“I have come to believe…that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”
~Audre Lorde

I will often be in a session with a coaching client and they will share with me something that is vitally important to them – to a work relationship, a friendship, their home life. I always ask if they’ve shared with the other people in the relationship under discussion what they’ve shared with me, and I often hear, “No.”

“They wouldn’t understand,” my clients say. “It might make things worse,” I often hear. And my favorite, “Anyway, they should know this already without me having to tell them.”

While all of the above may be true, this approach generally sets us up to fail. When we don’t reveal what we think and feel, when we expect others to somehow miraculously guess, we run a huge risk of not getting what we want. It can be scary to share. We can feel vulnerable and shaky, and we do run the risk of being misunderstood or resisted. However, if we don’t let someone know what matters to us, we cut ourselves, and the relationship, short.

I coach my clients to take the step and open their mouths. We spend time talking through desired outcomes and best ways to share potentially sensitive thoughts. We brainstorm possible reactions they might get, and how best to respond to those. We make lists of why it’s important to share this information in the first place. Then my clients are on their own.

So often they come back to me with great news and stories of positive response. Sometimes the conversation took even more effort and finesse than they thought it would. A few times the reaction they get is worse than they imagined. Even still, they are almost always glad they took the risk and spoke up.

Find one area in which you are not sharing all that you can, and take the risk and speak up.

Where are you keeping back something that you could share? How can you start to share that which is important to you?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in speaking up, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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