Vulnerability in communication




Let’s start with a straight question today. What’s the cost of vulnerability in your professional and personal life? What’s the value?

I see three options:

  1. You get what you ask for.  Yay, cool deal!
  2. You get denied.  Hey, at least you stepped up and asked, right?
  3. You get ignored.  That’s the worst. Feeling. Ever

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.” – Stephen Russel

I listened to a great TED Radio Hour last week titled “Maslow’s Human Needs”.  The Ted Radio Hour got me thinking about how I communicate on both a personal and professional level. Especially in Level 3 and 4, where Love/belong and Esteem reside. Which got me thinking about 98 other things…because that’s how my brain works. I also encourage you to check out Brene Brown’s TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability”.  She’s a great story teller.


“Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” Brene Brown

Truly speaking what’s on your mind, in a positive way and having your “voice” make sense is tough. I’m getting a little better at making my voice heard. I’m just not always that good at how I present my thoughts. Why is this important to me, and to you reading this?

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.” – Brene Brown

Perhaps this makes you feel a little more comfortable thinking about this topic or discussing with a SO or teammate at work, because someone else shares your concerns. We are certainly NOT along in this! Trusting someone enough to let your defenses down and speak up is not easy, but the rewards are there.

Benefits to “vulnerability”? Establishing and growing personal confidence, for one. Getting what you want?  Most likely, since if you never ask, you’ll never “get”, right? Moving forward in a relationship or in your workplace? Yes, you need to speak your thoughts clearly and confidently. Gaining respect, feeling that you’re being heard, getting that warm rush of “ahhhh….”

“As unique as we all are, an awful lot of us want the same things. We want to shake up our current less-than-fulfilling lives. We want to be happier, more loving, forgiving and connected with the people around us.” – Brene Brown

I will say that being vulnerable has pitfalls, and I’m sure we’ve all felt them.

There can always be a “no” and your idea/thoughts get shot down.  Ok, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You can always receive an enthusiastic “YES!” to your communication.  That’s a win-win for all involved!

The worst? Getting…..nothing. Crickets. Your thoughts were not even listened to, not even considered.  Swept away and ignored.  Your “voice” was ignored.  Your emotions were ignored. YOU were ignored.

That is the worst part about being vulnerable.  The silence.

Speak up anyway.  Be authentic, trust in yourself and your fellow human. You may just surprise yourself.

Be vulnerable, because as Brown states, “vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous.”





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