Three ways I've learned being vulnerable helps you live a happier and regret-free life.
My relationship with “no regrets” has changed through the years. Throughout college it drove me to lead my PRSSA and dorm organizations, try new things, date, pitch ideas I’d never done before but knew I’d figure out like pitching a prom fashion show to the Mall of America team (which they accepted and my PRSSA team helped execute), and move to New York City having never visited the city before. Now, after professionally working 20+ years, living in multiple cities across the U.S., and being married with a couple kids, I think of regret as a “first draft” in a story. Regret isn’t something to kick yourself over and lament. It’s a temporary thing we each have time to learn from and revise the next time around.
“BUT THE ONLY WAY TO GO FROM BEING A BEGINNER TO AN EXPERIENCED PERSON IS BY HAVING A GO. IT MAY MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE VULNERABLE. YOU MAY EVEN BE JUDGED AS A FOOL FOR A WHILE. BUT YOUR LIFE IS YOUR OWN. YOU EITHER GIVE PEOPLE POWER THROUGH THEIR JUDGMENTS OF YOU OR YOU GIVE YOURSELF POWER BY IGNORING THEM AND HONORING YOUR OWN HEART AND HUNCHES. WHEN YOU TRUST IN LIFE’S POSSIBILITIES RATHER THAN HUMAN-MADE RULES, THERE REALLY ARE VERY FEW LIMITATIONS.”
Former palliative care professional, Bronnie Ware, in interview with Christina Pascucci.
3 WAYS VULNERABILITY HELPS
- Vulnerability Helps You Be True to Yourself: Bronnie Ware is a former palliative care professional who shared her insights from caring for people during their final days. What did they share? What advice did they have about life that’s useful to you and me? I highly recommend you read this powerful interview on Medium. After speaking with many patients during their final days, the greatest regret was wishing they lived a life true to themselves, rather than what others expected of them. This wisdom reaffirms why it’s important to create/live/share stories of value in our daily lives. Stories that connect and help each other in some way.
- Vulnerability at Work Isn’t a Sign of Weakness: I used to think being vulnerable at work meant showing I was wrong; that I couldn’t do it; or that I would fall into an untrue stereotype of people thinking I was “just” being an emotional-woman. That others would perceive me as not doing a good job if I admitted to struggling. But, in 2019, I did an experiment and decided to lose my perfectionist attitude and instead be more open with colleagues. I learned that opening up to my boss, colleagues, and senior executives created a deeper human-bond between us which resulted in more productive conversations, more collaborative problem solving, and better work output. I witnessed another great example of this at a conference I attended. A brand marketer slowly walked across a large stage in front of 700 people. She proceeded to tell all of us how incredibly nervous she was to speak in front of us. We all laughed, and the tone in the room turned into 100% support. Every single person in that audience was rooting for her to succeed. We knew what it felt like to be nervous. Guess what? She rocked it. She did great! And, we all became her conference “best friends” in the process, giving her high-fives when we saw her between sessions. That, my friends, is the power of vulnerability.
- Vulnerability Leads to Confidence, and Confidence is Courageous: Think about it. Being vulnerable is scary. So, for you to be vulnerable and share something about your work, your brand, your ideas, and yourself means you are actually a courageous, confident #boss. Find ways to infuse this vulnerability into your storytelling. Vulnerability helps create empathy to connect with your audience(s).
“I THINK OF REGRET AS A FIRST DRAFT IN A STORY. IN THIS WAY, REGRET ISN’T SOMETHING TO KICK YOURSELF OVER AND LAMENT, IT’S A TEMPORARY THING WE EACH HAVE TIME TO LEARN FROM AND REVISE THE NEXT TIME AROUND.” -Sarah Panus, Kindred Speak
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Panus is a brand storytelling marketing strategist, Minnesota mom, and owner of Kindred Speak LLC, a remote consultancy that helps corporations attract upper-funnel leads that drive bottom-funnel results through storytelling. Her mission is to add value to the world by humanizing brand+consumer connections. Her online courses teach content professionals inside corporations how to think like Editorial Directors to drive stronger results while enjoying their jobs more. She’s spent the last 20 years helping brands including Sleep Number, Starbucks, Nestle Waters, Christos Bridal, Game Crazy, Cone Inc, and others, speak a kindred language with their audiences, driving brand advocacy and millions in revenue and brand engagements. Learn more at www.kindredspeak.com.