I am a huge fan of Brene Brown and her work in this area. Recently I had the opportunity to be on a webcast with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love and more recently Big Magic. In this webcast she shared some incredibly powerful insights. One was around how vulnerability unlocks magical connection.
I had a profound example of this show up in one of my private fitness accountability groups this past week. For the week I asked the group to post a screen capture of their daily nutrition tracker. The goal of posting was accountability & reflection. Each day I asked them to track honestly and without judgement. And then at the end of the day post it with one thing they were proud of (celebrating their success) and one thing they will work on tomorrow (mini-goals). The objective was to become more aware of their nutrition choices. Not with the goal of perfection, but with the goal of progress. At the end of the week I asked them what their biggest take-away from the week of tracking was. One of the unexpected answers was “it was great to see that not everybody is perfect.” #amen
The goal wasn’t about being perfect. There is no such thing as perfection (especially in fitness & nutrition)! There is just progress & honouring your own body. But the vulnerability of sharing trackers without judgement created a space of relateness & connection. And that opened the door to greater self-acceptance. WOW! Beautiful stuff.
I invite you to consider being more vulnerable. Consider that being more vulnerable may actually open doors and create greater, deeper connections with the people in your life (or with people you don’t even know). It’s easy to get caught up in the perfection trap. Look around on social media — people mostly share the “good stuff” – ROCKING their workouts, their beautiful meals, their well appointed children. People don’t usually post the mornings they hit snooze, the fast food meal they ate or the tantrums and snot. But the second set of examples, THAT is real life (the good stuff is too – but it’s BOTH that make life magical). The good, the not so good, and the downright UGLY. But when nobody talks about the tough stuff…it’s easy to start to feel like it’s not there.
So, how can you use vulnerabilty to unlock connection?
SHARE. Be honest. Be open. But do it with purpose.
Brene Brown makes the distinction between vulnerability & floodlighting. It’s the difference between sharing an insight with honesty & grit AND airing your dirty laundry.
Airing your dirty laundry makes people feel uncomfortable (you know what I’m talking about – we’ve all been in one of those conversations, likely on both sides!). Don’t do that. Share with purpose. Sharing with an intention (vulnerability) helps people feel like they’re not alone! That they TOO have these struggles. Connection.
Try it on. Try sharing something – when the time is right – and share it with purpose.