As a leadership coach and as a coaching relationship develops, I become a confidant. Secrets get revealed. As a coach, it's my duty to keep
confidentiality. Many times I learn that the struggle or the skill the client needs to deal with or improve upon is rooted in the secret revealed. Sometimes I can no longer be a coach and become a resource to guide the client to counseling.
'The only reason I am staying at this job and in this
unhappiness is because I am scared and can't
give up health insurance. I am trapped.'
Are you familiar with postsecret.com? It is one of the most visited blogs on the Internet. Every Sunday, PostSecret's Frank Warren, posts secrets people have sent him via postcards.
'I give decaf to people who are rude to me.'
Secrets range from sad, humorous, trivial, shocking to "me too!" I like to visit this blog because it reveals our humanness, vulnerability, and connectedness. Secrets may reveal frailty as well as courage. Reading PostSecrets also draws upon my compassion. It is a reminder to check my judgment and assume positive intent with all I meet.
'I have cancer and no one knows.'
We all have secrets. Our secrets, like our pain, like our grief, are our commonality. Secrets may be part of the baggage we carry on the journey called life.
'My daughter thinks my husband is her father.'
My secret is not your secret, but it may be similar.
'I am afraid to die.'
Secrets don't make us less human, less worthy, but they do create barriers, and they do create unnecessary fear. Secrets are fueled by fear. Just ask yourself, "Why am I keeping this a secret?"
'I don't care about giving up my addiction.'
Lies are secrets. Secrets close doors and build walls. Secrets generate worry and hurt productivity. Secrets may block reality as well as become our reality, our truth.
'My boss is an asshole. He and this company do
not get my best work. Furthermore, if I screw up
a customer's order, I don't care.'
Secrets can be dangerous. Secrets become stories ... first the stories we tell ourselves and believe and then the stories we tell others.
'I am married to woman to show others I am not gay.'
Secrets can build bridges. If I reveal my secret, I share my vulnerability. I model the way for courage. If I share my vulnerability I build a bridge for community. Community is that sacred place we all long to be a part and need.
'I am afraid to say "I love you." The last time I told
someone that I loved them, he left me.'
Robin Williams had a secret. Perhaps the silver lining in William's death is the danger of keeping a secret and that we need to reveal our secret in order to save our lives. Perhaps by revealing our secret, we will reduce our stress, anxiety and live authentically. So ask yourself...
Does my secret torment me?
Is my secret another channel for denial?
If I continue to keep my secret, how will I feel? How will I
If I reveal my secret, how will I feel? Could I be relieved?
Could I be free of pain, guilt and suffering?
Who do I trust to keep my secret confidential?
What is keeping me from revealing my secret?
Want to get more insight on secrets and their danger?
Read Secrets and Lies: The Price We Pay When We Deceive The People We Love © Jane Isay, Doubleday, The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Random House.