I was talking with a friend the other night about some amazing events that are transpiring in my personal life - amazing, but a bit anxiety-ridden nonetheless. Very long story short - I am adopted and talked with the mom who gave birth to me for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and am scheduled to meet her (in person) next week. In an initial two-hour conversation, I discovered that I have two younger brothers, a grandmother, several aunts and uncles, a sister-in-law, and a niece - and that's in addition to my other family. While I am enjoying this experience, I feel a little vulnerable too. I'm a bit of a "closed book" in my personal life, so opening my world to an entire set of new people is a bit daunting. After listening to me share my excitement and anxiety, my friend noted that it takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable. As leaders, I think we often forget that vulnerable does not mean weakness. Vulnerable does not mean out of control. Vulnerable does not mean your followers will walk away. Vulnerable means being real. Vulnerable means being you. Vulnerable means admitting when you are conflicted. Vulnerable means opening your mind - and your heart.
As I have attempted to "put into practice" what my friend noted, I have seen pretty cool results. The more "vulnerable" I allow myself to be in talking with my family, the more I find to be thankful for - and my anxiety fades as well.
Be courageous. Be vulnerable. Becky