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Value Creation Blog

The Secrets You Learn When You Make Yourself Vulnerable

Posted by Josh Patrick

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In the days of the coronavirus we all are probably feeling vulnerable. The question I have is are we acting vulnerable and if so, how scared are you doing that?

I often hear people talk about being transparent, and I rarely hear them talk about the concept of vulnerability. I believe that transparency is important. I also believe that being vulnerable and showing your vulnerability in public is just as important.

Vulnerability shows that you’re human.

We love to show up in the world as being invulnerable. We’ve made no mistakes and we can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

We all have weaknesses and hiding our weaknesses doesn’t do much to prove to others we’re real. The best way I’ve been able to do this is by talking about my foibles. When I let my guard down and talk about what really happens in my life, it shows others that I’m human.

When I was younger, I would never talk about the weaknesses I had. In fact, I wouldn’t even admit I had them. I thought I was being strong. I didn’t fool anyone except me.

When you exhibit vulnerability, you become relatable.

The more vulnerable you are, the more people see you as being relatable. All of us have people in our family who we may wish we didn’t have. We like to pretend they don’t exist. In my experience, everyone has skeletons in their closet. Pretending they aren’t there doesn’t make you relatable.

The problem with not being vulnerable is we have to put up fronts. This fools no one. It might even have others questioning how honest you are.

My story about a recent talk I gave.

I do a fair amount of public speaking. In one of my recent presentations, I spent more than my usual two minutes going through my personal history. Instead, this time I spent ten minutes and drilled down into all the terrible things I did while I was learning to be a manager. After the presentation several people came up to me and let me know how much more the presentation was worth because of the stories I told about things I wasn’t very proud of.

Telling these stories was a risk. People could have turned me off because of what I did. The opposite happened. They didn’t turn me off. They leaned in because I became relatable. They felt that if I could learn from the things I did; they were in a much better place.

Do you leave people in a better place because you’re honest about the path you took to where you are today.

This is especially important with our family.

I know that I almost never talked about my past with my children. It would have been easy for them to think I did nothing wrong. At some point I decided it was more useful for me to level with them and talk about the mistakes I made growing up and as a young adult.

Vulnerability is something we need to practice with everyone, especially our family. Pretending we’ve done nothing wrong or anything we’re ashamed of just will not get a response from our family, that’s positive. Be brave and let your guard down with your family. It’ll be worth the risk.

We all have done things we probably aren’t very proud of.

You may feel that you can’t be vulnerable because no one has ever done the things you’re not proud of. That just isn’t true. I don’t know anyone who’s being honest with me that hasn’t done things they wished they hadn’t done.

You will find that when you show vulnerability, others will return the favor. We’re all just waiting for someone to start and we never want it to be us. In the past several years I’ve decided I’ll be the one to start and literally every time it has rewarded me with having reciprocal behavior from the person I’m speaking with.

Being vulnerable is about more than your foibles.

I want you to consider showing vulnerability with your feelings as well. We often feel we can’t be honest with our feelings towards others because we’ll be taken advantage of. Again, this is a falsehood that I want you to think about.

We lose out on so much when we’re not honest about our feelings. Just make sure that when you’re talking about your feelings, you take responsibility for them. If you try to make it someone else’s fault, if you don’t like them, then nothing positive will happen. If you take responsibility for your feelings, both positive and negative, you’ll have a better conversation.

Want someone to take action, show your vulnerability.

This is a big deal. If you want someone else to do something and it’s a little scary, sharing how you approached a similar thing can help others take action. We all like to think we can motivate others. We really can’t, but we can put them in a position to be motivated and take positive action. The way to do this is by being vulnerable and helping people see how others have health with similar things.

What do you think about vulnerability and becoming more vulnerable yourself? If you are brave and show the world who you really are, you’ll be richly rewarded. Why don’t you scroll down and let me know in the comments what you’re feeling about vulnerability is?

Topics: honesty, being real, vulnerability, being vulnerable

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