Authenticity and Vulnerability

Brené Brown, Daring GreatlyHave you ever been thinking about something and then suddenly it’s everywhere? I feel it’s a sign you’re on the right track, keep going.

It’s about authenticity and vulnerability. It started with reading Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly. Then, in a Facebook group, someone shared an article about the topic, and Brené Brown’s response. And then a YouTube personality I sometimes watch was very vulnerable in a video and that made me think about authenticity. And finally, this morning in the Momentum Mastermind, it became a subject of discussion.

Ohh, I have so many thoughts and experiences I could share (and the ladies in the Mastermind only heard the tip of it, truly).

The quote that comes up for me again and again is, of course, from Brené Brown in Daring Greatly:

Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.

Here’s the part to pay particular attention to: people who have earned the right to hear them.

Now, let’s add this quote, also from Brené Brown:

Vulnerability without boundaries leads to disconnection, distrust, and disengagement.

Think of it this way, if I was a stranger and walked up to you in Target and started to tell you my thoughts on authenticity and vulnerability – you’d think I was really weird and want to get away from me pretty quick. Right?

That interaction would lead to you distrusting me and pretty much wanting to put as much space between the two of us as possible.

However, it doesn’t seem odd at all to read this. You’ve chosen to be here. You’re interested in the topics and the tidbits I share. And you’ve earned the right to hear them.

Now, if I shared all about my relationship with my husband – you might wonder if you’re in the right place. That’s not the relationship we have here through this newsletter. AND you’re not expecting it.

So, the question becomes: how vulnerable and authentic can/should you be in your business? What are those boundaries? What have they (whoever they are for you) earned the right to hear from you?

Those aren’t easy questions to answer, especially when this is so true:

Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me. I’m drawn to your vulnerability but repelled by mine.  – Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

Your clients, your potential clients, your peeps, whoever you want to connect with wants and yearns for seeing vulnerability and authenticity in you. AND it feels sooo scary and yes, maybe even repelling to you (I know sometimes it does for me).

No one can tell you where your line between being vulnerable and over-sharing is.

Here’s what I’ve found helpful:

  1. I have a couple of really great friends, who are also entrepreneurs and write blogs, that I can run things by when I think I might have crossed that line. Who are those people for you?
  2. I ask myself am I sharing to connect or to make myself feel better? And if it’s to make myself feel better, it’s probably better kept in the drafts folder and maybe it will be rewritten later.
  3. I think of one specific person to write to (not a super close friend). Will sharing this be helpful or am I over-sharing?
  4. I’ve created a few unsaid boundaries around who/what I share about and how I share it.

Again, there are no hard and fast rules.

Final question: How can you bring more of you, wonderful person that you are, to your business? To your networking? To your marketing? To everything that you do?