“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.
Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.
Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown
We all know the ‘hard’ skills needed to be successful at work. The ones necessary to do our jobs as well as we can – and it doesn’t matter whether they have been learned through education, through mentorship or simply from doing. Leading. Managing a team. Being able to forecast trends. Budgeting. Meeting KPIs.
I think perhaps there is a new kid on the block that is essential to success. And when I say ‘new kid’, it’s actually a skill that has been around for a very long time – we’ve just chosen to ignore it and in fact see it as a weakness in the business arena.
It’s a skill that takes courage and strength. A skill that when you allow it to be, becomes the most powerful part of your armour, instead of the chink that people expect it to be. It surprises others, it warms you to others, it takes people off guard.
It puts you in the moment, on the ball and in a position to create magic and genius.
It is a skill that, to totally generalise, our beautiful men very rarely show. It is a skill that as women, for whatever reason, we have forgotten, thrown out, or simply pushed away.
I agree. Vulnerability is scary and sometimes (if you allow it) uncomfortable. Even at times almost uncontrollable. But – and this is a very, very big but – it is also incredibly powerful.
We are almost ingrained with the concept that in business (and sometimes in life), vulnerability is a weakness, because it is sharing openly your thoughts and fears; it is allowing others to see your true self.
It is speaking your truth.
Imagine if instead of a weakness we thought of vulnerability as powerful.
Yes, vulnerability is openly sharing your thoughts; but aren’t those thoughts actually what you really think? Aren’t they attached to your value system? Couldn’t they quite possibly be opportunity to create a small ripple, a change of light, a change of thought in someone else’s thinking – maybe even trigger a new thought process?
We are too scared to share our feelings. This is a parlous state of affairs. What you think, what your intuition is telling you, and being able to articulate the two equals the chance to more easily move forward.
Imagine; what if by sharing our thoughts, our feelings, our worries and concerns we actually managed to open the door to change; to let others in, to gain support, to meet new people, to try new experiences, to develop a new way of thinking.
For me, this display of ‘vulnerability’ says I am in no way weak; this says I have power and strength.
Everyone experiences fear. And to be vulnerable – to openly share or to openly ask for help; to openly admit that which you don’t know or even that which you love with no knowledge of whether there will be reciprocity – is power.
Vulnerability embraces boundaries and trust. Being vulnerable does take courage. But I totally believe it is worth it on so many levels. To quiet the quickening mind, to share our thoughts, feelings and opinions honestly, to connect with others who have earned the right to hear our stories.
If you have the strength to show your true self within business, what an incredible gift and behavioural model this is to others. And that means embracing and allowing to be shown to the outside world your vulnerability.
Keep the hard skills, because without them, you don’t have a business. But allow yourself to be the one thing that is most necessary to succeed in the long run.