Okay. I’ll admit that there are some secrets that drive our business and result in competitive advantages. Things like “Secret Formulas” and “Secret Recipes” and “Secret Sauce” are a part of our corporate heritage, and they not only protect our intellectual property but create intrigue for our customers.
Those are healthy and beneficial secrets, Most secrets are not.
Growing up, I remember my mother telling me, “You don’t have to tell everything you know.” It was following an incident wherein I was sharing a story with my grandparents about an argument I had witnessed between my mother and my biological father. They had some doozies, man! Theirs was a heated and very unhappy marriage from the onset. He was abusive, and she kept that a secret from the rest of our extended family.
That wasn’t all. After my parents’ divorce, there were scores of secrets that whispered around our family, and it created a culture of secrecy that turned out to be poison. The absence of honesty permeated nearly every relationship we shared and extended to relationships that we had individually outside our family. This was not good.
There are lots of different types of families, to include work families and church families, and they can all suffer from the ill effects of secrets. If coworkers are in pursuit of ulterior motives, it can severely damage morale and productivity. Secrets can break down trust and make people defensive instead of cohesive. Secrets within our most intimate relationships create barriers and disallow intimacy. Teamwork requires openness and safe vulnerability.
The opposite of secrets is honesty and living our truth. I had a conversation with a really good friend recently about the value in sharing her truth. She had hurt feelings from someone she cares very much for and hadn’t shared that with them. Silently suffering was harming her and benefitting no one. My suggestion was that she share her truth with that person and allow them both to grow from the resulting dialogue. It’s true that we cannot fix that which we do not know is broken. Lamenting brokenness without working to repair relationships is futile.
We cannot change what is in the past. We can only commit ourselves to making different choices moving forward from this precise moment. If there are secrets that are keeping you from realizing your best potential, it’s time to clear the air. It’s time to make different choices and speak your truth. When we live honestly, we live without fear. We live fully, and we deserve the good things that come from a full life.
Secrets have power, and it’s not the super-hero-secret-identity kind of power. It’s the shame-inducing, progress-inhibiting, self-destructive kind of power that keeps us from being our best selves.
Let’s put our secrets out to pasture and live honestly. Tomorrow Begins Today.