Are You Allowed to Say the U Word? I’m Unfulfilled.

by Alli Polin on April 1, 2014

Unfulfilled, unhappy, unsure. I'm a leader. Am I allowed to feel this way?

Unfulfilled.  Unhappy.  Unsure.  In a world where we’re all supposed to have postcard perfect lives, speaking many words that start with “U” have become the new “F” word.  Equally taboo in some circles, “U” and “F,” yet one is so much more vulnerable.  Maybe that’s why most people I know would rather shout f*ck from the rooftops than say “I’m unfulfilled, my life is not what I thought it would be, there has to be more than this.”

“U” words uncover the heart of you and the “F” word is like a magic cloak of self-protection that only shows anger, frustration or how freakin’ hip you are that you say it at least three times in every five sentences.  I admit, I’ve been known to swear like a sailor with the best of them but it comes down to this: Are you willing to be seen or is it simply more comfortable to keep on running on that hamster wheel?


Shhhh!  Someone might hear you!  What would happen then??

Feeling unfulfilled, unhappy or unsure about what’s next does not have to be a dirty little secret even if that’s the way it seems most of the time in a culture that favors politeness over authenticity, rawness and scary truths.  We’ve become experts at keeping the curtain closed between our reality and our relationships with very few people given the privilege of peeking around the corner to see what’s behind the smoke and mirrors.

“How are you?”

“How are you?”
“Well, I’ve been better.  I’m just not feeling as happy or satisfied as I’ve been in the past.”
“Um, I was just asking to be polite.”
“Oh, right. I’m good.”

When we feel stuck and alone with our truth, that’s when stress begins to skyrocket and the quality of our relationships deteriorates.  Essentially, we’ve moved as a society from human to human interaction to image to image or persona to persona.  Relationships at the heart are I  and YOU not “My Super Cool Title” and “Your Super Cool Title.”

Unfortunately, change doesn’t happen in the comfort zone.  You need to decide, will you be a leader that is wiling to break the frame of “I’m good” and show up as your whole self?  Will you be the first domino that gives others the courage and confidence to do the same?

Here’s what I can promise you:  When you speak your truth something remarkable happens – you transform and so do the “U” words that you carry with you. 

Uneasy becomes unafraid.
Unsuccessful becomes undeterred.
Unknown becomes unleashed.
Unrealized becomes unanticipated.
Uncomfortable becomes unchained.
Unsure becomes unlimited.
Unconventional becomes uniquely YOU.

Break the Frame Action: 

Find the courage to speak your truth even if it’s just to one other person this week.  Identify a coach or mentor that can help you look within to re-ignite and re-invent on your quest for a fulfilling life.

Will today the day that you speak your truth without shame and begin your personal change journey?

For coaching, consulting or speaking Let’s Connect!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Karin Hurt April 1, 2014 at 8:57 am

REALLY Great post. The hardest person to admit the U words to is ourselves.


Alli Polin April 1, 2014 at 9:53 am

Thanks, Karin. I think you’re right but we’re also the first ones that need to hear it.


Terri Klass April 1, 2014 at 8:58 am

It is so true that we live in a world where we are expected to be managing well at all times regardless of our challenges. There is a saying that I hear all the time (especially in NJ area) that makes me nuts- “Everything good?” Well even if it isn’t, one is compelled to say “yup”.

Authentic leadership begins with being honest of what is working for us and what isn’t. I find that talking it through with another is such a comfort and provides clarification of what I am feeling and where I want to go. Just saying our concerns out loud can empower us to acknowledge and then take action.

Another great post, Alli and got me focused on what I am truly feeling right now!


Alli Polin April 1, 2014 at 9:55 am

I can hear it, Terri! “Everything good?” There is really only one answer they want to hear and 99.9% of the time, that’s what we give ’em.

I too really appreciate when I can take off my mask and truly process through my thoughts, feelings and next steps in a totally honest way. When we’re busy keeping up appearances, we miss the chance to go deep enough to spark change.

Speaking the words seems so simple but it truly does make a difference.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience!!


Callie April 1, 2014 at 10:02 am

Alli, this has to be one of my most favouritest posts of yours so far … I HAVE SO MANY FRIGGIN’ U’s cluttering up my space …

I’m claiming these for starters:
* Unknown becomes unleashed
* Uncomfortable becomes unchained
* Unconventional becomes uniquely YOU

Thank you, thank you x


Alli Polin April 3, 2014 at 8:24 am

Callie – You’re not alone!! Love to see you become unleashed… can only imagine what that would give you and everyone that gets to experience you.



Sharon April 1, 2014 at 10:31 am

Alli, I love your post AND Callie’s response to it! These past few years have been incredibly uncomfortable and uncertain on so many different levels, though as I’ve sat with my U words, trying to acknowledge them without judgment, I’ve discovered that so much of who I really am in only just now being uncovered.

Thanks, as always, for challenging each of us to break the frame and climb out of the boxes of our own limitations!



Alli Polin April 3, 2014 at 8:26 am

It does take time to understand them, doesn’t it? I’ve been sitting with a few of my own words… turning them over, exploring, getting curious and I feel like so many answers are on the tip of my tongue but the sounds are not ready to be formed.

Thank YOU for sharing your journey and your human-ness! I feel so lucky to have connected with you and to see your journey as it unfolds from here.

Thanks, Sharon!


LaRae Quy April 1, 2014 at 11:46 am

Your post really resonated with me…when I’m my most authentic I am also my most effective.

It does mean becoming vulnerable, but that is what I have found that makes a person more attractive to others. We see enough of the veneer on TV and in magazines…we don’t need more in real life.

Words that touch our heart and mind are the ones we yearn for, not another flashy image that is fake or full of silicone.


Alli Polin April 3, 2014 at 8:28 am

Vulnerability feels so freakin’ scary but it’s actually incredibly freeing!

I’m so with you on the constant bombardment of images of perfection. Perfect is a standard that none of us can live up to but I can be perfectly me and you perfectly you… just as we’re meant to be.

Appreciate you, LaRae!


Jon Mertz April 2, 2014 at 7:31 am

Key points, Alli. Recognizing and then doing something with the U feelings is tough but needed work to do. The first step may involve another U word: Understanding. Getting to the cause and reasons behind the feeling will help determine the best, next steps. And, you’re right, relationships can help to develop that understanding. Great points! Jon


Alli Polin April 3, 2014 at 8:29 am


That is the most critical U word of all: Understanding. The feeling of being unfulfilled takes reflection which ultimately leads to understanding and inspired action. Without understanding, we’ll always be left wanting. Always appreciate your wisdom!


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