Vulnerability is not a word I use often. A quick Google search of the word ‘vulnerable’ brings up the definition “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally” – definitely not my go-to state of being.
Who am I? I’m a proud Gen Y, recently married (less than four months) to my best friend of almost eight years, a man with whom I share a love of coffee, healthy debating, our alma mater and a beautiful home in the mountains. I would not call myself a risk taker but was only too keen to throw myself out of a (perfectly good) plane and every so often desperately crave change.
So what do vulnerability and I share? As a child I was bullied in the way only clever ten year old girls know how. While I always told myself I’d moved past it, as a woman in her mid-twenties I can see now just how heavy its impact has been on who I’ve become; hindsight is 20:20 as they say. As a result, allowing myself to be vulnerable again has simply not been on the cards.
Two days after starting with The Grow Project, Rebecca took me to see Brené Brown – author of Daring Greatly, Rising Strong and myriad other titles. She also has a famous TedXHouston talk on The Power of Vulnerability. How fitting it was that when we’d discussed my penning a blog one of the notes I wrote was ‘be comfortable with vulnerability’ – oh universe.
Brené recited a fantastic quote from former US President Roosevelt, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
To dare greatly is, in its very essence, to make yourself vulnerable – to failure, criticism, competition. Dan Fredinburg was a Google [x] exec who died in the 2015 Nepal earthquake at Mt Everest’s South Base Camp; I have a screenshot on my phone from Instagram, posted on Dan’s account following his death. It reads, ‘We avoid taking risks… So we can make it safely to death.’ My challenge to you, and to myself is this – determine that one thing that you desperately want to do, but haven’t, because you’re afraid. Now ask yourself, if you fail will it kill you? If it relates to making a change or taking a leap in your business or your life I’m guessing your answer is no and you and I are both master excuse-makers.
Joining an organisation pre-revenue on a new product is scary for someone like me; there is no guarantee it will succeed and I have all of the usual financial and life commitments hanging over my head. But I had gotten to a place – or rather, I’d been there for a while – that I need to make a change. At 26 I already had those gnawing feelings of not-enoughness. I want more. And the only way to achieve that is to enter the arena. Will you join me?