The Blog + Video Series #15 – The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

The Transformation Video Series

I’ve written a lot about vulnerability lately. Why? Well, for many years, I avoided vulnerability at all costs. Really, I did. I was not interested. Actually, I was disinterested to the point of high levels of anxiety. Today? Not the case.

Today I believe that, although being vulnerable is hard work, it is where all the wonders of being a human being live.

Wonders like innovation, resilience, love, compassion, and much more.

In fact, writing an article like this just a short two years ago would have been impossible. Too vulnerable, too much unknown, too much anxiety. We can pretend, or feel as if, anxiety is only our issue. Let me tell you unequivocally, it is not.

Many, many people all across the world suffer from anxiety. An aside, real quick, promise.

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Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

I was once in a therapist’s office, and they were talking to me about anxiety levels, and I said something like, I believe the entire population of the United States suffers from low-grade anxiety. What did they say? Yep, that’s true.

Now, I could write more about that, however, I’d like to get back to the current topic. Vulnerability.

I believe that vulnerability is important to our individual development. Showing us where we have growth opportunities if we choose, to be vulnerable, and grow into and eventually out of these opportunities. That’s development.

I also believe that vulnerability is a transformational space, which anyone can enter. Of course, of their choosing, when they are ready. What happens, you ask, when you are vulnerable on a regular basis?

Well, many things. However, I think there are 4 things that are distinct to being vulnerable where we get back much more by being vulnerable than we do by making the choice to not be vulnerable.

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Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

Alright, here, then is

The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

1. Connection

There is something about being vulnerable that exposes us to more of our own humanity. And, when we are exposed to more of our humanity, we get to know more about everyone else’s humanity. It works that way.

And knowing both about our own humanity, while also knowing about everyone else’s, gives us more sight about our shared humanity.

Connecting more deeply to the similarity of those around us. When we can connect with others in that way, we get more out of our relationships. Really.

Think about the relationships you have. Are you able to be vulnerable? Hm. If not, well, you may want to rethink those relationships. Why?

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Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Because to be vulnerable you must be in a context that is safe, and with people that you trust. If you are not, vulnerability is way too scary, and rightfully so.

When we are vulnerable, we are exposing parts of ourselves that we don’t normally expose. And, it takes safety and trust to get there. It does.

Therefore if you are in relationships with people where vulnerability is out of the question, I would question the need for those relationships. Hard. Yet, might be needed.

When we are in a safe space, with people we trust, we can be more open, and inside of that openness, being vulnerable becomes more available.

And, as was aforementioned, when we get to share that vulnerable space with someone else, we transform that relationship into something quite different. Beautiful.

2. Compassion

Another quite lovely byproduct of being vulnerable is the opportunity to develop more compassion.

See, when we are vulnerable, we have the opportunity to experience grace for ourselves in doing something that makes us either nervous, fearful, or anxious.

We may not always extend ourselves that grace and the accompanying compassion, yet it is there. As was aforementioned, I was actively disinterested in vulnerability for many years. Over 20 in fact.

However, that does not mean I was never vulnerable. I was. And, inside of those vulnerable moments, some of which were long moments, I did not extend myself grace, nor the accompanying compassion. Nope.

Yet, know that developing more compassion for yourself inside of being more actively vulnerable, is possible. How do I know? Because I am actively vulnerable on a regular basis today. Every day in fact.

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Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

Anyone that participates in contexts and experiences that stretch them, that make them feel vulnerable, deserves grace and compassion; and, I can provide both to myself today. Growth.

Another opportunity inside of being vulnerable more often, and developing more compassion for yourself, is that you will also develop more compassion for others. It works that way.

Anytime we can extend ourselves more of something, we can now also extend it to others. And, believe me, everyone can use more grace and compassion today. Seriously.

Inside the space, you create to be more vulnerable, while extending to yourself and everyone else around you more grace and compassion, you have transformed yourself and that relationship.

In those precious moments, our shared humanity is realized, and we can recognize ourselves in each other. It is a beautiful experience. Connecting with another human being on that level is transformation.

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Photo by yulia pantiukhina on Unsplash

3. Courage

It takes courage to be vulnerable often; and, when we are more often vulnerable, we get to develop more courage and resilience. Often, I think, people believe that some people have courage and resilience and others do not. Not true.

Like any other skill set, courage and resilience can be developed.

You can grow yourself into a more courageous and resilient self by doing things that are outside of your comfort zone.

And, it just so happens that being vulnerable is outside of most people’s comfort zone. I would actually argue that it is outside of everyone’s comfort zone. That is the nature of vulnerability inside of being human.

When we create the opportunity to grow into a more courageous and resilient self, we also get to model that behavior for people around us.

Family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and, yes, even people we don’t know at all. Inspiring.

And, inside of creating more inspiration in this world by being more open and vulnerable, developing ourselves, while also showing others that developmental growth is possible for them too, you get transformation.

Transformation for yourself, yes; and, transformation for those that choose to journey with you into vulnerable situations and contexts, which are created by stepping out of your comfort zone and into spaces that are vulnerable.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

4. Collaboration

When we have deeper connections with ourselves, and likewise, with people close to us, built upon safety and trust, there is an increased likelihood of more collaboration. Fun.

Though I think I’ve always naturally gravitated towards collaborative contexts and people that share a collaborative spirit with me, I was not always available to these types of contexts or people.

Remember, I actively avoided and resisted my own vulnerability for a long time, which also means that I, in many ways, missed out on deeper relationships with people where collaboration was more possible.

Now, I am surrounded by these types of contexts and people.

Even with people that I at one time did not share this type of connection, that connection is more apparent today. And, it can be for you too.

When we are available to a natural human inclination within us to share ourselves with others, to connect with them deeply, and to share all that we have to offer, we are or have become natural collaborators. Really. At that moment, or in those moments, it is true.

A byproduct of entering into collaborative contexts more regularly also means that there is a higher likelihood for innovation to occur. And, inside of innovative contexts transformation is regularly apparent. Why?

Because when we are vulnerably collaborating, we are out on a limb, deeply connected to others in that safe and trusting context, where courage flourishes, as does innovation. And, what often follows innovation is transformation.

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Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash

Closing

In closing, I will also offer that where there is the possibility of developing more of a vulnerable self, there is also the possibility of developing less nervousness, fear, and anxiety.

What I’ve learned in the past three years, is that avoiding and resisting things that make us uncomfortable only brings more nervousness, fear, and anxiety. An example? Sure.

When I was working in the private sector, before going back to University at 33, I worked for several large corporations; and, at one of them, I wanted desperately to be promoted into a leadership role.

Well, at that time, I had a great supervisor and mentor, and that goal became a reality.

As many of you know, when you are in leadership roles, the need to speak in front of groups, your team, business, or organization is rather mandatory. It’s part of it. How did I feel about that? Horribly anxious. Really. Sky-high anxiety.

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Photo by Product School on Unsplash

I remember the first time being in front of the group, I would eventually lead, at a district meeting. I had a 5-minute speech to give. 5-minutes, that’s all. Might as well have been an hour. Phew.

I was so anxious that the paper I was using for a guide, actually I was reading directly from it, was shaking like a leaf in my hand. Actually, my whole body was shaking like a leaf. Really.

Well, I continued to take on small parts in the meetings, 5 minutes became 10, and 10 developed, over time, into giving entire 1 to 1.5-hour district meetings to the group by myself. The point?

It took time. One step at a time. Bite-sized chunks, as they say, within a context where safety and trust were present.

And, yep, I developed more courage, resilience, much deeper connections with that team, and we did become highly collaborative. Fun.

Since that time, I’ve led several teams, including the team I am on right now and have taught at University. Transformation.

And, you can also be a part of a vulnerable transformation. It’s not complicated, yet it is, as we’ve discussed. Difficult.

Yet, when you take it one step at a time, one action at a time, knowing that it is a process, not a light switch, you can rest in ease knowing that if you persist you will be doing vulnerability more often.

And, guess what? Without even knowing it you will have developed deeper connections, more compassion, and courage, and you will probably find yourself in collaborative contexts more often.

Vulnerability is transformational, and you can partake in it if you choose. Choose well.

Photo by Edurne Chopeitia on Unsplash

#emotionalintelligence, #growth, #leadershipdevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandcollaboration, #vulnerabilityandcomfortzone, #vulnerabilityandcompassion, #vulnerabilityandconnection, #vulnerabilityandcourage, #vulnerabilityandleadership, #vulnerabilityandresilience, #vulnerabilityandstrength

The Transformation Video Series – The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve created a video. Was fun to be back in front of you in this medium. The importance of reconsidering how we think about vulnerability is important. Here, then, is the 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational.

Be well. Lead well. Be vulnerable.

#developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #selfdevelopment, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandcollaboration, #vulnerabilityandcomfortzone, #vulnerabilityandcompassion, #vulnerabilityandconnection, #vulnerabilityandcourage, #vulnerabilityandleadership, #vulnerabilityandresilience, #vulnerabilityandstrength

Vulnerability and Resilience

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Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

Last week I wrote the article, Vulnerability A Paradox, for the blog, Lampelina, which I really enjoy. Writing this article got me thinking more about vulnerability.

I then wrote the articles, The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is transformational; and 10 Reasons Why Embracing Vulnerability as a Strength is Important to Your Development.

As I was finishing these posts, and reflecting upon all of these articles, I realized there was more to say. Specifically, more to say about vulnerability and resilience. Let’s take a look, shall we.

Vulnerability and Resilience

What do vulnerability and resilience have to do with each other? Maybe it is readily apparent to you; yet, for me, the insight on these two just came this past week. Really. Funny how insight works. Fun.

Alright, before we get into our discussion, let’s define our terms. Important.

vulnerability

noun /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/ /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/[uncountable]

vulnerability (of somebody/something) (to something) the fact of being weak and easily hurt physically or emotionally

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

resilience

noun /rɪˈzɪliəns/ /rɪˈzɪliəns/(also less frequent resiliency  /rɪˈzɪliənsi/  /rɪˈzɪliənsi/)[uncountable]

the ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go.

Now, though I disagree with the above definition of vulnerability, it works in this particular conversation when we consider resilience as a counterpoint to vulnerability.

Counterpoint meaning that the more vulnerable you are, the more resilient you will become. We must add here, however, that being vulnerable must be done within a context where you are safe and there is trust. Imperative.

When you are in a context that has both safety and trust, being vulnerable suddenly becomes a possibility. Not easy, no. Yet possible.

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Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplash

And, within this possibility, there is space, yes, for development and growth, and yep, for transformation as well; and, there is also space to develop resilience.

You see, when we are open, meaning open to new things, new experiences, new unknowns, we are vulnerable. We have to be. Anytime someone says, you know, I don’t know the answer to that, or don’t know, they are immediately being vulnerable.

Think about how often you say, I don’t know. Humans do not like to not know. Period. We like to know, like to believe we have control, and that we look good and are often right.

However, within a context of looking good and being right, there is no room for growth, no room for vulnerability. You cannot be vulnerable if you know everything.

And, guess what? Even those that say they know, don’t know. Not everything. Not possible. The greatest minds of all time knew this truth.

Really, they did. Let’s take a look at one of them now. Here you go.

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Confucius

Awaken the Greatness Within

A great quote. What confucius is pointing to in this quote is that when we know the limit of our own knowledge, we are immediately open to learning. Right away.

This then is the real knowledge Confucius is talking about. Knowing that we don’t know everything. Knowing also that to own we don’t know, to be open to learning is being vulnerable. Wise.

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Photo by Andy Chilton on Unsplash

When we, however, act as if we know when we don’t, we are closed, and are also closed to learning. Simple. Unwise.

When we are open to being vulnerable, we can enter into contexts where we can learn more. More from people around us that are willing to share of themselves, as we are ready to share with them.

As we enter these vulnerable contexts, which can cause fear and anxiety, we begin to develop our resilience. Really. Right away.

Sometimes people think that being vulnerable means doing something way outside of our comfort zone. That’s possible, yet what is more probable is that we enter into vulnerable contexts, one step or action at time.

Taking small steps is important. And, guess what? Gradually those steps will become larger. Yep. Why?

Because as we develop and grow, what we know grows, just like our resilience, as does our comfort zone. Yep. And, when our comfort zone grows, we feel more comfortable being vulnerable more often.

Remember, however, that it takes time. Development is not a light switch. It is a process. One step and time.

What Can You Do?

When you are ready, take a step outside of your comfort zone into the land of vulnerability. You get to choose the size of that step.

Remember, it’s not about the size of the step, it’s about taking that step; and, taking that step when you are ready.

If you are not yet ready, that’s okay. It is. It’s not about the right or wrong time. It’s about sharing with each other that which we have to share; and moving ourselves and the people around us that we love forward. Doing so when we are ready.

And, you know what?

Know matter what other people have told you, you can do it. You are strong. You are powerful. You are beautiful. You are vulnerable and resilient.

#beingopen, #beingvulnerable, #comfortzones, #developingresilience, #developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #knowledge, #learningmore, #resilience, #selfdevelopment, #theunknown, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandresilience

3 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Building Relationships

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Photo by Liz Weddon on Unsplash

I originally conceived of this topic and the associated article as one for business. An article about how to create deep connections with the people we work with, and the people we’d like to work with.

However, after reflecting upon it throughout the day, it occurred to me that this topic is applicable to everyone. Why?

Well, relationships are the cornerstone of life. Really. Think about all of the people in your life. You have people that are very close to you, friends and family, work associates and colleagues, and, maybe a little further from you, aquantinaces, clients, and neighbors, to name a few.

And, connecting, really connecting with these people, all of them, requires understanding ourselves.

Understanding why we do the things we do, why we feel the way we do, and think the way we think. Knowing ourselves. Why?

Because in order to connect deeply with another human being we must know ourselves first. Then, we can know them; and, know them as deeply as we know ourselves. If, however, we only know ourselves on the surface, we will only ever know them in the same way. Not a deep connection then.

Alright, let’s take a look at three things you can do to build deeper connections with the people that are currently in your life, and the ones that will show up in the future. Ready? Let’s go.

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Photo by Mike Clark on Unsplash

1. Know Your Why

Remember being little where everything we saw, thought, and felt was done with a sense of wonder and amazement? Yep, me too. Well, does life still feel that way to you? If not, don’t worry, it’s not a demerit; and, you are not alone.

As we grow older, we lose some of that wonder and amazement. Yet, we can intentionally create opportunities to get it back. How?

First, we must get back in touch with the things that drive us. You know, the reasons that get us up in the morning. And, I’m not talking about intellectual reasons. Nope.

I’m talking about those things deep within us that make us the person we are today. Can you feel them? If not, don’t worry. They are there, and you can get back in touch with them.

In the post, 3 Reasons Why Creating Alignment With Your Why Is Important; And, 3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why, I walk through three simple steps you can take to create your why. If you’ve not created one, create one; if you have one, maybe take a look at it again. Why?

It’s important to connect deeply with that why, or to reconnect with it if it’s been a while. When we reconnect with the why of why we do what we do, we are actually reconnecting with the vision we have of ourselves as human beings. And, in that moment, we create new possibilities. Really.

Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash

When we know who we are, what we are up to in life, we can share that with others. We can touch someone else with the passion we have for life. Just like when we were little.

The reason people connect with children, watch them, smile at them, want to be around them, is that, to them, everything is a wonder.

They are a wonder. Everything is amazing. And, reconnecting with your why can move you in that direction.

Further, when you reconnect with yourself on that level, you can now connect with someone else at that level. Sharing something of yourself that, in some cases, as it was for me for a long time, was buried underneath other intellectual ideas, concepts, and pursuits.

Remember one thing. People are not moved by their intellect, or by their head, they are moved by their emotional-center, or ther heart.

Now, you may be wondering, alright, I’ve got my why, then what? Well, now you can create a statement about your why. Something that you can share with those close to you and those that are further removed from you. Anyone really.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

2. Create Your Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement is something you can create, which declares why you are doing what you are doing; it will also give the people you are connecting with a sense of who you are as a human being. Example? Sure.

Here is my why.

To increase access to higher education for everyone.

Right, yet there is more to it. Yep. Here, then, is also part of my why.

Develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Okay, so now lets fashion a personal mission statement. Ready? Okay, here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, and to develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Hm, that’s not quite right. It has the components, yet is not really getting at the crux of the why. Let’s try again. Here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, while also working with students and clients to develop their leadership skills, expand their creative potential, and assist in their personal transformation.

Closer. The point? That there is no one way to create a why, or a personal mission statement. They are yours, and should be created by you for you to share with others when you choose, and how you choose. Simple.

You must simply create from within you. Important. If you don’t, and it is something that you don’t really believe in, well, you will know, and so will everyone else. Believe me. They will know if it is not sincere.

And, really, the point is to deepen your connection with yourself, first, and then with other people. You want it to be real. Real from your heat to the hearts of others.

Alright, you’ve got your why and you’ve created a personal mission statement, now what? A reminder.

Photo by William White on Unsplash

3. Understand that Relationships are Everything

In the post, Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?, I write about understanding that every relationship in our life is important. All of them. That, in fact, everything we do, everything, is about the relationship we have with ourselves, first, and then with everyone else.

Remember the relationships system? Looks like this.

Pinterest

There we go. Alright, so as you can see from the above system, everything we do starts with us. Everything. And, then as you move from the center circle, out to each corresponding circle, all that we do, goes out to those closest to us, first, and then to those that are further from us.

And, what do they get from you? From me for a time, they got cynicism. Yep. Not a judgement, just the reality as it was, not as it is today. Today?

They get everything I can give them, just as I do for myself, including the why of what I do each and every day.

The coolest thing about sharing your why, your passion, purpose, whatever you want to call it, with others is that they then get to know you on a level that will inspire them. Really.

Think about the people in your life that inspire you. What do they do? I bet they are up to all kinds of cool things, creating change, transforming themselves, working at changing the world. One step at a time.

And, you know the second coolest thing about sharing your why with someone else? You get to learn about their why. Yep. You get to know them on a level that might not have been previously available.

These deep connections are what drive people together. Actually the more appropriate language here, would be that they pull people together. Pulled by inspiring ideas, yes, and by inspiring actions.

Inspiring people to be all they can be is a pretty cool thing; and, guess what? You can be a part of that kind of connection anytime. You can create it. Yep. How? Well, as I’ve mentioned it all starts with you.

Why do you do what you do?

#buildingrelationships, #creatingapersonalmissionstatement, #creatingconnection, #creatingdeeperconnectionswithothers, #creatingdeeperconnectionswithourselves, #creatingrelationships, #creatingyourwhy, #developinghighqualityrelationships, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #growth, #highly-effective-relationships, #highqualityrelationships, #huamndevelopment, #personalmissionstatement, #relationship-conversations, #relationship-development, #relationships, #relationshipsystems, #selfdevelopment, #transformational-relationships, #understandingrelationships, #workrelationships

3 Things You Can Do To Start Coloring Your Life Outside The Lines

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I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase color inside the lines. Maybe you were even told to do so. Well, consider that all socialization is about living inside the lines. The issue? Well, being socialized to live inside the lines means that living outside the lines, while possible, is hard to create.

Yet, it is possible. Yep. Let’s take a look at 3 things you can do to start coloring your life outside the lines.

3 Things You Can Do To Start Coloring Your Life Outside The Lines

Before we get too deep into our discussion, let’s define socialization. It’s topical to this conversation, and important.

socialization

noun /ˌsəʊʃəlaɪˈzeɪʃn/ /ˌsəʊʃələˈzeɪʃn/(British English also socialisation)[uncountable] (formal)

the process by which somebody, especially a child, learns to behave in a way that is acceptable in their society.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go.

Now, what does coloring inside the lines have to do with socialization? Well, socialization is the process of ensuring that children obey and act in accordance with particular expectations.

And, it is inside of these expectations where people learn to limit themselves again and again. How?

Well, as we mature we continue to repeat these acceptable behaviors into adulthood. And, often, in fact, probably more often than not, these behaviors actually work. We’ve learned how to make them work for us. Yet, they are still limiting.

Know that I am not arguing that socialization is a problem. Not entirely. I am arguing that socialization limits our creative potential. It keeps us inside of a very narrowly defined box (inside the lines) of what other people have determined is possible in this life, our life.

However, when we become aware of this fact, which can occur many different ways, we have the opportunity to learn to color outside of the lines. How, you ask. Alright, let’s look at a few.

Photo by Rohit Farmer on Unsplash

1. Ask Questions

One of the powers of language is the ability to ask questions. To question what we know, what we think, and what we are told. Socrates said something about asking questions. Hm. Let me see. Ah, actually it’s about knowing, and is still applicable. Here you go.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.“ – Socrates

Goal Cast

Now, here is a great quote about asking questions.

“The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.” – Sylvia Earle

Goal Cast

Now, you may be thinking, well, I’m not a scientist, or an explorer, so? Fear not. Everyone has the right to question. And, here is an invitation. Consider yourself an explorer, and your life an exploration. Fun.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

2. Embrace Vulnerability

I’ve written a lot about vulnerability of late. Am very present to it, in fact. Why? Well, it was something that I avoided, or resisted, for a time, and now? I am embracing it more and more every day.

Here is a quote I adore about vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” -BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Oh, and this one.

“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” -BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Excellent.

Learning how to embrace vulnerability is a necessity to develop and grow. It is. When you are vulnerable, you openly admit that you don’t know everything, that there is much to learn from everyone around you.

You also intentionally wade into uncomfortable developmentally appropriate contexts and conversations. Why? Because you are interested in growing, in developing.

Though uncomfortable, you realize that being in that context, in that conversation, is the way to increase your own resilience, and at the same time? Yep, grow your tolerance for engaging in vulnerable situations.

You also show that you know yourself enough to know that growing, stretching, and developing is something that you take a stand for; and, in many ways when you do this, you get back, yes, and? So, does everyone else. Really. You are modeling growth and development. Inspiring.

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash

3. Ask For Help

Right now, you may be thinking, wait, what? What in the world does asking for help have to do with my development? I understand. Stay with me.

Asking for help has to do with modeling humility. And, humility is a developmentally important concept. Let’s define it shall we?

humility

noun /hjuːˈmɪləti/ /hjuːˈmɪləti/[uncountable]

the quality of not thinking that you are better than other people; the quality of being humble

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go. Humility is important. When we show humility, we model the unknown. And, what have we learned about the known and the unknown? Well, factually there is much more to learn, than any one person, or even a collective of people know.

When we model the unknown, we model our support for development and growth. We show that we understand both with our head and our heart that we are just one part in the overall system of life on this planet.

We provide people around us with the knowledge that we are open, always actively seeking more information, more ideas, and more experiences that will help us grow and develop. And?

When we take action in this manner, we will get back way more from those around us. See, when we are open, people can see it, hear it, and feel it. Important. We create safety. Safety for them to be the human being they are. To share themselves with us; and, then we get to reciprocate.

We learn more. We become more. Fun.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Alright, there are 3 things you can do to start coloring your life outside the lines. Fun.

Remember, take it one action at a time. Meaning, when we are interested in coloring our life outside the lines, interested in developing and growing, in creating intentionally contexts to do so, it can sometimes be overwhelming.

Take your time. Take it one action at a time. Example? Sure.

If you usually don’t ask questions, next time ask one. Just one. Start from there. If you usually avoid vulnerable situations, next time you are faced with one, venture out and into that situation. See what you get back.

And, if you don’t ask for help, which is something I work at all the time, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Just try it once.

Developmental growth is a process, not a light switch. It takes doing things differently, creating that intention, and then acting upon it. One day at a time, one action at a time.

#askforhelp, #askquestions, #brene-brown, #developingourselves, #developingresilience, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #developmentandgrowth, #developyourself, #develping-resilience, #embracevulnerability, #emotional-development, #emotionalintelligence, #huamandevelopment, #self-development, #self-inquiry, #selfdevelopment, #socialization, #socrates, #socratesandknowledge, #vulnerabilityanddevelopmentalgrowth, #vulnerableascourageandstrength

An Insight, An Inspiration, and A Quote: On Being Vulnerable Often

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I’ve written about vulnerability several times, and am actually right now writing another post about how being vulnerable is actually transformational.

The insight you ask?

Alright, let’s go.

Insight

What you may not know is that in written language, the actual definition of vulnerability is associated with possible harm. Really. Take a look.

vulnerability

NOUN (vulnerabilities)

“The quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.‘conservation authorities have realized the vulnerability of the local population’” Oxford Languages

It was in the writing of the post on vulnerability and transformation that I learned this fact. Interesting. Though I understand why the definition of vulnerability is written as it is, I will offer you another definition of vulnerability to consider in a moment.

Here is the insight.

I believe that vulnerability is also associated with grit, persistence, and resilience. It must be. Why?

Because anyone who is open to being vulnerable regularly, has to also possess grit, persistence, and resilience. Why? Because being vulnerable is hard work. Simple.

I’ve written before that vulnerability is where the jewels of life are found. When we are open and willing to be vulnerable, we immediately get so much more out of life. Right away.

My invitation to you? Be vulnerable. Though it is sometimes hard, you will find more awaiting you in spaces of vulnerability than any other.

Photo by Bobby Johnson on Unsplash

Inspiration

I find everything in life inspiring. Really. Take a look around. Wonder is everywhere. And, I find people that venture into the unknown that much more inspiring. Why?

Because, yes, it is hard work; and, it is such a wonderful experience. A paradox. Really. Inspirational.

The department I work in, which includes over 200 people, is one such inspiration. Every one of them.

I’ve written about this team many times. I am so inspired by their vulnerability, courage, grit, persistence, and resilience.

In the face of unprecedented challenges, they continue to create new ways to access community education and training, which is needed now more than ever.

A wonderful group of people. I am very lucky.

Quote

Alright, here is a different way to think about vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Be well. Be vulnerable.

#courage, #determination, #emotionalintelligence, #grit, #humandevelopment, #persistence, #reslience, #selfdevelopment, #vilnerabilityandgrit, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityanddetermination, #vulnerabilityandleadership, #vulnerabilityandpersistence, #vulnerabilityandresilience, #vulnerable

An Insight From the Newly Developed Site: About the Head and the Heart

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

This weekend I reimagined the covid-19 creativity site and in its place created jefflesch.com. Why? It was time. When I originally created the COVID-19 site, I had no idea that I would end up writing all that I have.

It’s been a wonderful experience, one that will continue well into the future, as I have lots more to to tell you all about, and to discuss with you. 🙂

As I was reimagining the site I had an insight. Before we get to the insight, however, I am going to recreate the distinction between the head and the heart to aid in communicating this insight. Ready? Here we go.

About the Head and the Heart

I’ve written about the head (intellect) and heart (intuition) many times on this site. Sometimes, I’ve used head and heart, sometimes I’ve used intellect and intuition. The distinction? Alright.

When we use our head, we are leading with our intellect. That which we understand to be true about the world.

We’ve acquired some of this understanding from our parents and caretakers; and, some has come from schools, friends, and coworkers. Really anyone we have in our life.

On the other hand, when we use our intuition, we are leading with our heart. That which we know to be true about the world.

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Do you see the distinction?

With intellect we understand something to be true, and with intuition, we know it to be true. When we intuit something, we have a deep feeling that that something is true, or right. Or just as easily, wrong and false.

An important distinction.

The more you are connected to your intuition, the more accurate the knowing will be. If, however, you’ve been disconnected from your intuitive-self, the knowing can be more challenging. I would know.

Though my intuition has always been with me, for a long time, it was suppressed. Covered up by other things, like food and alcohol. Not the case today.

Alright, that’s the distinction. Now the insight? Alright, here we go.

An Insight From the Newly Developed Site

As I’ve written about before, I now work in education. I’ve worked in education full-time for the past 5 years, and combined with my part-time work, it’s been over 13 years. Long time.

Prior to going back to school at 33, I worked in the private sector, in sales and sales leadership. 16 years. Also a long time.

In my current job, I get to use both my practical work experience, and my educational experience. It’s a ton of fun.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

When I developed the leadership site, which is now no more, and the COVID-19 site, I didn’t realize I was actually creating an intellectual site and an intuitive site. No idea. Super cool insight.

As I reimagined and then created my website this weekend, it occured to me that the newly formulated site is a combination of both my head (intellect) and heart (intuition). I think that’s pretty cool.

Though it was never my intention to create two sites, one focused on my intellect, and one focused on my heart, it just sort of happened that way. What excites me most now?

That I now get to give you everything I’ve got. Both my head and my heart, right here. Exciting.

Alright, that’s the insight alongside the distinction about the head and the heart. Oh, one more thing.

Know that the head and heart, though separated in this post intentionally, are really one. They are connected, and work together, even when our intuition is covered up by other things.

What fun this journey has been. And, as the first chapter comes to an end, this next chapter is going to be so much fun. I look forward to writing to you, and discussing all with you.

Be well.

#emotionalintelligence, #head, #head-and-heart, #heart, #insight, #intellect, #intuition, #knowing, #understanding, #understandingversusknowing

The Blog + Video Series 11: A Journey from Breakdown to Breakthrough

Breakdown to Breakthrough

For most of my life I associated breakdowns with something to be avoided. An issue? Not necessarily. However, consider that breakdowns always lead to breakthroughs. And, without breakthroughs there is no movement. Movement, you ask?

I mean you cannot move your life into new realms of understanding and experience when you avoid breakdowns. Not possible. However, when you are open to an understanding that includes breakdowns and the associated breakthroughs as part of the human experience, you can move your life into new realms. Really.

Before we go further, let’s take a look at the definition of breakdown.

breakdown

Translate breakdown into Spanish

NOUN

  1. A mechanical failure.‘breakdowns could totally disrupt production’
  2. A failure of a relationship or system.‘a breakdown in military discipline’
    1. 2. A sudden collapse in someone’s mental health.‘Heather had a breakdown following the death of her sister’
  3. The chemical or physical decomposition of something.‘the breakdown of ammonia to nitrites’
    1. 3. An explanatory analysis, especially of statistics.‘a detailed cost breakdown’
  4. A lively, energetic American country dance.

Alright, let’s use 1.2 for the purposes of this conversation.

You may then ask, well, how do I become open to breakdowns as part of my regular daily experience? Ah, good. Let’s take a look at three things you can do every day that will ensure that you fully experience your breakdowns and the associated breakthroughs.

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Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

1. Welcome the Breakdowns

Often human beings avoid doing something new because we believe we need to look good and be right. Seriously. Take a moment right now, and really sit inside of this concept for a minute. And? Yep.

If you are really open to this conversation, you will agree that you too often avoid new experiences, because to be vulnerable and admit we don’t know is hard. Really hard.

Let me write that again. Being vulnerable and admitting we don’t know about something is hard. Really hard.

It is okay to acknowledge that; to admit this truth. It is. Admitting this truth simply means you are now aware that new experiences frighten people. With this new awareness you can now work from a space that allows for more openness. A paradox. Yep.

Actually becoming aware of this truth immediately opens you up. Right away. How? Because when we are no longer avoiding something about ourselves that we don’t like, and we embrace reality as it is, we create a new space within ourselves to know ourselves better, and to learn.

What to do?

The next time you are invited to take on something new that you don’t know much about, or have tried in the past and failed, try it again. Why?

Because inside of your new awareness about breakdowns, you have a new understanding; that breakdowns are normal. We need them to move ourselves forward. We need them to get to breakthroughs. Welcome the breakdowns. It simply means you are on the right track.

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Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

2. Ask for Help

Another thing hard for many humans to do is ask for help. Why? Because like trying new things, admitting that we need help, makes us fearful. When we act with a need to look good and be right, there is no space to ask for help. We see it as a weakness. Again a paradox. Why?

Because as I’ve written about in other posts, the idea that we know everything there is to know about any topic is silly. No matter how many degrees you have, or how much practical experience you have, there is always something to learn. Always.

Within this context, asking for help is normal. And, it is. Very normal. Does that mean asking for help is easy? No. Admitting we don’t know, need help, no matter what it is we are doing is hard. Very hard.

However, like understanding that breakdowns are normal, having this new understanding about asking for help, immediately opens you up. Opens you up to understanding the true nature of your humanity. And, in this space, you have the opportunity to learn more, be more, and know more. Awesome.

What to do?

When you are in breakdown, stay there. Yep, that’s right. Stay inside of that breakdown, and really feel it. Then, if you get a breakthrough, great. If not, ask for help. There is everything right about asking for help. Think about it like this. If you don’t ever ask for help, you are not expanding that which you know.

And, when we stop expanding what we know, we are limiting ourselves, and our human potential. Your potential is vast. It already is. If you experience that vastness, wonderful. If you’ve yet to experience it, don’t worry. Follow the steps in this post, and you will begin to experience it. Really.

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Photo by Lucas Gallone on Unsplash

3. Capture the Breakthroughs

You will never know when a breakthrough will come. Sometimes you will get a breakthrough right on the other side of a breakdown. Sometimes it will be later. It’s okay. Normal.

What’s important is to capture your breakthroughs. In the moment you have a breakthrough, you may not even be sure what it is related to; and, that’s okay. Write it down anyway. Hold onto it. You will see where it belongs eventually.

Once you know where your breakthrough insight belongs, you can make plans to implement it into that area of your life. Sometimes you will choose to do this right away; and, sometimes you will wait. Both are fine. It matters less when you implement your breakthrough, than it is that you stay open to adopting it in some way. Why?

Because that breakthrough is a direct result of a breakdown you had. Whether you can trace the breakthrough back to a breakdown, it is related. Important. And, why it is so important to track and capture your breakthrough in some way.

Let’s now take a look at the definition of breakthrough.

breakthrough

Translate breakthrough into Spanish

NOUN

  1. A sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.‘a major breakthrough in DNA research’
    1. 1. An instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity.as modifier ‘the band’s breakthrough album’

Alright, we’ve now discussed a journey from breakdown to breakthrough. Though there is much more to discuss about breakdowns and breakthroughs, we covered enough to keep you moving.

When I started seeing my lifecoach 3 years ago, she once asked me this question:

Can you limp along a little while longer?

At that time in my life, a concept like a journey from breakdown to breakthrough was not available to me. Well, it was, however, I was not paying attention, nor was I in touch with myself. When we are out of touch with our own humanity the conversation we just had is harder to put into action.

However, what I’ve come to realize in the past three years, is that with guidance and persistence, the journey from breakdown to breakthrough can become a reality for everyone.

A reality that includes welcoming our breakdowns, a willingness to ask for help, and a system we can use to capture our breakthroughs so we can learn, and move ourselves forward.

Photo by Rafael Pol on Unsplash

#askforhelp, #being-in-touch-with-your-emotions, #breakdown, #breakdowntobreakthrough, #breakthrough, #developingourselves, #developingresilience, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #develping-resilience, #emotional-development, #emotional-intelligence, #emotionalintelligence, #emotions, #growth-and-development, #growthanddevelopment, #growthmindset

Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 4: The Relationship System

Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals) on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about how relationships work? I mean how they function within the systems and spheres that we move through? It is an interesting question, and one that we will explore in this post.

In my first post on relationships, Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?, I write about how all relationships start with you, and go outward. Here is the diagram from that post.

Now, in this post, we are going to expand on this simple relationship diagram, so we can see the movement that occurs through each of these relationship spheres. Let’s start with the relationship we have with ourselves, as it really does all start there.

Relationship with ourselves

In the post, The Self-Development Tips Series 1: The Art of Loving Yourself, I write about the importance of developing a highest-quality relationship with ourselves. That, in fact, learning how to love ourselves is the very first step in having other high-quality relationships. It is a must. Really.

Without a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we cannot create high-quality relationships with others. Why? Because if we don’t know how to take care of ourselves, to love ourselves, we cannot give care and love out to others. Not in a sustainable way.

We must first develop deep care and love for ourselves, then that same deep care and love will go out from us to others.

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

Relationships with Family

Once we have a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we can truly be there for our family. In being there, I mean have open, honest, and loving communication with each other; developing those high-quality relationships along the way.

In the post, Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 3: Understanding Our Emotions and Strengthening Our Relationships by Slowing Down, I write about the importance of noticing when we are being inattentive to how we feel. Important.

When we are inattentive to our emotions, and are reacting without pausing, there is a higher likelihood that arguments with our partners will become more common. These pauseless reactions also function the same way with and toward our children.

It is important to note that we are not reacting to our environments in this way intentionally. Fully understanding how we are reactive, includes learning about our “triggers.” What are they, whom are they with, and why do we have them? Once we know, we can create space to pause, think and reflect, and then choose a different action.

All of which when combined with having a loving relationship with ourselves, free of blame and shame, creates whole new possibilities with the relationships we have with our family.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Relationships at Work

In the post, Three Transformational Leadership Skills, I write about developing high-quality relationships at work. Developing these relationships, like the ones we have with family, also starts with ourselves.

Once we are clear on who we are, and how we think and feel, we can develop work relationships that are strong and long-lasting. In the article I note three essential skills all leaders should develop in order to create these high-quality relationships.

  1. Authenticity – knowing who we are is the first step, then being who we are all the time is the next.
  2. Safety – creating a safe environment with the team you lead, or work on, is essential. People will not be authentic with you unless you are also authentic, and they feel safe.
  3. Transparency – being forthright about the state of the business, and issues that arise, are also important. Sharing with the people you work with is important for them to feel included, and valued.

These three skills, of course, are also important for us to develop in our personal lives. It works like that. What we develop for ourselves, we end up developing for everyone around us.

Relationships with the Community and The Greater World

How we develop ourselves, and our relationships then goes out from us and into the community, and, yes, the greater world. When we create a focus on our inner development, people around us develop, and the community also develops. That is movement.

The movement is part of the way the relationship network, or system works. Here is a simple illustration that goes a bit further than the above referenced system image, showing that we are connected through everyone we know, ultimately, to all people.

By continuing to add more contexts into the above illustration, you can create more complexity in how the relationship system is interwoven.

Ultimately we are connected to everyone, and everything, and what we give out, comes back to us. All contexts are also connected, sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly, as the above illustration also shows.

Whether the connection is direct or indirect matters less, than the realization that all that we do on this planet as human beings touches each other in some way. Important.

Relationships are so important. Really. The relationship we have with ourselves is the starting point, and, as you can see, it is only the beginning of how we, as human beings, end up touching everyone and everything around us. Even when we don’t know about it.

These relationships and all that we give and get from them are crucial to moving society forward. Without them, there would be no movement.

Know that every action you take to develop and grow yourself also grows your family, friends, teams, organizations, communities, and the greater world.

Develop well.

#authenticity, #community, #connection, #developingourselves, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #grwoth, #leadership, #loveeachother, #loving-yourself, #relationships, #relationshipsystems, #safety, #theworld, #transparency, #weareallconnected, #workrelationships