Have you been given an opportunity to be vulnerable, and your first reaction is to play it safe?
Picture this… You’re attending a business workshop and the guest speaker asks each person to share what they want to get out of the workshop.
In anticipation of what you want to say when it’s your turn, thoughts and potential responses enter your consciousness. And feelings of fear, anxiousness and heart palpitations surface, distracting you from the present moment. You’re now worried about your own vulnerability and how you can play it safe with your response.
The conversation moves around the room and a colleague shares an experience that brings you back into the present moment. Their vulnerability triggers a response within your heart. You’re on the same page because they are going through a similar experience to you, and this is surprising yet comforting.
Why do you feel comfort? Because you’re discovering an insight into your colleague’s journey, revealed through the gift of vulnerability in the safety of a group dynamic. And you realise you’re not alone.
Over the course of your business journey, you will experience a gamut of emotions and encounter set backs along the way, but so do most entrepreneurs.
The lesson in any setback is the gift of vulnerability.
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” – Gail Davies
Since 1999 I’ve embarked on an odyssey of self-discovery, which is amplified a thousand-fold since being in business. With the gift of hindsight I can see that shame and vulnerability were the root causes of constant self-sabotage. This translated to how I respond to situations that pushed me outside my comfort zone and how I operated my business. Suffice to say, playing it safe was a preference.
As Brene Brown says, “we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.”
Let me share four common ‘ailments’ I have experienced in my business journey whilst leaning into vulnerability.
Symptom: You find it difficult to stay in your own lane because you check perceived competitors’ websites or social media profiles and immediately feel deflated.
Remedy: Unfollow your competitors and stop looking at their website. It comes down to self-control, but the choice is simple.
Symptom: You find it difficult to charge your clients, because you feel like you’re not worthy of the monetary reward.
Remedy: Invest in yourself to clear your money blocks. This may come in the form of a money-mindset training course, professional coaching or mentoring, training courses or healing modalities like kinesiology. The path will present itself when the time is right.
Symptom: The thought of doing something outside your comfort zone finds you crippled with fear and rocking back and forwards in the corner. So you call on your inner saboteur and find a way to back out of any opportunity that comes your way.
Remedy: Lean in. Do it. You will discover so much about yourself when you throw yourself at every opportunity. You might stumble and trip, but the journey along the way will be well worth its weight in gold.
Symptom: You feel like a fraud because you don’t hold a qualification in your area of expertise.
Remedy: Repeat after me, ‘I am enough’. And remember: Richard Branson dropped out of high school at 16. Abraham Lincoln finished one year of formal schooling, self-taught himself trigonometry, and read Blackstone on his own to become a lawyer. Frank Lloyd Wright never attended high school. You are enough.
Personal transformation is a side-effect of the gift of vulnerability. And it’s your turn to be the ‘man in the arena’.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
THE MAN IN THE ARENA, Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910