The "Awful Truth" Will Set You Free

by Howard Goldman

There is a deeper examination of issues and concerns that reside below the surface of social convention that is often required to move forward in any group endeavor with energy. The awful truth is what you say that clears the air and releases you and others to relate and act with a new sense of freedom. This includes the permission you cede to yourself to fully communicate your considerations.

The following questions are designed to clear your own thought process. They are useful in accessing issues and considerations below the surface in your personal "operating system." Once you can tell the truth to yourself about these embedded concerns, you have a new relationship to these unexpressed issues that frees your self-expression and the conditions that support your success.

Please respond to the following questions if you think they are relevant to your working life. If a particular question does not prompt a response, or raise an issue, move on to the next question.

  • What have you been saying that "hasn't been heard"?
  • What have you been thinking and not saying?
  • What "can't" you say?
  • What is the awful truth about your company?
  • What is the awful truth about your department, or team?
  • What's the awful truth about some of your personal relationships?
  • What is the awful truth about you?

You may be more comfortable responding silently to some of these questions if you don’t want to commit your answers to paper. The valuable part of the exercise is first telling the awful truth to yourself. Then see whether you are willing to communicate to others, in a setting that is appropriate and safe.

One important note - "Why" questions, such as the following, will produce another form of "verbal math" altogether, with consequences that can be counter-productive:

  • Why can’t we?
  • Why do you say that?
  • Why didn’t it happen?

These sort of "Why" questions will usually generate a "because" from your responder. The "because" is almost always unhelpful in discovering the real source of the issue.

You demonstrate courage when you communicate fully and completely. It is an essential step in achieving your most important goals. "Big" people, those who are up to big achievements in their lives are usually willing to share their honest responses to the first set of "awful truth’ questions with others. All parties report a sense of relief at communicating the unsaid, which most other people sensed anyway. The mood always shifts when you tell the truth about what’s happing: you and others can take it, and move forward in a new clearing for accomplishment.





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