How many times have you ever had to set aside all that you knew? All of the confidence that you had in a particular specialty, industry, or area of interest? How many times have you placed your success completely in the hands of strangers?
If you can answer “Yes” to these questions, you also understand how liberating vulnerability, and it’s big sister, “trust”, are to your psyche. Many of us in business have a difficult time exposing ourselves to such vulnerability. After all, confidence in an industry or specialty is what got us to where we are. Of course, we are the experts. Can’t you tell? I have mentioned in previous posts how this attitude holds us back, so I won’t delve into that here. And, this is NOT a self help blog, so don’t feel a need to sign off.
This is about how being vulnerable can open you up to new ideas and new ways of doing things will expand your thinking. I am currently involved in a project that requires my expertise and knowledge as the core product. However, in order to properly market this product, I must completely trust the expert opinion of others to drive the strategy. I have to rely on others, who do this for a living, to guide me in the next steps and tell me what to do. For a leader that has achieved a great deal in his career, this can be a bit uncomfortable. Actually, it is very uncomfortable. Aren’t leaders supposed to lead and not be led?
This said, I must admit that I am learning so much more about the way things work in the space where I need help. I am soaking it in and loving every minute of it. I am blessed to have to five different marketing companies working with me to create and implement a marketing plan that I hope will produce the desired results for this new product launch. To have this type of collaboration is both humbling and amazing to me. I am humbled by the passion that my partners feel for this project and am grateful for their support and enthusiasm. I also get to watch how certain marketers approach the same opportunity from their respective position of strength. And we have a great marketing plan that not only involves four domestic marketing partners, but one from South Africa as well.
It is said that “Learning begins at the edge of discomfort.” I am living this axiom as we speak. I have learned that being vulnerable isn’t so bad. I still question things that I don’t understand to learn why our team is taking a certain approach. This allows me a slight bit of control over events happening around me and for me. “Trust, but verify.” as Ronald Reagan said. And vulnerability, along with new learnings, helps me to be more effective in what I do with clients, allowing me to share new perspectives with them as they grow their businesses too.
Being vulnerable, with the right team, can be OK. If you are too afraid to allow some look vulnerability, then you are holding yourself back. You must acknowledge what you don’t know. We all know that it is impossible for any one person to be an expert at everything. We need a team if we want to flesh out the very best ideas. We need to be candid in sharing what we know and don’t know. We need to trust our partners and their expertise. We need to beleive that strength comes from many, not one.
Most of all, we need to understand that it all begins with allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable.