I used to think that ‘being vulnerable’ had a negative connotation.
For someone like me who had lived my entire life with a huge fear of failure, this word was so unappealing. I had a desire for people to see me as strong and competent, and vulnerability was a sign of weakness.
I was wrong.
It has only been in the past few years that I have seen and experienced the truth of what vulnerability means.
That I have realized that vulnerability isn’t negative, that it’s actually the opposite.
Vulnerability in the sense of being willing to own and share the fact that we don’t know everything, that we don’t have all of the answers, that we have challenges, etc….
That we aren’t perfect.
My redefinition has come not only from reading great books like Brene Brown’s “The Gift of Imperfection” or her TED Talk, but mostly because of my personal experiences with being and being around others who choose vulnerability.
In my day-to-day working with professional women I see these incredible, intelligent and ambitious people putting on their metaphorical armour each day when they dress for work.
Let’s call it her blazer.
This form fitting suit of armour enables her to choose what parts of her she’s willing to expose and which parts she’s not.
This armour is a shield against vulnerability. Protecting her from exposing more of herself than she is comfortable with.
The irony is when women choose to unbutton their armour, even if it’s ever so slightly, and show a willingness to let a little more of themselves show up, it’s so powerful.
At a recent workshop when a leader was forthcoming with her challenge and fear, nobody seized that moment to judge her or to take advantage of her “weakness”.
The truth is that when you stop pretending and protecting yourself, and choose to show up authentically, to be vulnerable, this is what happens:
- Exponential Power – You start to access your whole self, not just the sliver of the person you are willing to have show up at work. It’s liberating, it’s less work and ironically you become more productive, creative…and powerful.
- It’s Magnetizing – Being authentic and owning that you don’t have it all figured out and that you aren’t super human is incredibly magnetizing for others. People are drawn to, want to work with and be lead by people, who are intelligent, competent, ambitious…and authentic.
- Leadership – Think of who is watching you. Imagine the impact you will have on your team and your peers if you are willing to loosen your armour and show up as a more powerful you. Trust that you are more than good enough exactly how you are. That you don’t have to have it all figured out.
What would the impact will be if you choose to loosen your armour, to expose a little more of yourself, to be authentic and vulnerable?
Here’s what happened in my world, I created this short video titled: Being Imperfect: Such a Gift.
I could choose to focus on all of the video’s shortcomings, or I can trust that it is more than good enough in this moment.
I’d love to hear what’s resonated the most for you in this post or on the video?