What if your secret could change your life?
We’re all hiding a secret – a little something we dread getting out in the big wide world.
Your secret could be disguising itself as a story you play on repeat in your mind, like ‘I’m a failure, I don’t belong here!’. It might be a feeling you can’t shake, like ‘I don’t think that’s fair, I have to speak up’. Or your secret could even be an event you wish had never happened, if only you could turn back time.
Trust me when I say: we all have a secret like this.
What’s your secret? I know you’re thinking about it right now. Say it out loud to yourself in this moment. Admit it. Give it physicality in words not just thoughts. What’s the secret you’re holding on to, hoping no-one will ever find out? Say it…
Here’s mine: I don’t know if I’ve got what it takes to make that leap to the next level.
There I said it! I doubt myself. I’m not sure if I can actually make the leap. Like the leap Neo makes in The Matrix; where he has to give up his understanding of what’s possible for the human body, ‘free his mind’ and leap off the edge of a building across a 100m void to the building opposite. Watch the clip below if you’ve never seen it.
“You got to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt and disbelief.”
Isn’t that true? To get what we want in life, to make our dreams a reality, to change the world we do in fact have to let it all go: fear, doubt and disbelief. We have to attempt the impossible, create the invisible, imagine the unimaginable. Isn’t that what innovation and creativity is? Making what doesn’t exist right now, exist.
Can we really do that when we’re hiding behind a secret? When part of our energy is going into hiding something away. In my experience so far, that leap to the next level doesn’t just take half of you, or the half you’re willing to share. It takes all of you. The good and the bad. Because after all we rarely connect with someone over their effortless successes but their hard won battles in life: it’s what they overcame to get where they are that we pay attention to because it makes a person relatable, real. It shows us what’s possible for us too.
So what’s your secret? What is it you need to overcome, to move through, to face in order to make that leap to the next level? Don’t cheat me now…Say it out loud: “My secret is…”
Is it a fear? A story? An event from the past?
What would happen if people found out?
I used to be so worried what people thought of me and my progress in life but do you know what I’ve learnt…The people who are the quickest to judge have made the smallest progress. I mean if someone were to tell me about a mistake they’d made or a fear they had or something that happened to them that caused them pain and distress I would not judge them. Not at all. I’d commend them for their courage in sharing and help them recognise that they dared to try something in the first place; something that led to failure or made them feel the fear.
I like to do an exercise with my coaching clients. I ask them: “What are you most worried about in your life right now?”. I get them to write out the list. This act alone is strangely calming for a lot of people. I think it has something to do with NLP – neuro linguistic programming. When you get the worry out of your head and into a sentence on a piece of paper, it somehow seems smaller, less personal. It becomes an object that is removed from you.
Once they’ve written out the list, I say to them, “Imagine you only have three months left to live. Your life will literally expire in three months time. What would you immediately stop worrying about right now?”
They’re often able to cross off half the items on the list and, in doing so, realise how insignificant those worries really are in the grand scheme of things. Try it yourself – write out your list. Don’t hold back! Then see how many things you can cross off.
For the other half of the list I say: “Now put the piece of paper on the floor…step in front of it. Now take another step forwards. These worries are a thing of the past. They’re behind you now. You have distance from them. Now, explain to me how you got over, around or through each one.”
We go through each worry or fear or issue and they tell me, in detail, how they removed each one from their lives.
The point? We all have secrets, worries, stories we’re bottling up. By keeping them locked inside, we make them bigger; worse. They start to colour our other thoughts, our words, our actions. The secrets we keep locked inside begin to dictate our lives. They turn into fear, doubt and disbelief. They become part of us but they’re not part of us. They’re just things that happened.
So why do we keep hold of our secrets for so long? Fear of judgement? Fear it will change how people feel about us?
Well what if the judgement was positive? What if the secret changed how someone felt about you for the better? What if your secret was like a bridge that connected your life to the life of someone else. What if your secret had the power to change a life, to change the world?
I’ve had lots of secrets in my past. Like the time I landed myself in £70k of debt. Or the time I was diagnosed with depression. Or the time I realised I was in love with my now partner.
We’re all hiding a secret. Something we’re terrified will come out. Something we want to bury or pretend never happened or doesn’t exist. But it does exist and what’s more: there’s magic in it; power even. When you share your secret, you put yourself out in the world for other people to find you and connect with you, not judge you.
It’s our secrets, not our successes, in life that bind us together. It’s proof we’ve lived. It’s the challenge we needed: the prompt the change. It’s the vulnerability in each of us that makes us human, real, relatable.
So share your secret. Tell your story. Put it all out in the world and allow it to connect you with people you’ve never even met.