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29 Jun 3 Simple Ways To Harness The Power Of Vulnerability

Recently I made a pretty big mistake.

I sent out an email to my list that, instead of starting with the person’s first name, “Dear ,” it said…

“Dear {first name}”

The irony was that the email was about my article Why You Suck At Remembering Names (And What To Do About It). There was a typo in the mailing system code that lead to the glitch.

I decided that instead of ignoring it, I’d send a follow up message to my readers taking responsibility for my mistake.

What I didn’t expect was that email to be read and replied to more than any other email I’ve sent.

By sending that followup email, I allowed myself to be vulnerable.

As a presenter, I practice and rehearse to make sure my presentations (along with the execution of my magic) is perfect. As a business owner, I want my brand to be professional so people will hire me.

By sending that follow up email, it challenged both of those identities. And I was rewarded with countless emails where subscribers offered their own words of encouragement and connection.

Vulnerability Takes Courage

If you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable, you wear a facade of strength. When you shine a light on something you would rather hide under a rug, you expose yourself. And that can be scary.

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is risky. You risk people not accepting you, feeling embarrassed or lonely. The irony is, the lack of vulnerability can actually create rejection, embarrassment and isolation.

Vulnerability Fuels Empathy 

While I pride myself on my ability to be authentic on stage, (except for the fact that, as a magician, I’m constantly lying) I don’t always step out from behind my façade of strength. Like most people, I like to feel strong and in control. However, I do occasionally gather the courage to be more vulnerable and share a very personal story. When I do, I’m amazed at the shift in the audience’s energy.

Speech bubbles illustrating being heard and understood by others

People lean in to listen.
Their eyes soften.
The whole room feels more connected and I can feel their empathy.

When you show vulnerability, the people around you can tap into their empathy because everyone has felt vulnerable at some point. It’s that empathy that helps develop relationships because everyone likes to feel that they are heard and understood.

Vulnerability Creates Trust

On those occasions that I’ve been vulnerable in a presentation, at least one person feels brave enough to share something personal with the group. And someone always comes and shares a story with me afterwards.

I’m confident that if it wasn’t for my taking the lead and showing my vulnerability, no one would trust me enough to share such personal information.

When you are brave enough to show your vulnerability, people trust you. They feel safe with showing you their own vulnerabilities.

Web of different people all connected

There is Great Power in Vulnerability

It’s scary to be vulnerable. I get it. Vulnerability is often confused with weakness. But I’ve found that each and every time I show my vulnerability, I am rewarded with a deeper connection to the people around me. As a person who thrives on collaboration and connection, I can tap into those relationships and do things I never could have done on my own.

Harness the Power of Vulnerability

So, are there opportunities in your life that you can start to show a bit of vulnerability? Here are three ways you can start:

1. Own your mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s just a fact of life. You have a choice in how you react to your own mistakes. You can ignore them and hope everyone else does too. Or you can be open to the growth that comes from admitting your errors. It was embarrassing to own up to the “firstname” email glitch, but it lead me to some great connections and learning.

EVERYONE understands what it feels like to be vulnerable. When you realize that showing your vulnerability can create deeper connections, it’s easier to be the brave one who gets the truth train rolling.  Then everyone can benefit from more genuine interactions.

2. Admit your blindspots

Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. What might seem obvious to one person can be invisible to the next. When you’re faced with a situation where others seem to know more about what’s going on, don’t be afraid to admit your lack of knowledge. As long as you do this genuinely, most people will help bring you up to speed.

3. Vulnerability as a Power Word

If you’ve read many of my articles and posts, you know that I’m a firm believer in Power Words. A Power Word is a theme that guides your actions. It describes a quality you want to cultivate (such as vulnerability or gratitude). By committing to a Power Word, even for a short period of time, you have an anchor to bring your focus back to that quality.

I’ve been practicing my Power Words (Gratitude and Savour) for 2 years and the impact has been tremendous. You can see my progress on Instagram.

Power Words work because they are an easy and effective way to create change in bite size chunks.

If you haven’t already picked a Power Word, I highly recommend playing with Vulnerability.

For more information get the free Little Book Of Power Words: Tricks and Tools To Create Magic In Your Life. 

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2 Comments
  • Michael Zroback
    Posted at 10:17h, 30 June Reply

    Great article, Dan! What a great way to deal with a mistake.

    • Dan
      Posted at 12:22h, 05 July Reply

      Thanks Michael. I’m glad you liked it. Don’t forget to check out the Little Book of Power Words.

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