vulThe Crack Cocaine of Validation apparently hit home with Career Chit-Chat readers. Looming closely to it is a sister issue: VULNERABILITY. Mere mention of the word makes people cringe in discomfort. Unlike the addiction to validation, vulnerability can be a great asset.

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown outlines the Ten Gifts of Imperfection, among them the gift of cultivating meaningful work (by letting go of self-doubt and ‘supposed to.’) She defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Ewww! Naked, scary stuff.

Vulnerability is also the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity, the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. See Behind Closed Doors. In a competitive, dog-eat-dog economy with employees feeling more exposed than ever, how is vulnerability a good thing?

“Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.vulnerable

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.

Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly,” (Brown).

The truth is nothing worthwhile in this world is a safe bet….when you hide from your vulnerability, you automatically hide from everything in life worth attaining,” 6 Ways You Are Your Own Worst Enemy.

Peter Sheahan, author, speaker, CEO of ChangeLabs: “The secret killer of innovation is shame…. Every time someone holds back on a new idea, fails to give their manager much needed feedback, and is afraid to speak up in front of a client you can be sure shame played a part. That deep fear….of being wrong, of being belittled and of feeling less than is what stops us taking the very risks required to move our companies forward.

vulnerIf you want a culture of creativity and innovation, where sensible risks are embraced on both a market and individual level, start by developing the ability of managers to cultivate an openness to vulnerability in their teams….this….requires first that they are vulnerable themselves. This notion that the leader needs to be ‘in charge’ and to ‘know all the answers’ is both dated and destructive. Its impact on others is the sense that they know less, and that they are less than…Shame becomes fear. Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation.”

Research shows we judge others in areas where we are most vulnerable ourselves. Vulnerability is perceived as weakness. We confuse feeling with failing and emotions with liabilities. Brown concludes: If we mean to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with it…..When we stop courageous-and-vulnerable_mystic-mammacaring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable.

Is the door to your heart open? Open enough to allow others to see the REAL you? For REALLY REAL? Is your authenticity anchored in humility? If you can answer those questions honestly with a “YES,” then congratulations! You are exactly what this world needs. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Be a blessing!

~From the desk of Becky Morlok~

Copyright © 2013 The C3 Connection. All rights reserved.

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