Vulnerability for the win

In both my coaching and consulting work, the issue of vulnerability keeps coming up:

  • Coaches are telling other coaches to push themselves to the limits of their vulnerability to get more clients.
  • My coaching clients are tired of settling for just enough in their lives and careers and are choosing to speak truth to power about their needs and the needs of those whose lives they want to impact.
  • Schools and organizations are getting honest about their limits as well as their excellence in realizing their missions.

I think vulnerability will set your mind, soul and heart free, but it looks and feels different for each of us, and no one can tell you how it should or shouldn’t show up for you. Which is why it disappoints me when:

  • Professionals – like coaches or others who have committed their lives to empowering individuals or groups – create shame in others for not following a prescribed path.
  • Individuals can’t be bothered to practice empathy to understand why their friends, professional colleagues, or clients have different perspectives, insights, and/or ways of doing things.
  • Teams and organizations aren’t willing to fully embrace intentional, explicit and ongoing exploration of the implicit bias and racism holding them back from realizing their vision and making the world a better place for all, not just some.

Superhero Maxine Waters

Then there’s Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA). When I think of vulnerability, I think of her. Vulnerability to me is speaking truth to power, being clear about what you value and believe, and sticking with your principles even when doing so is unpopular. This video is the epitome of vulnerability to me:

What does vulnerability mean to you?