“Your problem, Martin, is that you’re afraid to be vulnerable”.
I reflected for a moment.
And I realised:
It’s not that I don’t want to show my vulnerable side – the problem was that I didn’t trust her enough to be vulnerable around her.
And at that moment, I also realised the relationship was coming to an end.
Now let’s change tack, and translate vulnerability to business.
They say that being vulnerable is a key strength, and I agree.
And over the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering:
Am I being vulnerable enough – with you, my readers and clients?
It’s not that I’m prone to holding back, but am I showing you the real me, including those aspects I’d rather keep to myself?
The author and speaker Brené Brown says that ‘what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful’.
Which I find a lovely way of looking at things.
She also talks about a ‘vulnerability hangover’ – when you’ve opened up about something, and the next day you heart jumps: “Oh my god, did I really share that?”
And the truth is, I rarely feel that way.
There’s been a few moments – like when I wrote an article entitled ‘Make it hard, she said – and then we ended up having tea’.
That gave me a vulnerability hangover, to be sure.
And last Friday, when I sent an email to a friend.
In it, I told her my answer to the question posed the night before:
“Martin, what’s your ultimate ambition?”
The answer I gave, and which I told her in the email, still confuses and scares me.
Even now, writing this, I feel nervous and jittery.
My friend didn’t reply instantly, like she normally does.
And so I had a massive vulnerability hangover for a few days: Had I shown too much of myself?
And here I am, wondering if I should tell you what my ‘ultimate ambition’.
I don’t want to, it scares me, and I’m worried about all kinds of opinions you might have of me.
But since I preach that it’s healthy to move towards fear, I’ve no choice to eat my own dogfood, and share with you.
My ultimate ambition?
That my headstone will read: “Without Martin, humanity might not have survived”.
So there, I said it.
And I’m SO aware of the conceit present in that statement.
Who, ME? Having such an impact on the world?
C’mon Martin, you’re just a guy.
Who are you kidding?
The world needs you that bad?
I don’t know, and I don’t care.
All I know is that I want to have the biggest impact on the world I possibly can.
And my every day is dedicated to working on that.
Meanwhile, I sure hope the world will never depend on me for its survival, because I don’t know if I have it in me.
But still. My mission is there.
So there you have it, my ultimate ambition.
I hope it’s vulnerable enough for you.
Hey, so but: what about you?
What’s the vulnerable side of you, that you’d want to show but are afraid to?
And: what would your life be like, if you’d show it?