By Cloris Kylie Stock
When was the last time you made a conscious choice to be vulnerable?
You might be asking, why would I do such a thing? After all, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.
Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, shared her experience giving a TEDx talk that went viral on YouTube, and explained how being vulnerable allowed her to connect with her audience in such a way that her life was forever changed.
By being vulnerable, she allowed herself to be authentic, and propelled herself to a position in which she could help thousands of people, which she believes to be her true calling.
Too often, being vulnerable is associated with weakness, but in reality, it is the bravest thing one can do. We must be willing to take the risk of sharing ourselves in pursuing what we intend to manifest no matter what people might say about us.
Yet, we’ve all been programmed to avoid risks. I’ve always followed the rules and done as I was told. When aptitude tests revealed I would do well in either arts and communication, or in science and engineering, can you guess which path I was told I should take?
I found myself hanging an engineering diploma on the wall but yearning to apply my creativity and artistic ability.
Now, as a writer, I know I must be vulnerable if I want to connect with my readers. It can be a daunting process, and the fear of failure can be paralyzing at times.
So, why am I taking such a risk when I could just go back to the career I was “supposed” to have and live the life that I was “supposed” to live?
Because I’ve realized I don’t want to live an ordinary life. I want an extraordinary life, and for me being extraordinary means using my creative mind to translate my own experiences into words that will help others become the best they can be.
So without further ado, I’d like to share some lessons in vulnerability I’ve learned by following my dreams:
1. Don’t let negative criticism get you down
No one is liked by everyone, and your way may not be the best way for everyone. Remember, winning the presidential election by 1% of the vote is considered to be a great victory!
2. Don’t argue with your critics
Read or listen to negative comments with respect, and decide whether there’s a lesson to learn from those comments. If you are aligned with your true self, you will know that what you’re doing is right for you, and you won’t need to convince anyone else of your position.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
When you leap into the unknown, the next step is not always obvious. I suggest you educate yourself as much as possible in what you desire to accomplish, and find people who are aligned with your goals. Talk to these people and get their feedback.
4. Trust your intuition
Weigh your options after you’ve been offered advice and then decide how you want to move forward. Do what feels right. Once you take that next step, don’t look back.
5. Dare to fail
Even if you are pursuing your true passion, you’ll make mistakes. Be open to learning from those mistakes as they happen, instead of looking back years later and kicking yourself for a missed opportunity.
6. It’s all about perspective
When something doesn’t go the way you want, don’t focus on what went wrong. Instead, ask yourself what you can learn from the experience. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
7. Replace the word “should” with “could”
If you’re facing an obligation that might prevent you from pursuing what you desire, ask yourself if this obligation is driven by external circumstances. Be courageous enough to follow your inner voice instead of folding to external pressure. Don’t think about what you should do; think about what you could do.
8. Embrace stillness
If you find yourself plagued by thoughts of anxiety and fear, take time for quiet contemplation. Ask your inner self to guide you. The answer to your question might not arrive immediately, but it will eventually come to you as you continue this practice.
9. Trust the power of your authenticity
Truth always prevails. Practice listening for your true voice. The more you find it and listen, the less the finicky and fearful voice of the ego will be able to sway you.
10. Be patient and steadfast
Know that what you desire will materialize at the right time, and be steadfast as you pursue your true calling.
Not being true to yourself often (unconsciously) seems like the safest alternative, but by not taking a risk, you’re risking the manifestation of your life’s purpose.
At the end of the day, being vulnerable, and thereby authentic, is a choice. So, ask yourself, are you willing to make that decision?
Photo by kudumomo
Cloris Kylie Stock, MBA, is a career, academic, and life coach from Simsbury, Connecticut. She is a sought-after lecturer who has achieved the highest Toastmasters awards in communication and leadership. Her calling is to help people realize their maximum potential. She is the founder of Self Actualized Life and hosts an online radio show (http://blogtalkradio.com/magnificent). Click below to see more!