Episode 36: Showing Strength in Vulnerability



Definition of Vulnerability:

The quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Brené Brown’s shares the findings of her research on vulnerability in her TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability which is the most listened Ted talk over 15 million downloads. She explains that many people don’t want to discuss shame or vulnerability.

In fact, today, people are lonelier, more obese, and more addicted than ever before because they opt to distract or numb themselves rather than address their insecurities or shame.

When people numb their shame and insecurities, they also numb their joy, happiness, love and fulfilment – Living in numbness

Brené talks about the various aspects of shame, addresses the importance of vulnerability, and the characteristics of those that she calls the wholehearted people.

  • They have a sense of worthiness of love,
  • They have the courage to be imperfect and vulnerable
  • They show compassion to themselves first and then to others,
  • They are authentic in their connections – willing to let go of who they think they should be to be who they truly are.
  • They believe what makes them vulnerable also makes them beautiful.
  • They are willing to be vulnerable, not because it’s easy but because it’s necessary for their own personal growth and to benefit others.
Does this sound like you? Are you one of these wholehearted people?

I personally struggle with certain aspects of vulnerability.  I would probably try everything I possibly can before asking for help.  I’m not sure where that stems from.  It could be from societal glorification  of independence for those that do everything on their own.

Also as a black woman, who doesn’t feel safe enough to be vulnerable, I’ve learned to keep my guard up.   Always appearing that I have it all-together as a survival mechanism .

But this’s not a good thing.  Asking for help will save you so much time and frustrations.

In business, vulnerability is a word that has been heavily misunderstood.

I find that lack of vulnerability is what stops so many people from pursuing entrepreneurship.  I often hear people say, – I don’t want to put myself out there!  What will people think of me? What if I get rejected?

This’s is lack of willingness to be vulnerable.

For so many of us, this becomes the thing that stops us from venturing out and trying new things at the risk of looking like a failure.

People seem to associate being vulnerable with being weak, fragile, powerless, or exposed.

What we’re not taught about vulnerability is that it can be used in business as a source of strength to connect with your clients, employees and partners on a deeper level.

When you recognize how to strategically apply vulnerability in your business, you will actually strengthen your connections and engagement

But, Is there a right way to be vulnerable as an entrepreneur?

I observe people who use vulnerability the right way in business and I see how it makes them magnetic. When you use it the right way, you become more attractive and you look stronger; people want to be around you and engage with you.

Think of your own experiences with the people you know.  Your family, friends, co-workers, or boss, do you like those people that always seem like they have all the answers, never showing any vulnerability or their human side?

Do you enjoy being around them?

The same is true for your business and as an entrepreneur.

People appreciate when you are willing to be human, vulnerable and real.

In essence, using vulnerability as a strength is when you can share a story of sensitive nature while empowering the person on the receiving end of the story.

Think of a situation you’ve had to deal with in your life that you were able to overcome. There are hundreds of ways you can choose to share this story. The key element within your story is to share how you were a) challenged and  b) how you created success from an unlikely space.

That’s your story!

Sharing my divorce experience in one of my group sessions opened the door for others to see me as one of them.  To  trust me with their vulnerable stories and create deeper connections. That’s how you become more than just a product or service provider.  You become a trusted friend

The goal is not just to tell your emotional story and end it there! You want to empower your listeners with how you were able to grow because of your experience.

Embracing vulnerability can have a tremendous positive effect on how you feel about yourself, how you engage with your loved ones and how you show-up as an entrepreneur.

I’d love to hear from you! How are you choosing to be vulnerable today? Please share your thoughts and takeaways.

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