first bought my house, I had several home-improvement projects with my Dad. We built a deck and finished the basement. I learned from him the art of truing up and the ‘3-4-5 method’ for squaring corners. Being true in construction means being level, plumb, and squared.

True up is different than a correction. Leap Day is a ‘true up.’ We know in advance we will do a true up. A correction is usually an unexpected/unplanned change. A great way to overcome disappointment is truing up. It is an adjustment. Don’t throw out the whole relationship or start completely over, reconcile the differences at that moment. Knowing in advance we will never be perfect nor will those around us, allows us the opportunity to adjust without a disappointment.

In bicycling there is the expression “true your wheels.” It is the same bike, just that we’ve taken all the little distortions out of the tires and balanced the tension from all the spokes to make the wheel perfectly straight and round in relation to the hub. The bike rides like new, is safer, and will perform better. A wheel not true may wobble or rub on the brakes unevenly, potentially leading to a crash or at best will cause greater degradation of the tire.

In doing research for this blog post, I learned of ‘True Up Louisville,’ a collaborative movement by non-profit agencies in Metro Louisville. Their mission is to empower young people in foster care to gain the critical life skills they need to make a successful transition from a structured environment to self-sufficiency in our communities. Truing up from agency care to independent living.

In society we need to true up our news sources. Much of the news media on both sides is biased. Many of us rely on sound bites and social media. Sound bites and click bait are meant to grab our attention and create a perception. We need to verify any distorted opinion. In the same manner we must true up ourselves, our relationships, our life circumstances. Being self-aware to continually navigate and align ourselves to who we desire to be. Like solid construction, taking the time to level, plumb and square will produce a stronger foundation, better able to stand the tests of time.

One way is to align and reconcile our professional aspirations with our personal foundation and not the other way around.  A basic principle to truing up is having one side as the base (in this case, personal) and only adjusting the other side (professional) as opposed to continuously adjusting both sides. “This above all: to thine own self be true,” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act I, Scene III.

Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, in a college commencement address instructed the students to “True up your compass to God’s word and watch the exciting things that will happen.” Cathy emphasized how irresponsible it is to elevate the busyness of today’s fast paced world over the importance God’s Word. Cathy pointed to his Bible and said: “This is about what it means to honor God by closing your business on Sunday. This is where we learn second mile service. Jesus had a lot to say to businesspeople about how we should take care of customers. If you really want to break out of the pack and have sustained competitive advantage, lead from the perspective of the timeless truths of God’s word. It’s as revolutionary today as it ever was 2,000 years ago.”

Our greatest regrets can come from living life to an untrue standard. To be aligned on our journey, we must fight that our path stays straight and true. Psalms 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to walk by, and a light to illumine my path.”

Psalm 51 is one of the seven Penitential Psalms. It is a prayer for the removal of the personal and social disorders that sin has brought. The truing up of the soul by asking deliverance from the act of sin and its emotional, physical, and social consequences. The psalmist seeks more than wiping the slate clean, but a nearness to God.

We will never be perfect. A Christian life gives us Prayer and Reconciliation as incredible opportunities to true up our walk. We can reconcile our differences at any moment. God’s grace can set straight our journey. We do not have to start over. A wheel true takes minutes, an inventory adjustment is two mornings a year, truing up with my key customers will be just four meetings over the course of a year – prayer can be minutes a day to keep a straight line and be true to our destination.

Let’s use grace to be true. We will have less degradation and crashes, plus better stand the tests of time.

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