February 16, 2020

By: 
Rachel Strella

You Give Vulnerability A Bad Name

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is fresh in my mind this week. I’m hosting my Vistage group, which means I’ll deliver a host review. In order to get the most from a host review, I need to be real and vulnerable. I must also remain open to their raw feedback because it’s what I need to grow my business. It’s not easy to put your loins on the table, but it’s necessary for people to get a true sense of who you are.

I am proud of Sara, our Running With Rusniak blog columnist, for putting herself out there in her most recent post. She shared a very personal story with an inspirational message for all of us… it’s time to showcase more authenticity in our social media posts.

There was a time when colleagues and family members cautioned me about showcasing my vulnerability on social media. The overarching feedback was that I would lose professional credibility by sharing things that weren’t fairytale endings. While their comments affected me, it didn’t stop me.

I’ve discovered that people like it when we are vulnerable. It makes us relatable. It gives others a sense that they are not alone and can understand our struggles. I’ve heard feedback from my readers who value my authenticity and can identify with my challenges. In fact, some of my most read/most shared posts are vulnerable at the core.

In a post last week, Mark Schaefer said, “Vulnerability is the home of emotion.” Marketers know that emotion is the basis for decision-making (including purchasing decisions). So, why would we not showcase our vulnerability and tap into that emotion?

There’s a long-held mentality to ‘fake it until you make it.’ While I do believe in putting your best foot forward, consider what we lose in the process of faking it? How can we be trusted when others see through our façade?  Can we ever recover that lost trust?

Rather than fake it, why not acknowledge that we are a work in progress? Unless we’ve self-actualized with the conviction that we can no longer grow, I would argue that we are all a work in progress. As my former executive coach says, “People are messy.” Yes, we are. That’s what makes us real – and why it’s OK to be vulnerable.

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