A coworker of mine who just returned from a HR conference in Austin, Texas (a place I am dying to go) was sharing the words of wisdom that people like Brene Brown (jealous!) and Simon Sinek shared on stage. From diversity in organizations to recognition and positive feedback, she had notes upon notes recounting ways to encourage employees and motivate them to keep performance strong.
We then started talking about vulnerability, and the strength one shows when vulnerable. To show fear, hurt, love, shame, and doubt are all hard things that come with risk, but also allow someone to be seen. Then my boss expressed his doubt about that saying, “the truth is hard and some people can’t handle or don’t want to know the truth.”
To which I responded [excitedly]:
“Of course it’s hard. It freakin sucks sometimes but that’s what makes it a strength. If you are able to show vulnerability by expressing weakness, doubt, uncertainty, and fear it shows that you are human and you acknowledge these unsettling feelings. Too many people shy away from these feelings, trying to bury them because it might show weakness and judgement, but burying them only makes them fester and feel stronger.
The idea of being vulnerable begs this larger topic of feeling shame and “less than” which could then expand to this trap of comparison. If one admits to needing help, not knowing, feeling heartbroken, being scared, or whatever it may be, it leaves someone exposed. A heart is on the table, a wound opened up, there is desire to hide from just saying “I don’t know” but this is what makes you more admirable and these are the key to your release, your freedom, and the key to you.
Speak the truth. No one is superhuman. We all have fears, insecurities, emotions, and doubts but that is what makes us all similar. Vulnerability creates the deeper, lasting connections we all crave it’s just ability to leap that scares us the most.