How Vulnerable Are You???
11 Feb 2015
The issue of being vulnerable is quite a scary one for me to be honest. For a long time I could have been the poster boy for controlled, calculated moves. In some instances it served me well but I was always wrestling with extensive resistance to launching myself. Exposing myself and putting myself in a position of losing my security blanket to be faced with the cold winds of potential ridicule was the worst nightmare for me. My argument was always that I needed to be realistic, to be sure of the outcome of my actions. The thought of exposing myself used to scare me out of my wits. I was always hiding from the unknown, fearful of what might or might not happen, always trying to grab thin air and shove it into my pocket, an impossible feat indeed. I needed to accept that I am human and it’s okay to screw something up or make a fool of myself occasionally (with good intentions of course). It was not until I became part of a bunch of people known as Unshaken that I felt a massive shift, I let go and stepped into the flow.
Unshaken is a wonderful group of young people originating from my native Zimbabwe, a church musical group ministering though their brand of contemporary choral music fused with acapella harmonies. We used to spend our time busy being young and living our lives when we were done with our music sessions. Our business was musical performances as young Christians being useful in the spread of the Christian gospel. Through learning songs, trying out different parts, organising events and programs we would all make mistakes and sometimes embarrass ourselves. Roars of laughter and much teasing were characteristic of our times together. Everybody used to make mistakes, do something stupid, and embarrass themselves or the group. These ‘mad moments’ sometimes conjured up deep emotional reactions when you were on the receiving end but the beauty of it was that and nobody was ever safe. The frog could find itself on your side of the table at any given time. Through these moments of vulnerability we were able to forge a bond so strong that our vulnerabilities became the glue that bound us together. Our backgrounds did not matter, our education level was irrelevant, looks were not important, we were just vulnerable to each other through discord, embarrassments, failures, ridicule and many other experiences that made us all very comfortable in who we are as human beings. We were free to express ourselves, try out new things, and develop as individuals. More importantly we were free, confident and comfortable be our true selves despite our vulnerabilities. As a result we made many priceless memories together, had wonderful successes and became friends for life. As for me I developed confidence in who I am and that changed my life forever, I learnt that mistakes do happen and vulnerability is no weakness. I also enjoyed my earliest experiences in visionary leadership through this group.
I’m hopeful that this story impresses upon you that being vulnerable is no limitation to living the life that you choose to live, experiencing success or achieving the goals you set for yourself. Sometimes the thought of being vulnerable feels like your teeth are being pulled out but this is nothing but an illusion for indeed your true self actually comes alive when you put your heart on the line and expose yourself.
There is a risk a potential risk that we must address though. Sometimes when you open up to your vulnerabilities you may be exposed to painful experiences, maybe heartbreak, maybe failure and ridicule. That is why I always advise against taking uncalculated risks. Embracing vulnerability means it’s ok to slow down and calculate but when you finish calculating the risk and analysing it, put away the calculator, roll up your sleeves, grab your backpack and launch out intelligently without worrying about who will see you or what they will say when they see you or what they will think about what you are doing. Even if a setback hits you along the way, I encourage you to follow the words of one great African nationalist, intellectual and poet, Edison Zvobgo, who wrote the following words in his poem, A time to Rise;
“….Should you fall, rise with grace and without turning to see who sees, continue on your road, precisely as if nothing had ever happened…”
It takes courage to be vulnerable but it is absolutely essential to embrace our vulnerabilities. It is the precious ingredient that is necessary to enable us to be our true selves, to connect with others and to accomplishing our true purpose in this life.
Your take away from this piece is simple, feel the fear but go on and do it anyway. Do not avoid vulnerability, embrace it. Go out there, show up and claim the real you.