What it is Vulnerability? Can it be a source of your greatness?
We had our meeting last month and we had a great discussion on Love! It was fantastic trying to define and describe love with all manners of descriptions and elaborations. One of the words that came up strongly is that to Love is to be vulnerable. I wanted to understand more about this statement and luckily I bumped in to an update by my friend Oliver on Vulnerability which later led me to Brene Browns work on Shame and Vulnerability- I am reading one of her books ‘Daring Greatly’. Amazing stuff right there, you can listen to her on TED here. There is nothing much you can do if you are not willing to be vulnerable; let me briefly share my struggles trying to establish a business.
For we live by believing and not by seeing – 2 Cor 5:7
In 2011, I registered a limited company and organized my first training workshop targeting project owners – it was incredible, the training room was packed, it felt good. Later on, I organized a youth forum which was a success too. Afterwards, with these success stories I went on to organize another youth forum that did not do so well and I had to be bear the cost on my own. I did not give up though and I started crafting a training program (Strategies for Successful Projects) targeting community project managers, it didn’t see the light of the day! Later on I partnered with my friend in Australia to implement a school program targeting young people. I had an elaborate execution plan, I recorded some few successful workshops and also experienced huge failures. I stopped and the energy to push on fizzled out. I did not want to be vulnerable. All these ideas still lay in my head; It can feel terrible!
Looking at all these attempts, what stopped me was fear, I did not want to be vulnerable. I did not want to be told no by school heads which could translate to feeling rejected, I wanted them to just accept my offer. I simply did not want to fail (Which I did any way). In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown defines and speaks so much on Vulnerability and the myths surrounding it after her research.
According to Brene, vulnerability is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. Vulnerability is not weakness as people think but an emotional risk, uncertainty and is the most accurate measurement of courage. It is the courage to be imperfect.
Willingness to do something when there is no guarantee, willingness to invest in a relationship that you do not know if it will work. Willingness to initiate a business even when you have so many uncertainties.
The fear of being vulnerable keeps us down and it proves to us that we are not worthy of connection and belonging. If you do not feel vulnerable you may never rise because it is believed being vulnerable is being weak.
I have seen people rise in their careers, I have read stories of people rising from grass to grace because they put themselves out there on the arena, they did not allow shame (Read “what people think of me”) to hinder them in being vulnerable.
The beginning of vulnerability is the birth place for joy, belonging, love, innovation, creativity and change. To create is to make something that never existed before, there is nothing as vulnerable as that according to Brene, something I strongly belief.
I follow Njugush, a comedian and a social media influencer, what makes him vulnerable makes him beautiful, innovative and creative. His story is one that explains how the risk of being vulnerable can transform one’s life.
Next time you have an offer to speak to a group, to preach, to pitch your idea or to co-chair a meeting, Feel the butterflies, feel vulnerable and do it anyway.
So, are you willing to be vulnerable? Let your vulnerabilities be the source of your greatness.