As an Executive and Organizational Coach, I also have my own Executive Coach. She is called Linley Rose and lives in New Zealand. She is amazing! Back in 2011, we had a conversation around my perceived weakness. I felt vulnerable as I was driven to always want more and be the best like most executives do. So Linley asked me the following questions:
- How essential is it for you to achieve at the highest level?
- How much time do you have to prove yourself? At what cost?
- What does ‘best’ mean?
- What is ‘success for you’?
- Is this life threatening?
- Is there an opportunity in the message?
- How important is it to you as to what people think of you?
- Who is the best person for you to talk to right now?
- What is the best thing you can do for yourself right now?
- What else could you be doing?
- What assumptions are you making about winning?
- What assumptions are you making about losing?
Linley encouraged me to watch Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, which is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world. Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, as well as the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Fast Company Magazine named Daring Greatly one of the top ten business books of 2012. She has spent the past twelve years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
Brown describes vulnerability as ‘basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure’. She adds that ‘everything I’ve learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in’. As I listened to her 2010 TEDx Houston talk, more questions resonated for me:
- What’s the fear?
- Where and why do we want to be braver?
- How are we currently protecting ourselves from vulnerability?
- What is our armour? Perfectionism? Intellectualizing? Cynicism? Numbing? Control?
There comes a time when we just get tired of those Ps – proving, pleasing, perfecting, performing – and it normally happens between 35 and 55. Linley and I explored a ‘rejuvenation plan’ that would energize me by becoming more courageous, more daring. We examined under the microscope my fear of failing, making mistakes, not meeting people’s expectations…As we continued our conversation (slowly and painfully), my responses to the questions set by Linley and Brené became clear. I’m a much braver person than I used to be and I am not afraid to show my vulnerability. I changed career at 50 to become an Executive and Organizational Coach. As Brown says: ‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change’.
If you would like to contact me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.