Change Courage Growth Self awareness Trust

Vulnerability is a differentiator.

Being vulnerable is something very pure, personal, transparent, and authentic.

What’s your first reaction when you see this headline?

When I read this quote last week, my brain went into a pirouette that would have won gold at the most recent Olympic Games.

Meaning that for me there are different twists to this quote with both positive and negative implications.

While the author’s intentions were positive, it’s easy to point at the downsides of demonstrating vulnerability as well. In this insight, I’ll address both sides of the coin.

The point with vulnerability is vulnerability.

There, you have it. You just received a little piece of my brilliance. Now you know exactly what I mean, don’t you?

Seriously, what I mean is that demonstrating vulnerability, or perhaps being vulnerable is a better description, is something very pure, personal, transparent, and authentic.

When someone shows vulnerability, you get to see inside the person and discover who this person really is.

When someone is willing to show you their vulnerability, there’s a high degree of trust that you won’t abuse this level of transparency.

Your reaction to this willingness, which in some cases may have taken a lot of courage, is crucial.

If you can’t handle the responsibility on your end, it may well end the relationship you have with that person.

The above explains why vulnerability can be a potential differentiator and touches on the problem with vulnerability.

The problem is with a few words I wrote in the last few paragraphs.

Show. Demonstrate. Transparency. Authenticity.

Being vulnerable makes the conversation real. And you know as well as I do how it feels to have an honest conversation versus a fake conversation.

You know when someone shows up and makes it real.

You also know when the opposite happens or when you’re not being real in a conversation.

You’ve met those people who pretend to be vulnerable, but it’s merely a show or a demonstration. There’s nothing authentic and transparent about it.

Just scroll down your social media account and see the fake world at work.

It pays off to be visible.

Heck, if you want to accomplish something in this modern world, you’ll have to be visible.

You have to show and demonstrate. I get it, and I understand it.

When people don’t know you, they won’t like you. And when people don’t like you, they won’t easily trust you.

Know. Like. Trust.

So you have to show up and show who you are to gain traction.

But don’t pretend to be vulnerable when you’re not. Don’t abuse vulnerability for material gain. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

That’s not how differentiation works. Most people see right through that.

I prefer you to remain reserved and protective of your vulnerability rather than show up insincere.

But, when you have surrounded yourself with the right people, you will find that relationships and opportunities open up when you are vulnerable.

This requires you to choose to show a little more of yourself, your insecurities, your emotions, your questions, or whatever else is on your mind.

You’ll find yourself having conversations you never thought were possible before.

That’s what this differentiation is about. But it’s delicate.

Your turn: Yes or No to vulnerability.

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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