We use a strategic thinking exercise with clients to identify potential weaknesses that require fixing or contingency plans. One question asks an individual or small group to share the organization’s hidden secrets; these are the truths that nobody in the organization wants to let slip out to its important audiences.

I was thinking about this strategic thinking exercise and how this question applies to individuals in business.

All of us have secrets. These are the things we KNOW we aren't good at, that make us uncomfortable, or that we simply avoid with everything we've got. Maybe we try to tackle them and improve. I'm guessing, though, that many of us expend considerable energy trying to avoid these hidden secrets. Maybe that means eliminating them from our work life. Some may make excuses to avoid them should they potentially surface. Perhaps, we feel ashamed knowing we had an opportunity to try and learn in these areas, but decided to sit out the challenge, boosting the anxiety we already (and continue to) feel.

When you're in a strong mental state, when you're feeling good about yourself, maybe you should personalize and address the question in our strategic thinking exercise: What are the hidden secrets in your career?

Nobody has to see the list but you.

Be honest. Write them ALL down. Then pick one - just ONE - that you can begin to confront with energy. One where can you start to turn the truth from a hidden secret into a newfound capability or attitude.

How exciting would it be to move it from the secret column into the strength or confidence column?

I just worked on one of those hidden career secrets and made real progress in moving it toward confidence. Trust me. It was great! – Mike Brown

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