Embracing vulnerability

Chris Lovejoy

#23. How to use vulnerability to increase strength of self, relationships, companies

As I write and share these daily writings, a question often pops up: how necessary is it to make yourself vulnerable?

There is no doubt that vulnerability is powerful and can be an important factor in forming close, meaningful friendships and relationships.

But it’s also incredibly difficult. It gives others to the opportunity to comment or make judgments. These can feel very personal, as the subject matter is closer to your identity.

Therefore, is it all necessary?

In short, yes and no.

Brene Brown champions vulnerability in her popular TED talk, saying how it is important for relationships and can make you a stronger person.

However, I believe there is a limit to the amount of benefit that vulnerability can bring. I also feel that vulnerability in itself is not a goal, rather a means — otherwise posting our deepest fears all over facebook would be a good thing..

By definition, vulnerability can leave us exposed. In an ideal world this wouldn’t be a problem as everyone would be understanding, however this isn’t the world we live in.

Although vulnerability is important and offers many benefits, the choice to embrace it should be a calculated risk. Vulnerability for the sake of vulnerability is not logical.

Therefore, before sharing anything in a public space (such as a blog) it is important to weigh up the possible pros and cons. This isn’t always easy, as things are not always predictable.

However, we should always err on the side of vulnerability as the benefits are not easily predictable. If I had never ‘taken the leap’ of vulnerability with my first ever blog post I would have never started writing. Our minds often project the worst case outcomes without fully considering the best outcomes.

Embracing vulnerability may seem like displaying weakness but it often makes things stronger. By opening up about fears and anxieties on this blog, I have taken away the power that those fears had over me. Many businesses, such as Basecamp, now actively display how they operate behind the scenes, something which used to be very secretive. This is something that may initially seem to make them vulnerable to being copied and out-competed but has in fact made them far stronger.

So we should look for opportunities to be vulnerable, but not for its own sake, and then take a calculated but significant leap.. and see what happens.