Being authentic is not about being perfect. On the route to becoming conscious of who we are we must be vulnerable. Very often the thought “if I’m vulnerable then I’m showing my weakness” comes to mind and stops us from being truly authentic. I’ve learned over the years that when I show my vulnerability then 9 times out of 10 I’ve received support, empathy and genuine connection from those I was being vulnerable with. I’ve also learned a lot more when I was vulnerable rather than looking like I had it together.
Living with your vulnerability though can be a little hair raising.
I haven’t written anything for a while. Actually this is a true statement, I really haven’t written a thing. Initially I called it writers block. Then I saw it was a little more than that. I wasn’t sure I had anything to say that was helpful. I didn’t want to just add to the deluge of information we get on a daily basis. As this went on it became an “I haven’t anything to say, oh my god what does that mean, am I losing the plot” dialog in my head. This of course wasn’t adding anything useful to the half written book I’ve been working on. Now over the last 18 months I’ve learned a lot more about writing a book. I’m also understanding my material at a new level as a result of writing too. However I recently shared some of my frustrations and internal monologue with a published author, my desire to get this book available eventually outweighed my imagined risks. I received valuable insights and support and I’m off and running again. And I only got this when I allowed myself to be vulnerable with someone else.
So you’d definitely think by now I would now find it easier or do it more often. Well I do it more than I used to but no I can’t say it’s easier. In my work with leaders I help them get comfy being a real hero than trying to be a super human one. I also know that I can’t take a leader through territory I’ve never been through before. You might say my work has ‘forced’ me to share vulnerabilities that I wouldn’t otherwise have done. A few years ago I came across Brene Brown, she’s been researching shame – something else we don’t like to talk about. I recommend her books and her TED talks. Here’s one to watch, and if you’re up for it, discuss with your team.