Secrets ruled my life for decades…and sharing my secret was one of the hardest & best things that I have ever done.
What would you do, if you weren’t afraid? That very question was something, that I wouldn’t have answered 2 years ago, to myself let alone publicly. I believe that we all want to be seen, to be fearless, to live authentically, and yet most of us hide, in big and small ways. Research shows that one of the biggest fears that leaders have, is what others will think of us. So what would you do, if you weren’t afraid? Here’s what I did.
‘My heart is beating out of my chest. If the microphone was on my heart, you’d be able to hear it beating a million miles per minute, because I have a secret, that I’m going to share.
We all have secrets & shame that we carry,
they said earlier that sometimes they’re silly things, sometimes they’re frivolous but I think a lot of us carry secrets that are deeper than that. A lot of us carry secrets that have stigma, and shame, and guilt attached to them, that we bury deep inside.
‘So my secret, 3 little words, so easy to say, and yet the most difficult thing for me… I have Herpes…’
For 18 years, I allowed the shame of that secret to run my life. Not all the time, not consistently, but like a bad smell it would hang around, and rear its ugly head. It wasn’t until after I shared my secret with the world on that TEDx stage, that I really started to understand just how much it had been running the show. It showed up as dysfunctional behavior, self-sabotaging behavior, self-loathing behavior, I was riddled with shame.
Success camouflaged all of my shame & unworthiness. Even when I was in the top 100 of 120,000 sales agents worldwide. It was almost like the success didn’t mean anything, because underneath this was running the show. You see, we don’t get to separate out, our personal life, and our business life. This stuff insidiously infects our self worth, our self esteem, our confidence, the choices that we make and it might start of small, like feeling like you don’t have a voice. Maybe you don’t speak up in the boardroom, maybe you don’t go for that promotion that you wanted, and then it starts to escalate.
Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, and bullying. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen some of that dysfunction show up in the work place. You see, I knew that I had to get ready to speak my truth, but I didn’t know how. I’m not saying that you have to have a company-wide meeting, and share your truth or discuss your secrets to the boardroom, but we have to figure out how we can at least share it with ourself. At least be honest about what those fears are, and what’s driving us.
After I did that TEDx talk, I started getting emails from people asking me, how? “How do I get there too?”
I want to be brave, I want to be courageous, I want to open up about the secrets and shame that are holding me back but I don’t know how.
I started working on a project shortly after that talk, and I learned something that changed the way I think about fear, and pain, and discomfort forever. I worked with a psychotherapist who said to me, “The research shows that when we numb painful emotions, we also numb our joy.” When we numb pain, we numb joy. Now pain is one word for it, another might be discomfort, fear. When we numb this bad stuff, we numb the good stuff. We end up feeling something average and in the middle.
When did it become normal to numb discomfort and pain, and fear, and not be willing to sit in it? To not allow ourselves to be vulnerable as Brene Brown would say. So I had to learn, I had to acknowledge. I had to acknowledge the important role that pain, and fear, and discomfort have in my journey to feeling full joy. I had to acknowledge the important role that they play, and see them as my best friends…
Watch this video for the full keynote speech, spoken at WorldBlu leadership conference, Attended by CEO’s, VP’s & senior leaders from large brands and Fortune 500 organizations.
www.kirstyspraggon.com for more motivational talks from motivational speaker Kirsty Spraggon.