The 5 Traits of a Powerful Truthteller

I know you can feel it—there is something in the air. A palpable change that is nothing short of radical. As women rise up against hatred and vitriol in our world, we are entering a radical time.

We are on the cusp of something huge. We are shaking up long-standing systems. Women are tired of standing on the sidelines of our lives and letting other people make the big decisions. We are coming into close contact with our voices, and our power—and we are ready to use them, come what may.

As women, we are finally discovering and speaking our truth, now more than ever.

I am definitely seeing that word “truth” everywhere, from the articles in my social-media feeds to the newsletters that fill my email inbox. I agree that there is enormous value in being transparent, authentic, and connected to who we really are—but what does it really mean to share/find/claim/fill-in-the-blank-with-your-chosen-verb your “truth”? And what exactly is our “truth,” anyway? Is it what’s in our gut? Is it our life story? Is it our values and beliefs? Is it the facts? Is it our dreams? Is it what we’re willing to stand up and lay our lives down for?

Bottom line:

So many people out there are trying to define their “truth” and “find themselves,” and while I honor that journey, I think we’ve made it way more complicated, and more abstract, than it has to be.

Your truth isn’t about what you’re saying, and nor is it merely about understanding who you are and what you stand for. It’s not about some theoretical version of the perfect you. It’s about the bold self-expression that gives you the freedom to be who you are in this very moment. It’s about uncovering and claiming your voice and using it to make your life happen, the way you want to.

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So let’s keep it simple.

Finding your truth is about letting your inner voice line up with the voice you use in the world. It’s about living the life you have determined is best for you, on your own terms.

They say that you teach what you need to learn. That’s why I created Women For One. The urge came from my own desire for truth in my own life; I wanted a place where I could be 100% myself, no filters, especially after emerging from the fog of my first marriage, where I had buried my voice under a mountain of “shoulds.”

As I gather women from around the world together to participate in Women For One’s signature program, Truthteller: A Course for Boldly Claiming Your Story, the collective power of women is nothing less than a force of nature!

As women, we have the capacity to find our voices, create bonds with people on the other side of the globe within moments. We can also instigate movements and revolutions with a single social media post. Let’s all collectively connect into our power and find our voices.

here are Five ways you can become a more powerful truthteller:

To question every aspect of truth is one of the most powerful acts of truthtelling there is. Curiosity is especially powerful when we apply it to ourselves rather than taking our thoughts, values, and beliefs for granted. That one little question “Why?” creates room for a more expanded life, as well as a greater sense of tolerance and engagement with the world around us. Curiosity isn’t a value that’s just about how you connect with yourself; making space for and respecting people and their beliefs from a place of openness rather than judgment can totally expand the kinds of relationships we have with others.

Get clear about your life! Committing to clarity helps us understand who we are and who we want to be. The stories that have shaped our lives have the power to reveal so much to us—and clarity leads us toward a better understanding of them. Sometimes, our emotions keep us from feeling clear, but believe it or not, they can actually be an awesome compass. Instead of getting lost in the undertow of difficult feelings, we can see them as offering valuable insight. Keep listening and checking in with yourself, and you’ll gain even more clarity.

Be bold! Honor your own self and state your needs, even when you fear the repercussions. Let’s face it—being a truthteller is not for the people who are content to hold back and hide. Coming out with who you are full force takes courage; some people will cheer you on, while others will tear you down or try to prove you wrong. But truthtelling isn’t about trying to convince other people about anything. The most effective truthtelling is the kind where you are unabashedly vulnerable and share from your heart, from the core of who you are. This kind of connection to who you are, deep down, is the meaning of true bravery. And it’s the only thing that has the power to propel you into genuine joy.

Some of us think that as soon as we speak up and say, “OK, world, here I am!”, accolades are gonna rain down from the sky. Not so! Truthtelling is a lifetime journey. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean we are going to be welcomed with open arms. So be compassionate and patient with yourself and with others. Accept who you are even in the face of disappointment, your own fuck-ups, and the times when you think you aren’t getting it “right.” Truthtelling is about the journey to claiming all parts of ourselves: the messy, as well as the shiny ones we want so badly for other people to acknowledge and love.

Some people think they need to know their purpose way before they feel comfortable expressing who they are to the world. I think it’s the other way around. Knowing that you’ve built the resilience to face your fears head on, in practice rather than just inside your head, is what will give you the passion to keep making life happen. Once you’ve discovered your voice, gotten clear on what you’re about, and moved into bold action, you have everything you need to live a life of a powerful truthteller

If you are ready to be a truthteller in action, claim your past experiences, and transform your present beliefs, take my signature program, Truthteller: A Course for Boldly Claiming Your Story.

Truthteller teaches you how to dive into and reclaim the personal stories that have shaped you. The course includes 6 workbooks with supporting 20-minute audio empowerments, a private Facebook group, and professional editing of your final written piece along with a publishing opportunity on the Wf1 website.

Truthteller is a rare experience that integrates personal-development work with creative writing so you can reclaim your unique voice. It delivers practical tools along with a supportive sisterhood that sets you up for big changes to happen in your life NOW! The course provides a safe, accepting space for women who are called to share their truth, inspire, and be inspired by other’s experiences.

If you are ready to enroll in Truthteller, click here!

Kelly McNelis

About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of Women for One, a place where women from 50 countries share their powerful stories with the world. Over 500 Truthtellers, as Kelly calls them, have answered her call to action: Make life happen by sharing your messy brilliance. Their stories range from the devastating to the delightful, and everything in between. Kelly is a mom, wife, friend, mentor, businesswoman, Reiki master, minister, healer, incest survivor, and firm believer that there’s no such thing as “TMI.” Formerly a nonprofit- and small-business consultant, Kelly now travels the world as a speaker, teacher, and workshop facilitator, empowering women to find their voice and discover their true power. She has interviewed global changemakers including the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Arianna Huffington, Regena “Mama Gena” Thomashauer, and Byron Katie, on the importance of cultivating our own inner wisdom and truthtelling voices. Kelly’s first book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman, will be published by Enrealment Press in Fall 2017. Pre-order the book today! Kelly’s work, husband, kids, and brilliantly messy life are based outside Seattle.

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6 comments to "The 5 Traits of a Powerful Truthteller"

  • Love what you are doing Kelly! Very impressed. I know what what it takes to do something like this and I can tell that it is beautifull. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

    Love Petra

  • Dianna Bellerose

    Hi and thank you for this opportunity to be able to discover some truths about who I am and what is my purpose. It looks like the quiz nailed down to every detail about what I stand for and what are my sincere desires to accomplish in this life. Thank you so much lovely lady, Dianna Bellerose

    • Women For One
      Women For One

      Hi Dianna, thank you for reaching out! I’m so glad that you found your results to be spot on. Thank you for the powerful work that you do!

  • Fundiswa

    Dear Kelly

    I stumbled upon your site and was extremely happy.
    I am a 46 year old Africa woman in Cape Town South Africa who periodically feels bothered by where I am in life as opposed to where I was and am supposed to be. I always felt that there was no outlet where I can express my truth and be understood and your blog and site speak directly into where I am at. It feels like I may find answers for me questions and a platform to express my truth and be understood within this room. I am interested in the course and will sign up soon I raised the funds for the material. I will appreciate your admin contacting me via email to advise on how I make payment and how I receive the material. Thank you for creating this space.

    • Women For One
      Women For One

      Dear Fundiswa,

      Thank you for reaching out! I am so glad that you connected with the Women For One community. My team will be in touch shortly to provide the information you requested.

      Big love,


  • Mangi

    In my professional career as General Medical Practitioner,I always and it shall be my habit to be truth teller and I must tell them about their ailments a really stuation because once I do so psychologically he/she will adhere to any step I advice him/her, since I was in teenage I always asks my father about which job is better for me when I catch my career to save my pleople in this passing world lives?my father tell be a medical doctor or be a preacher you Will be a truth teller that’s why I choose it (GMP)