I love these 3 words. I’ve been hearing them a lot lately (like a lot!) and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because they are just so ridiculously awesome they can’t be avoided! and after being on the HR panel at the Style and the City Conference last week (put on by UBC’s Sauder School of Business) where we discussed Personal and Corporate Branding and also after hosting a business book club meeting where these words surfaced again and again, I’ve come to enjoy them even more.
So, what do they mean and why do I love them so much?
Authenticity: Genuinness. Just be you, in every way – quirks, ambitions, dreams, imperfections, the whole deal. People will like you for this, I promise. If they don’t, are they really worth your time?
Vulnerability: This is an interesting one, it’s defined as being ‘open to moral attack or critism’ or ‘susceptible to being wounded or hurt’. Sounds like it should probably be avoided, no? I say don’t be afraid of it. Use it. It doesn’t have to mean wearing your heart on your sleeve for others to trample. It could mean stating your opinion about something, it could be revealing some information about your childhood or past, it could be admitting that you just don’t know the answer to something, it could be allowing your imperfections to show etc. etc. All of these things leave you in a place to potentially be challenged or thought of in a different way (not always a bad thing), thus you are vulnerable. BUT it also allows for deeper connections (of all sorts – personal, business etc.). When’s the last time you really connected with someone over a discussion about the weather? It was probably over a common experience, interest, or opinion. Being vulnerable contributes to your interestingness and opens the space for others to be vulnerable as well (how many people just want to know that the person on the other end is actually human after all?! and oh wait, isn’t perfect) = more meaningful relationships. Powerful stuff.
The goal, then, is to have the courage to be vulnerable without worrying about or getting defensive of the potential judgements or perceptions, to let the negative ones go if they surface, because you are just being your authentic self and are confident in that.