I’m by no means an expert, but here’s what I try to do in my life, writing and speaking. These guidelines have helped me find the line I think I need to find, and I hope they can help you.
1. Process your current issues privately.
All of us have current struggles. Whether it’s headline news or not (most of our struggles aren’t), it’s so key to have a close circle of people to process them with.
For me, I share these things with my spouse, a few close friends, team, elders, mentors and, as needed, counselors to work through my current issues. And, naturally, I’m consulting scripture and praying through them as well. That’s appropriate.
You usually don’t need to talk about these issues publicly; but you do need to talk about them. That someone (appropriate) knows about them and is helping you is key.
Just because somebody needs to know about them doesn’t mean everybody needs to know about them. Discretion and transparency are not a contradiction at all. Telling the right people is often the difference between success and failure in ministry and leadership.
Anecdotally, I suspect the people who have never cultivated an inner circle with whom to process life are the people who tell everybody their problems. I wish they had an inner circle. Here are three keys to developing one.
2. Share publicly what you’ve processed privately.
Once an issue is dealt with or mostly dealt with, it’s far more appropriate to share publicly. You never want to give off the “I used to struggle with this but now I have no issues” vibe, but if you haven’t figured out how to deal with a problem, how can you help others deal with it?
I make it a rule to share publicly what I’ve processed privately.
Interestingly enough, I’m never short of material. Bet you won’t be either.
3. Share what will help the listener, not you.
If you can’t be helpful, you’re probably not ready to talk about it.
I find often that the speakers or writers who overshare are people who are processing something for their benefit, not for the benefit of their audience.
The only time that’s ever helpful is when you’re part of that person’s inner circle. Otherwise, it leaves you feeling like a stranger just shared far too much and you leave confused.
If you can’t help your audience with a subject, come to a full stop. There are probably issues you need to deal with. There are probably conversations you still need to have.
One day, God might use that to help many. But that day probably isn’t today.
What have you seen work or not work when it comes to transparency?
What guidelines have you developed? Leave a comment.