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The Power of Vulnerability.

In my job I see vulnerability every day of the week, so much so I thought I’d write a short article about it, because few know the real strength vulnerability can give you.

There are times when almost everyone experiences the feeling of vulnerability, whether it be when life becomes far too much to handle, when illness knocks us flat, or just when we need a little help, it is at these times vulnerability comes to the surface.

People tend to consider that vulnerability is a weakness, whether it be the putting on of a brave face in adversity, keeping a stiff upper lip, or not wanting to give their colleagues a hint of any weakness, in society the general meme is vulnerability should be hidden.

I’m proposing in this article that we take a step back and have another look at vulnerability, because this article goes against these generally accepted views that vulnerability is a weakness, instead I ask you to read on a little further so that you too can understand the true power of vulnerability.

The inability to be vulnerable comes from insecurity, insecurity in one’s life, insecurity in one’s self and insecurity around others, yet by allowing some vulnerability to come to the surface it can help you be your real self, by letting go of some of the control and by showing a little more vulnerability you start to reduce the insecurities you may be feeling in your life.

‘Vulnerability is not about rolling over and letting other people walk all over you, instead vulnerability is about you being the real you’.

Some people bottle things up, their emotions, their troubles, and their worries, in this way they become disconnected with their real self, they spend their life hiding and numbing their pain, by doing this they also numb their ability to be really happy, and to feel this disconnected with oneself on the inside means your life is also likely to be as disconnected on the outside, and in the words of C.S Lewis;  

‘To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable’.

Those that hide their vulnerability avoid connection and avoid real relationships, vulnerability is when we let our imperfections become apparent and it is with this honesty and intimacy that relationships thrive, yet;  

‘Vulnerability takes courage, courage to be yourself and courage to accept oneself’.

Vulnerability helps you to understand yourself and build relationships in your your personal life, few have considered that it can also have a huge impact in your professional life. I want to do business with someone I trust, someone I think know, and someone who I can connect with.

I have no doubt that showing some of the real you helps you professionally, people warm to you, people want to make deals with you rather than your competitors because by allowing yourself  to be your real self you are always going to be more than the grey man in the suit.

‘Vulnerability is about the real you, it’s not false, vulnerability is honesty and transparency, in your life and in your business’.

Showing and noticing vulnerability is a leadership skill, it’s not about breaking down, crying and wearing your heart on your sleeve, it’s about being self aware of your failings, your weaknesses and your faults, with colleagues vulnerability is about noticing their vulnerability and having the emotional intelligence to empathise, help, and mentor, getting the bonus of loyalty in return and helping you build a supportive culture in your organisation.  

The real you has faults, yet vulnerability gives you an ability to be happy with yourself, to know your own values and to live in line with them, the transparency that vulnerability gives you lets others see what drives and motivates you, and how strong you really are.

So I say be be vulnerable, be proud of your imperfections, have courage in yourself to show your real self, connect with others and live with purpose because vulnerability is all about letting go and you becoming strongest when you don’t need to be strong.