What I mean by this is saying the thing that you want to say, but it’s kind of stuck in your throat. And it’s something you wish you could say, but for some reason, it feels like you physically can’t say it.
Some people think I mean vomiting up all of your nastiness. Or just going around complaining about how life isn’t fair to you. Or just having turrets and annihilating everyone around you.
That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s not meant to be harmful, hurtful, nasty or negative. It’s meant to free you from your internal monologue and help you create a generative, powerful life.
Here’s an example for me from today.
Tammy (not her real name) and I had an agreement for work. If she wrote $50,000 of business, I would give her $3000. It helped her stay motivated, and it helped me hit my quota. I get a bonus for hitting my quota and without her, I probably would not have made it, so it was a good deal for both of us.
We had a great quarter. We both went way past our numbers. So what’s the problem?
We never discussed what happened when she went over the original $50,000. She kept mentioning how I would pay her more since she did more, but it wasn’t part of the agreement. Every time she mentioned it, I got stressed. But I didn’t speak up.
I was afraid to talk about it. (Hence this was something I couldn’t say). Weeks have gone by. In talking to my coach, I realized how nervous this was making me. I didn’t want Tammy to get mad, resent me, badmouth me, or throw me under the bus, so I just stayed quiet when she brought it up.
Today I decided to SAY SOMETHING. I texted her that I had a question.
She called immediately.
“We never discussed what would happen when you went over the original $50,000. I get nervous every time you mention it and just wanted to know what number you were thinking of.”
“You’re right. We didn’t.”
We went back and forth, tossing out numbers. Eventually I realized that she had assumed that for every $25,000 she wrote she would get another $1500. And, she did more than another $25,000. So, her number was $5000.
My number had been more like $4000. And, and unless I 1099 her, she’s getting tax-free money that I’ve paid taxes on.
We agreed to wait until we see what my bonus actually is. Then we will revisit the number.
While I don’t like paying her $5000, it’s an investment. She may be on my team this year, and I have to decide if it’s worth an extra $500 or $1000 to keep her happy, staying positive and being a team player.
But I ALSO want to make sure that I am not losing out on the deal. I will work out the tax implications and tell her it’s this much if I 1099 her and this much if I don’t. Again, I’m a little afraid to stand up for myself, but it’s just another example of where I’m afraid to speak up (“say what can’t be said.)”
In order to have a win/win, we both have to be happy and free of resentment. We are going to continue to work this out. I don’t want her to feel ripped-off, but I also don’t want to feel like a sucker that is stupid and taken advantage of.
So, that’s my example of saying what can’t be said. It was getting into dialogue instead of monologue. Speaking up even though I was afraid Tammy would get upset. Saying something even if I thought “I can’t say that.”
“As long as we are not making the other person wrong, we can say anything.” That’s a direct quote from Helen Gilhooly, one of my newly favorite people. (I was mad at her for about 19 years – finally got to really tell her what was going on and she finally understood what had happened in 1996 and apologized. Long story but I’m glad it’s behind us).
What can you say that you are afraid to say? Where do you have resentment for someone and if you look, it’s because YOU didn’t speak up?
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
Keep sharing yourself. It’s the path to freedom.