People want vulnerability. The real question is, will you give it?

article Feb 08, 2021

People want vulnerability. The real question is, will you give it?

Don't talk, don't trust, don't feel.

Those were three basic, unspoken rules that I learned growing up.

As an adult, these simple words became more sophisticated and hidden underneath plausible but untrue reasons for my behaviour.

What's a plausible but untrue reason for my behaviour?

Those are the reasons that I give myself and others rather than the uncomfortable, vulnerable truth.

Like when I have no idea why I am feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, or frustration, and someone asks me how I am, and I say: "I'm Great!".

Or I let people think the reason I work 60 hour weeks is that I am doing critical things (I mean, come on, I am committed and hard-working too, don't you know!?), rather than admitting that I am acting like a workaholic because I'm terrified that I might fail if I let up.

These sneaky plausible little games that I play in the blind spots of my life. If I don't bring them out into the light, they rob me of what I need—unconditional support, acceptance, and love.

That kind of acceptance, support, and love is what I call creating a Safe Space.

I don't know what kind of family you have, but mine was the antithesis of a safe space for many years, that is until four years ago.

I am proud of my family and how far that we have come.

I will not get into all that we have been through because that's all in the past, but if you felt like you did not fit very well in your family, perhaps you can relate to my experience.

Or if you sometimes feel like you cannot be rigorously honest with the people you live and work with, then maybe this little post will serve you.

I hope it does.

Four years ago, my family and I started practicing a particular practice of creating a safe space online. It started initially as a conference call but then evolved over the years as the technology improved. Now it is a weekly Zoom call that we do together.

At first, I facilitated it using the work that I did with teams and organizations as a foundation, but it has evolved, and everyone takes turns facilitating it now.

On the last call, my sister Kimberlee facilitated our call, and I was in the hot seat.

The video attached to this call captures one of the challenges that I walk with, being vulnerable.

When you're a dad, a coach, a leader, or a manager, it's easy to think that being vulnerable is a bad idea.

I don't think it's a bad idea for you. I think it's a bad idea for me!

If you were to ask me about this, I good would probably say that I am vulnerable, and I am at times, but when it comes to being genuine when that means that people might not view me in a way that I think is good, then I keep my mouth shut sometimes and grin and bear it.

That is not the kind of leadership that I want my life to stand for.

Authentic leadership is listening, sharing, and being vulnerable with who I am so that the people around me have permission to do the same.

It's being honest and open with who I am, the pains I carry, and the struggles that I have no real answer for.

It does not serve anyone for me to sit around and complain all day long, and that is not what I am talking about.

I'm talking about being honest with living areas that feel tender and hard to bear alone.

I'm talking about developing a space where you can share all of it and be accepted unconditionally.

No advice. No encouragement. Just witnessing and being together to walk through the shitty times that we all have to walk through.

When I let myself share like this in a safe space, the healing and encouragement by the practice alone is nothing short of magical.

Next Monday morning on February 15th, I am hosting the five day Safe Space Gathering.

This five-day event helps people who usually feel like they have to hold it all together to finally let go and realize that they never have to do that again.

I know that it helps the caregivers (coaches, managers, leaders, etc.) to learn a new way that puts their self-care at the top of the list.

I love watching what happens in people when they realize that creating a safe space for themselves automatically takes care of all the things they were trying so hard to do on their own.

Perhaps this will serve you too?

If this resonates, I invite you to click below and discover if there might be something here for you.



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