Hello SOTGC Community,
What’s your deepest, darkest secret? What do you want to keep hidden? Is there something in your past that, if your co-workers knew, would terrify you? We all have our secrets. But surprisingly, your story may be more common than you think. If you were honest about your adversity with your co-workers, how could this change your relationships?
About a year ago, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting that changed my life. The women attending the meeting were asked to “share their leadership story”: a time in their lives which, though painful, made them the person they are today. A prime example would be Oprah’s discussion of how she was sexually abused as a child and how she used that experience to teach other people.
I was terrified.
We formed small groups of five people, and though I am not a crier (I don’t even cry at weddings or funerals), the tears started rolling. The women bravely talked about abuse, neglect, and instances when they had broken their own moral code. They talked about their families: how their childhood issues and problems had shaped the person they are today. I sat in awe of these beautiful, strong women. When it was my turn, I panicked. I quickly spoke about something that was not my leadership story. I immediately regretted it. You see, even in that moment I could not bring myself to trust these remarkable, strong women.
In the coming months, I looked at these women in a different way. I saw them as real people, who have faced true issues. I slowly began to trust them, and I wondered what it would be like if everyone knew me like I knew these ladies. I decided that if the opportunity arose, I would share my leadership story. My story came up naturally in a conversation with a co-worker when we were talking about a customer he didn’t think could change his ways. I told him about my family’s issues with alcoholism during my childhood and how that affected me. I told him that they were now recovered. The experience made me believe in second chances and the human spirit’s propensity to transform. My co-worker was so glad that I shared my story, and our work relationship is filled with trust now that he knows my background.
If you desire a more fulfilling work experience, imagine what your life would be like if people knew you at your core? How freeing would it be not to hide your adversity, but to embrace and share it? And be respected for it? …Try it first with someone you trust, then watch yourself and your co-workers as you grow.
If you’re starting the path to turn the adversity you face into an advantage check out Marney’s speaking engagement she did last week for Femfessionals in San Diego: How To Turn Adversity Into Advantage and how SOTGC was created from adversity.