We Are Only As Sick As Our Secrets


Speak Truth Through Self-Trust

A client asked me: can I trust the executive team I am on when they ask for my opinion on controversial issues?

There is nothing quick about the answer to this question. It is a layered, nuanced, complex answer depending on many variables: who are the players? is it a culture of connection or disconnection? with what kind of emotional intelligence is the “truth” spoken: tone, words used, style of delivery? About what are they asking?

Telling the so-called truth is further exacerbated by the fact that talented, hard-charging, highly valued, ambitious professionals know stuff. And they want to share their experience and hard-won wisdom with others.

At the end of the day, I want my clients to hone the trust that matters the most: self-trust.

While we are constantly barraged by the buzz-word vulnerability we can also benefit from learning to hit the pause button to carefully consider what to say, when, to whom, and how. Practicing discernment is also a form of courageous vulnerability.

We can speak the truth without opening the whole kimono. We can honor what we know and step carefully. We can protect our emotional and professional well-being by not sharing our heart, strategy, brokenness, and valuable experience with people who don’t share their own truth, might not even be mindful of it, and trash ours.

Practicing discernment is not lying. Or withholding. Or secret-keeping. Know this: there are people who don’t show their hand, are careless with others, and are masters at getting others to talk while they share nothing. Giving these people our story or wisdom for safekeeping is not leadership or vulnerability; it is self-damaging and costly.

At the end of the day, I want my clients to hone the trust that matters the most: self-trust. If we honor our story and value our professional and personal treasure then we will develop trust in ourselves knowing what to tell, to whom, and when.

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Karen Hardwick brings decades of expertise to her work as a trusted advisor and coach to C-level and senior executives, their teams, and organizations.

Karen is known for sharing her own life-stories with clients in order to role-model transparency, foster connection and empathy, and enhance success. She has created a unique model for deepening connection — The Connected Leader™ — which gets to the core of a company and its people with compassion, intuition, and business savvy. Her upcoming book, The Connected Leader, is filled with her powerful voice and inspires others to lead with emotional wholeness, spiritual strength, and mental well-being in order to become their best selves and help others do the same.

Karen lives in Atlanta with her husband, Greg, and their 17-year-old son, Matthew, where she can be found around the table with friends and family eating nourishing, home-cooked meals and sharing stories. She is the biggest contributor to the family ‘swear jar,’ despite her daily practice of meditation and prayer. And above all, Karen believes that living a life of connection is courageous; a sacred calling that requires all we’ve got.

Karen J. Hardwick, M.Div., MSW


The Power of Connection

Karen is currently writing a book about how the power of connection can transform leaders into catalysts, groups into teams, and businesses into places where people lean in to courage, clarity, and compassion.

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