I had a revelation and at first was unsure how it related to meaningful connection. Then I realized it had everything to do with meaningful connection.

Think about a time when you held back from sharing something personal with others around you. Perhaps you weren’t hired for that job you applied for. Maybe a close family member was ill. It could be something really positive like your child getting a full scholarship to college.

What held you back from sharing?

I’ve recently experienced a lot of things – both joyful and painful. Some of the items mentioned above apply to me. The common denominator was that I shared it all with at least a few people in my life. In some cases (like auditioning for and not getting a TEDx talk), I told my entire email distribution list.

I wasn’t always as open about things in my life. I write about one of those things in this guest post on One Idea Away titled Broken and Scarred? How to Find Strength and Meaning Again.

Writing that post, and subsequently starting 52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections, is part of my sharing journey. I realized that not sharing things that were important to me made me feel disconnected and lonely.

When I wasn’t sharing, I was suffering.

I’ve gotten feedback that people “like this new me” – the one who is open, honest and shares what’s going on in my life. I’m not sure if the joke is on them or me, because I’ve always been the same person. I’m simply not holding back as much anymore.

What held me back were the beliefs that I would come off as weak, a victim, like I was whining, or in some instances, bragging. Guess what? I’m the only one who could make those things true.

I ask you again – what holds you back from sharing? What would be on your list like the one I wrote above? Write them out. Look hard at the list and ask yourself: how true are these statements? Then ask yourself, what’s worse: having some of those items be true, or never sharing your most vulnerable and proud moments with people who care about you?  

If you haven’t already, seek out people who will help you speak your truth, like I wrote about in Week 16. Perhaps all you need is some encouragement (this post) and someone to ask you the right questions.

How much more connected would you feel to those closest to you – and even those on the periphery – if you shared what you usually hold back?

Many of my clients aren’t sure how to show up fully with those around them. Together, we dig deep and figure out what’s going on. If this sounds like you, send me an email at natalie@smalltownleadership.com – I’d love to help you figure out how to share, so that you don’t suffer. 

52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections is offered by Small Town Leadership. If you would like to see how much progress you can make toward making our big world feel like a smaller place, sign up to receive these articles on a weekly basis.

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Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

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