Is there strength in vulnerability?
With my new role overseeing my team, I’ve noticed that I’ve moved away from client appointments and moved into more of a leadership and management role. This role is one of the more challenging things I’ve experienced in my life. When I grew my business in sales, there were a lot of challenges regarding prospecting and getting new clients, but this is a different animal. I’ve found myself reading books and reaching out to great leaders and managers across the country. In doing so, I learned some things that I didn’t quite count on.
Part of the culture in which I was raised taught me that my worth as a person was in how hard I worked, how much I could achieve, how little I failed, how strong I appeared, and—overall—how much I had it together in the eyes of everyone else. Likewise, the more I failed or the weaker I appeared, the lower my worth was.
I’ve struggled in the past year wondering if this belief system makes any sense. As a kid, I acted a certain way and did certain things to gain the acceptance of those around me. As an adult, I’ve developed some different personas and habits to appear smarter or better or stronger than I actually am and not show weakness. In sales, there’s a time and a place for that, but I still wondered whether that behavior came from a place of strength or not. I began to think that it doesn’t—it comes from a place of fear, weakness, and concern. In other words, I can’t be vulnerable because I’m afraid of what other people might think.
Some of the people I look up to most are those who are willing to be vulnerable. Some of the leaders I found myself following are those who have the strength to be vulnerable and are comfortable showing failure regardless of what other people think.
This might seem like common sense to you, but for me it’s constituted a bit of a breakthrough this year. As I transition from a salesman position to more of a leader/manager role, one of the most challenging things for me was being vulnerable and being OK with failure in front of my team.
If I can be open about my fears and weaknesses, I think it also gives those around me the opportunity to empathize, have the space to be OK with their own failure, and ultimately be empowered to fail. From that, they have the opportunity to grow, learn, and improve. If I create an environment where fear and vulnerability are shamed, I don’t leave room for people to take risks and grow as leaders in our organization.
That’s why my hope and commitment for 2018 is to make being vulnerable a priority. Not only for my own growth, but for the growth of my fellow agents, our staff, agents I’m affiliated with, and others around me. My hope is this will make us better business people as well as better husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, etc.
If you have any insight into leadership you’d like to share, I’m all ears. This is a challenge that has brought me outside my comfort zone, and I want to soak up as much information as I can.
If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.