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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

A Coffee Break of Inspirational Leadership: Vulnerability

Being vulnerable didn't come easy for me. I grew up in a world of judgment in ways that often felt harsh. Mean. Inconsiderate. In many ways it hardened me to be more sterile to those I didn't know, perhaps in a way to protect myself.

It wasn't until I had a heart to heart with a true leader who embodied what I was seeking....missing. It helped me see that my desire to be safe was compromising my ability to connect with others. Its sad to say that my female role models weren't all that great at coaching in this way, so a colleague who was a mentor as part of a formal mentoring program helped me learn some valuable lessons about being true to myself and letting others in.

As I moved up higher into leadership roles in public education, I've often had to be reminded about the power of being vulnerable. And there have been times along the way where additional experiences have highlighted the importance of letting down my guard to not distance others.

Connectivity in a world of connectivity is an area we have to work through...regularly. The hustle and bustle of a technologically "on" world where we wait for little and rush though a lot reminds us that our work is also about letting others see us in situations where we might struggle, in roles that may be a stretch, in stopping ourselves in relationships to share what certainly feels scary and uncertain.

Am I making sense? Can you relate? Even Mother Theresa made mention of it in the above quote, and modeled it well. So...where to start?

What about being honest about past pains at work or in life? Telling our stories help others see us in a different light, in ways that make us more alike than different. Paying attention to the sharing of others and acknowledging with a warm smile? That helps too. Try speaking your mind by using terms that highlight the difficulty with explaining how we feel. Sometimes ground rules, especially with larger groups, can assist in this regard.

Being vulnerable is about being courageous, and it isn't easy. It is a work in progress, just as much as we as leaders are a work in progress.

Want more on vulnerability - read about it, watch it, and share it. Ready? Go!

I just loved this article from Greater Good's online magazine, a research program out of the University of California, Berkeley. The Greater Good seeks to help others find a more balanced, fulfilling life and the betterment of the world out there. In this article, about a five minute read, it highlights how we find others more endearing when we see them as vulnerable, but don't often practice it as much ourselves. Good thoughts for a Monday.

Take a look and read it HERE.

This is a quick 20 minutes, but Brene Brown speaks to the heart of opening up, being true, taking risks, and seeing vulnerability in a whole new light. Trust me!

* Share it.

Can you print these and share them? Notes to colleagues on key topics like taking risks...being vulnerable. Print in color on cardstock …. practically free! Here are a couple to consider…. and to give frequently. It’s up to us to remind others that being human is about taking risks and sharing ourselves in uncomfortable ways with others.

Now go slay yet another week!

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