Vulnerability is a word most business women don’t want to admit to having. There’s a connotation of weakness in the word. In truth, vulnerability is your secret strength.
Vulnerability is the state you feel when you have been challenged, when you feel exposed for all the world to see. Your natural tendency is to guard your openness, even hide it. You want to protect it, like the wound it appears to be, when in fact it reveals the beautiful, juicy, tender truth of who you are.
Somewhere along the line you have been taught to judge yourself. You have accepted ideas about who you should be, how you should behave and what you ought to do. You’ve been conditioned to look at yourself through the lens of how you think others perceive you and you’ve created boundaries to protect yourself from the fear of getting hurt or being rejected.
Nothing challenges your boundaries more than having your own business. You’ve basically set yourself up for rejection. In fact, you can pretty much expect to experience rejection on a regular basis. That’s why so many of you shy away from sales conversations. It’s the perfect opportunity to be told “no.” This can trigger many fears like: “Is what I’m offering valuable?” “Do I charge too much?” “Is my business going to make it?”
Worse than a straight out “no” is a “yes” that turns into a “no.” There was a time when such a response would put me on an emotional roller coaster. First, my excitement would spike from the “yes” because I saw it as proof that what I offered was valuable and needed.
That “yes” fed my dreams and hopes of having a successful business. It added validation to what I was doing and told me that all I envisioned was possible. I would fly high, only to plummet to self-doubt and fear when that “yes” shifted to a “no” (usually within a day or two).
Sometimes the “yes-no” came with a “Thank you, but I’ve had a change of heart” or “I’ve just decided it’s not the right time after all.” Sometimes it came with no explanation at all. If this hasn’t happened to you yet . . .wait. . . it will. It’s inevitable when you’re in business long enough. It’s not that clients are mean or fickle, they’re simply facing their fears, just like you, and they’re struggling to move past them.
In those times I felt vulnerable. I had dared to step outside my boundaries, outside my comfort zone, to pursue a dream. What was I thinking? My “no’s” made me want to pack it up. Go back to a “steady” day job and settle for less than what I dreamed. It felt safe. It felt comfortable. It certainly fit within the shell I created, the boundaries that I put up to protect myself from hurt, from disappointment and from failure.
What I have since discovered is while our boundaries keep us feeling safe, they also keep us small. They stop you from taking “risks” and from following your heart. They limit your opportunities because what you dream about waits outside your comfort zone. If it didn’t we’d all be living extraordinary lives.
It’s your vulnerability that cracks those boundaries wide open! It breaks apart the limited beliefs and self-doubts that keep you stuck. It’s the willingness to let your dreams, your vision and your hopes be exposed that allows you to make them real. It’s also the first step in discovering your secret strength ~ knowing that your value, your success and your truth are not dependent upon anyone other than you.
Vulnerability is not something to hide, or to shy away from. It’s an opportunity to be willing to expose what you desire, to take a stand for what you want, and BE that. No more worries about what other people will think! No emotional attachment to the “yes’s” and the “no’s”! After all the fears and boundaries fall away, what you are left with is the pure desire to BE your brilliance and be of service in the way only you can.
I had a “yes-turned-no” just a few weeks ago. After discussing payment options and drafting her contract she thanked me for my time and the insights that she gained during her consultation but had decided to work with another coach.
Was I upset? No! I was honestly excited to see that she was still moving forward with coaching, something she clearly identified she needed and wanted in her consultation. I was concerned for her and the unexpected change of mind. I offered her the opportunity to consult again (my gift) to support her in exploring her shift in decision. She didn’t respond.
I don’t know why she changed her mind and that’s OK. I could have taken it personally. I could have felt rejected. I could have made it all about me. I didn’t. I don’t need to. It wasn’t about me. It was about supporting my client in making a clear decision that is in alignment with her truth and what she needs.
I’ve embraced my vulnerability. I’ve discovered the truth of who I am. I know my value and my vision. I don’t need the validation of others to believe in and pursue my dreams.
I’m not saying it was an easy lesson to learn. What I can tell you is that once you’ve embraced your vulnerability, you can truly be of service . . . because there’s no attachment to the outcome. You understand that you aren’t meant to help everyone. BE your brilliance and the people you are here to serve will find you. Those who say “no” are just meant to work with someone else.
Embrace your vulnerability. It truly is your secret strength.