workplace vulnerability
Corporate Culture

It’s OK to be Vulnerable!

Heidi Buttolph
Heidi Buttolph
Business Development Consultant, Organizational Engagement

When you really think about it, many dynamics exist in building successful relationships. We all need them to forge successful partnerships — whether that be personally or professionally. Often, it comes down to having the necessary conversations at the right time. Easier said than done, I know. But if you think back to times when you had “real” conversations, the result is better for all parties involved and builds stronger, healthier relationships. What did it take for you to have this tough conversation? How can you make it work to everyone’s advantage and build trust along the way? Simple. By opening up and being vulnerable!

Let me give you an example that hits close to home for me. I recently witnessed the power of vulnerability in building trust within a team. Through some great, open-hearted conversations where everyone embraced being vulnerable, we were able to see each other first as humans who are a product of different environments. It’s our individual journeys that have brought us together at Holmes Murphy. Because of who we are individually, we all bring a unique potential in creating a better future together. We are truly BETTER TOGETHER.

So what’s this thing called “vulnerability” anyway? According to Dr. Brené Brown, who wrote “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead,” vulnerability is defined as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She says “vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper, more meaningful lives, vulnerability is the path.” It definitely takes courage to show up, be seen, and truly be oneself.

Vulnerability isn’t knowing victory or defeat…it’s understanding the necessity of both. It’s engaging. It’s being all in. Engagement can’t happen without vulnerability. It can be uncomfortable to ask questions, express our opinion, or talk about our emotions with people. We might expose ourselves to criticism and judgment, but we also expose ourselves to answers and opposing views, which is a lot more fulfilling than stagnating in the comfort of what we already know. A little stress and anxiety are a normal part of leaving our comfort zone.

Breaking out of our comfort zone makes us feel vulnerable, but this feeling works in our favor. Remaining comfortable provides steady performance, but if we want to improve performance, we need some amount of stress and anxiety. Therefore, when we feel anxious, exposed, and vulnerable, we grow individually and collectively through connection. This is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.” ~ Brené Brown

If you’re interested in learning more about the power of vulnerability, I highly recommend watching Dr. Brené Brown’s TedTalk “The Power of Vulnerability.” It’s definitely a topic of interest with over 6.8 million views.

In the meantime, give this “vulnerability” thing a chance. You may just find out it’s exactly what you, your team, or your business need to grow stronger together!

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