Hustler’s Mantra: Lead Courageously by Embracing Vulnerability
"Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage."- Brene Brown
Most of us must have grown up believing that perfection is everything and showing vulnerability means that we are weak. So we spend our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable. We mask our feelings and put on our protective armour. The sad thing is we've come to the point where, rather than appreciating and respecting the braveness and courage behind vulnerability, we have let our fear and discomfort become criticism and judgment.
In the work place, vulnerability includes trying something new, asking for help, getting promoted and not knowing if you're going to succeed, admitting that you're afraid, presenting your idea to the world and getting no response, being accountable, asking for forgiveness, talking about failure etc. Many of us tend to hide these things feeling ashamed, embarrassed and also fearing that we would be judged by others. But do these sound like weakness? Is admitting that you are afraid weak? Is accepting that you don't know something weak? Is presenting your idea to the world and getting no response weak? No. Vulnerability feels like courage and sounds like truth. Sure, truth and courage aren't always comfortable but they aren't weakness. We are totally exposed and uncertain when we are vulnerable but taking risks, braving uncertainty and opening up ourselves to emotional exposure is definitely not a sign of weakness.
I come from a family of business people so I've got the chance to closely observe and interact with few business men. One of the things that I've observed is that these business proprietors are afraid to show any kind of vulnerability to their employees. They find it very difficult to ask for help, express their own struggles and they don't accept their mistakes. They believe that a good leader should be very confident, strong, compelling and is always right. Expressing their emotions, admitting that they don't know the answer, discussing their fears and being uncertain about what will happen next is a sign of weakness to them.
But the best leaders are the ones who embrace vulnerability. They acknowledge their needs, their feelings, and their imperfections. They are the ones who accept that they don't have all the answers and they need the team's support to achieve the set goals. They take responsibility for themselves and others. Showing vulnerability and owning their experiences demonstrates their strength of character and emotional intelligence. Vulnerability also makes them relatable and thus allows them to form a stronger connection with people.
Stephen Russell, an author explains, "Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don't mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open."
We are all a "fine mess" in one way or another. We all have our own insecurities and flaws but these are nothing to be ashamed of. It takes braveness to be comfortable with your insecurities and when you do it, you also inspire others to be brave and there’s nothing more powerful in the world than this.