A woman told me about her frustration in a relationship she’d hoped would lead to marriage. As we spoke and talked through options for getting the relationship to a better place, I sensed there was something she wasn’t saying – something that would shift our conversation and help her break through to the answers she needed to move forward. So I told her just that.

“I feel like there’s something you’re not saying. Is there?” I asked

She paused. She sighed. She lowered her head and said softly, “Yeah, I’m just so disappointed. As much as I want this to work because I want to be married and I’m tired of dating, in my gut, I just feel like something is missing. I’m willing to give everything, but truth be told, he’s not. And I want a totally reciprocal relationship. This isn’t.”

It was a powerful moment. And it took a lot of courage for her to admit it. But it was courage that led her to the disappointing realization that it was time to move on. The pivotal moment came when she acknowledged what she suppressed, out of fear of what the truth would mean. There is a message in her situation that might just apply to you, too.

Think for a moment about a dilemma in which you find yourself unable to find a solution – but if you were really honest, you’d admit the inconvenient truth you haven’t given yourself permission to say. The thing you’re not saying could be the key to unlock your breakthrough.

There’s a powerful question I’ve used with coaching clients over the years – and we teach it to our coaching students at the CaPP Institute. It’s the question to ask when a person seems to be stuck, yet as a coach, you sense there is something they are leaving out of the conversation. And that something could be the most important clue to the next right step. The question is this:

What are you not saying?

Maybe the truth is, the opportunity in front of you is nice, but your priorities have changed and the passion is gone. Perhaps someone is doing something you don’t like, but you don’t want to ruffle features so you pretend you’re OK with it. Whatever it is, if you are beating around the bush, avoiding the truth, or have an uneasy feeling you haven’t acknowledged, the power is yours to bring the truth into the light. To be your most powerful, tell the truth.