So at the May monthly luncheon my emotions snuck right up on me and I had an ugly cry in front of 150 of you. The same thing happened at Athena. This happened to the person who says “I am not usually an emotional person.” Well, clearly that is not true. I am packed full of emotions; I just don’t always like showing them. I was raised with the motto of “Never let them see you cry/sweat/bleed.” But the older I get the more that fades as life gets more real by the day.
Many of us were taught that there is no place for emotions in the business world. It makes you look weak. It makes you vulnerable to attack. I am not an expert on this topic and can only espouse my opinions. I have a lot of emotions and they have a place in my professional and personal life. Vulnerability has a place in my life. It makes me a better person and a better leader. It’s not comfortable, in fact, it can be agonizing…like feeling a dork for crying in front of 150 people…twice.
If you have not listened to Brene Brown’s TED talk or read one of her books, I high recommend it. In her TED she says “vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.” To get more of the later we have to embrace the first. In my mind it’s like eating spinach or kale, you don’t like it but it makes you healthier and happier. I want more of both of those!
As my year as chair closes out, it is important to tell you all that my journey in Women’s Network has helped be find this vulnerability and embrace it; to no longer see it as a weakness, but as openness. From walking into a meeting where you are uncomfortable and feeling unworthy to that ugly cry. It is easy to ignore this side of life and be “on” for a meeting but it is a hell of a lot easier to just be real. This year in Women’s Network has upped my real factor by about 1000%. It has pushed my vulnerability into the realm of courage, creativity and change. This was an unexpected gift I am forever grateful for receiving. As you are on your journey with Women’s Network, look for these gifts and more importantly accept them. They are everywhere and they are priceless.
Other Brene Brown Quotes:
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
“Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.”
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”